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September 15, 1984 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-15

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OPINION

Saturday, September 15, 1984

Page 4

The Michigan Daily'

Different tracks toward leaders

By Peter Kizilos
Walter Mondale is trying to get his
campaign back on track. But is that
good or bad news for his supporters?
That depends on what caused him to
stray off track in the first place, why he
thought it necessary to "get back on,"

and whether his track will take him to
Washington, D.C. and the White House,
or back to North Oaks, a quiet suburb of
St. Paul, Minnesota.
In a news conference held last
Saturday, Mondale's campaign aides
said that he would go back to attacking
Reagan "on the issues where he is
weakest" and drop attacks on Reagan's
eadership ability. One ai&e cited polls

that show the majority of Americans
agree with Mondale's positions on the
issues, but not Reagan's. The aide ad-
mitted that the president continues to
score high marks on a personal level,
but he was quick to add that elections
"can be won on the issues."
THAT RAISES the question of why
Mondale found it necessary to depart
from his issues campaign in the first
place. The answer is simple: Reagan
controls the issues. By what sorcery is
this president able to hoodwink so many
Americans into still liking him despite
the fact that he stands for things with
which most voters disagree? It's just
not rational. For instance, polls have
shown that the American public
disagrees with Reagan's foreign
policies in Central America and that his
economic policies are felt to favor the
wealthy. These and other conflicts,
however, can't persuade the majority
to stop admiring him.
And therein lies the secret to Ronald
Reagan's success. He possesses an
intangible ingredient of political ability
in spades. It's called leadership.
As a Mondale supporter it's not an
easy thing to admit that your candidate
does not have the leadership ability of
his opponent. But it may not be as dam-
ning as it first sounds. The reason is that
leadership can be employed for positive
or negative ends. Being a leader is not,
in itself an objectively "good" quality.

REAGAN has drawn harsh criticism
as well as praise, for this ability. As
their leader, those who support him
believe he is taking them down the
"right" path. Those who oppose him
take the opposite view. But neither side
should devalue or underestimate the
advantages which this gives him over
Mondale.
A powerful leader has the ability to
manipulate reality and to turn irration-
ality to his own advantage. The positive
manifestation of this might be urging
one's followers "to do what can't be
done," or to "dream the impossible
dream," etc. A "good" leader is able to
motivate and push people to do a little
more than they thought possible, to go
beyond needlessly constricting limits.
A "bad" leader can allow his followers
to go from dreaming a little bit, to living
in a constant fantasy world. And some
have accused Reagan of this.
But it isn't clear that Mondale's
solution, to go back to pounding away at
the issues, will bring him victory in
November or wake people from a four-
year slumber (it might help if his
speeches were a bit more lively). Issues
such as the deficit, the military build-
up, Soviet American relations, and
others must be placed within a-
broader, more creative framework if
they are to capture the people's im-
agination. That is an area where Mon-
dale has thus far proven weak. Perhaps

4

a.:

... and his less convincing contestant.

he was taking a chance when he got off
the strictly "issues track" that he had
vowed to stick to and attacked the
nature of Reagan's leadership. It was a
bit daring, a little risky, and somewhat
exciting. These are not traits which
Mondale is normally accused of
possessing.
But the unchartered territory was not

to Mondale's liking, and therefore he is #
"back on track." Whether his train is,
headed to the capital or west back to
North Oaks may depend on the circum-
stances of future derailments and their
voluntary or involuntary nature, as the
case may be.
Kizilos is a graduate student in
Russian and East European Studies.

The consummate leader...

i

-1E M I iga ahlQ
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No.,9

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

soincair
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1ou ARE A
REPULICAN J

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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
A deficient resolutiron

e

S TATE REP. Ruth McNamee. (R-
Birmingham) made a conscien-
tious decision yesterday when she cast
the deciding vote against a resolution
calling on Congress to adopt a balan-
ced federal budget.} Such an amen-
dment to the U.S. Constitution would
have put a straight jacket on the
president and Congress, despite its
noble intentions.
Both Democrats, Republicans, and
the general public would agree that
this year's budget deficit, estimated at
$180 billion, is hideous and has some
dangerous implications. But the
amendment, which has grown into
chief deficit-spender Ronald Reagan's
pet peeve, will not correct the problem
it was meant to solve and may increase
the many procedural complications-
already connected to budget
measures.
In fact, the Constitution already
allows presidents to submit a balanced
budget. However, only one federal
budget has been balanced in the last 24
years.
For some high-minded individuals