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January 11, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-11

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, January 11, 1984

The Michigan Daily

4

Fraser on the endorsement of influence

Following his retirement as
president of the United Auto
Workers last year, Douglas Fraser
has continued his involvement in the
labor movement. In addition to his
continued contributions to the
UA W, Fraser has held a position on
the board of the Chrysler Cor-
poration, and last term he found
time in his busy schedule to teach an
honors seminar at the University.
Associate Arts Editor James Boyd
spoke with Fraser late last term
about the upcoming presidential
campaign and the role of the labor
movement in it.

Dialogue

they're not always consistent with the
views of his constituents. If you do that,
then you have to pander to the
prejudices of the constituents on oc-
casion. Obviously we have to pay some
attention to their views, but the job of a
leader is to lead. There are risks in-
volved with leadership. We've seen an
example in the State of Michigan where
a couple of state senators did what I
believe to be a courageous thing in in-
creasing the taxes out of sheer
necessity. And now they're paying the
political price by being subjected to a
recall. They obviously didn't reflect
their constituents in casting that vote.
Daily: Does that imply that if the
rank and file did not in fact support
Mondale, the leadership would endorse
him anyway?
Fraser: Yes, I'm inclined that it's one
of those situations where the leadership
would have the duty to lead. It's not
because the leadership is any smarter
than the membership, But they're in a
position to know just by virtue of the
added information they get, who among
the candidates is closer philosophically
to the labor movement. A lot of our
older members say, "Don't try and dic-
tate to me who I should vote for." But
we're not trying to dictate to anyone,
this is merely a recommendation that
can be accepted, ignored, or opposed.
The UAW member, like every
American citizen, is an intelligent, in-
dependent voter. There is no attempt to
dictate to him.
Daily: With all of the criticism of the
endorsement, is it really that much of
an asset for Mondale?
Fraser: One of the points that should
be made is most of the other candidates
have been very critical of the endor-
sement, but every single candidate
sought it. Every single candidate came
before the AFL-CIO executive council
on which I served and asked for the en-
dorsement. They're all pretty good
politicians, so they must have thought
the endorsement had some value
otherwise they wouldn't have sought it.
I think the endorsement of Mondale is
probably more effective in this cam-
paign than it would have been in
previous campaigns, because of the

Mondale. We have never done it before,
but I think it's a risk worth taking.
Daily: What positive and negative ef-
fects of Jesse Jackson's candidacy do
you see?
Fraser: On the negative side in terms
of Mondale he's going to cut into his
vote in the southern primaries - I don't
think there's any question about that.
Jackson's candidacy hurts Mondale's
more than it does any other candidate.
The negative and positive aspects
depend entirely on Jackson's behavior.
If he goes out there and conducts a
positive campaign and takes the issues,
particularily to the black people, and
gets them aroused and interested in the
political life of our nation, then that's a
big plus. Because when Jackson is out
of the race, as he knows he will be next
year, those votes will most likely come
to Mondale. But if Jackson burns a lot
of bridges during the campaign and is
critical of Mondale, for example, and
gets the black voters' expectations so
high that he leads them to believe that
he's really got a chance, then they could
become disillusioned and turned off. So
it all depends upon how he handles it. If
he conducts a constructive, affirmative
campaign and after it's over says,
"Okay lets join hands now with our first
task being to rid this country of Ronald
Reagan," then you're going to have
very positive results from his cam-
paign.
Daily: Why did the AFL-CIO choose
such an early point in the campaign to
make its endorsement?
Fraser: Many members of the labor
movement were unhappy with George
McGovern in 1972 - I wasn't one of
them, I was quite content with his can-
didacy. But then we had Carter in '76
and '80. So the labor movement said to
themselves, "Look, as long as we stand
on the sidelines and let the machine
Democrats select the standardbearer
of the party, we're just going to have to
support whoever they give us." So
therefore we're trying to get in there
earlier and influence the choice of the
party standardbearer. That's precisely
why we made the decision. I think
you're going to see a totally different
result.

Daily: Assuming the nomination of
Mondale, does he stand a chance again-
st Reagan?
Fraser: Well, election campaigns
have peaks and valleys. If you'd have
raised this question with me a month
ago I would have said that Mondale's
chances were at least even, maybe a lit-
tle better than even. But there's no
question that the President has picked
up political support - for the wrong
reason I believe - for the invasion of
Grenada. I don't know if that is long
lasting or not. Many times I think we're
beginning to suffer from an inferiority
complex - that we think we lack
strength that we used to have. So this
exhibition of power in Grenada has a
great appeal to the American people-
While they may forget the event pretty
quickly, their image of Reagan will
remain positive. I don't suggest that
that's a deciding factor. The economy is
also going to be relatively healthy. So
it's going to be a tough campaign for
Mondale. I feel that the American
people don't know Walter Mondale yet.
I think that to know him is to like him
and respect him.
Daily: What would be the most
critical problems facing Mondale
should he be elected?
Fraser: He's going to have to talk to
the American people, understanding
that this society faces many, many
problems. It's not easy solving them;
many sacrificies will have to be made.
We have to start rebuilding this society
- just take our infrastructure and the
enormous problems there and the
enormous problems relating to our'
educational system. There is also the
critical debt burden that we're going to
be suffering from. We haven't felt that
yet. When you're going to have a 200
billion deficit in the next fiscal year,
you're going to have to cut the roots of
that problem and it's not going to be
easy. There is no economic Santa
Claus. You're going to have to have
either tax increases, a reduction of ex-
penditures, or a combination of both.
Dialogue is an occasional feature
of the Opinion Page.

4

4

Daily: With the AFL-CIO endor-
sement of Walter Mondale coming so
early in the campaign, how do you an-
swer charges that the choice reflects
only the views of union leadership and
not those of the rank and file?
Fraser: Different unions used dif-
ferent methods to get the pulse of their
membership. Some of them use the
services of professional pollsters and
others had a mail ballot. The UAW, for
example, had eighteen regional con-
ferences, but our polling was confined
to the leadership - by that I mean the
stewards and committeemen and so
forth. I feel comfortable in terms of
our union that the stewards reflect their
constituents in the shop. It's not a per-
fect mechanism, but I think that it's
about the best that can be employed.
Daily: How much leeway should be
given union leadership to influence,
rather than reflect, the views of their
constituents?
Fraser: I think there are decisions
that a leader has to make, not only in
the union but in government and

'4

Doily Photo by JEFF SCHRIER
Fraser: "The American people don't know Walter Mondale yet. I think to
know him is to like him and respect him."

nature of the selection process. The
mechanism has changed, there will be
more reliance on caucuses, rather than
open primaries. When you're dealing
with caucuses the person with the best
organization is the beneficiary. I have
to think that the AFL-CIO has a pretty
good political organization, so I think
that the endorsement will greatly
enhance Mondale's chance in the
primary. The fact of the matter is that I

think he'll get the nomination.
Daily: What about worries of being
labeled the captive labor candidate?
Fraser: I don't want to un-
derestimate that, but I think it's a
debaters point. It has negative aspects,
but any time you design a strategy,
whether it be a collective bargaining
strategy or a political strategy, it
always involves risks. There is a risk
for the labor movement in endorsing

4

1

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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a.i

MAARTit
AT Al

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Vol. XCIV-No. 83

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

2

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Integrity is dishonesty

1'

JUST WHEN opinion polls were
beginning to show the American
public has greater trust in government
officials, those same officials are
giving us new reasons to continue
questioning their integrity in office.
The latest official to come under
scrutiny is Charles Wick, director of
the United States Information Agency.
Wick first denied allegations that he
had secretly taped telephone conver-
sations with, key public and gover-
nment officials, a practice which goes
against government and basic ethical
policy. Later he confessed to the prac-
tice, saying he had been doing it to
keep better office records. Ironically,
he also was secretly taping White
House chief of staff James Baker's
comments about a program called
''Project Democracy"~ designed to
raise money for the Information Agen-
cy.
Under Florida law, where Wick tape-
recorded the conversation with Baker,
such an action is a felony punishable
by up to five years in prison and a
$5,000 fine.
Apparently Richard Nixon's White
House eavesdropping isn't quite that

far behind us, and so the public is
reminded once again that the high
morals which public officials preach to
the public from the podium are not
always those morals they live by.
The American public should have
doubts about the integrity and
capabilities of a man who controls the
nation's public relations program, in-
cluding the international radio broad-
cast Voice of America, who fails to tell
the truth about his own actions.
President Reagan said he does not
consider Wick to be a "dishonorable
man in any way" and says Wick will
retain his post.
Maybe because Wick admitted he
did "a very dumb thing" and because
he had a "faulty recollection" of his
own behavior in taping these conver-
sations, the American public should
pardon him.
Maybe Reagan doesn't object to his
officials disobeying government policy
so long as they are honorable men.
Maybe what we are witnessing is the
totalitarian world described by the
author George Orwell - except now
the official government slogan seems
to be "Integrity is Dishonesty."

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' _. _.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Coping well with campus freeze

4

To the Daily:
Ours was one of the offices
called by your reporter in getting
background for her story on how

the broken pipes resulting from
record cold had created chaotic
living conditions for many retur-
ning students ("'U' cleans mess

Blue fans sweet as sugar

from deep freeze," Daily, Jan. 5).
We were proud to be able to tell
her that this office had taken all
possible preventive action when
the forecasts grew grim, and then
had marshalled our staff for a
maximum effort to immediately
repair those instances of pipe
damage which did occur. This in-
cluded working on Christmas
Day. We are grateful to our em-
ployeesrand outside tradesmen
for their willingness to really

"put out" like this in the interest
of our tenants' comfort and con-
venience.
We were disappointed a bit that
there was no mention in the Daily
story of how this one office, at
least, did cope with a major
management crisis.
- Douglas Milkey
January 5
Milkey is the general
manager of Campus Rentals,
Ltd.

4

The- University of where?
THE recent shake-up in tot
3ESPITE-Ercn hk-pi graduate journalism student writes

1

To the Daily:
Just a short note to let you and
other Wolverine fans, students,
and alumni know how gracious
your fans were at the Sugar Bowl,
both before and after a very
disappointing game to them.
Without exception the
Michigan fans that I encountered
were "true blue" but not the first
one was the least obnoxious in

assure you we would consider it
an honor and privilege to play
Michigan again anytime and be
associated with their fine cour-
teous fans, students, and alumni.
- Tom Gauntt
Birmingham, Ala.
January 4
BLOOM COUNTY

L the University's public relations
office, which in University newsspeak
(this is 1984, afterall) is called News
and Information Services, it looks like

about his computer experience as an
undergraduate at Oberlin College:
"Oberlin had no computer-science
department; however it did manage to

Letters and columns represent the opinions of
the individual author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the attitudes or beliefs of the Daily.
by Berke Breathed

I i

1 w7 nfu mVy/1()uC'5

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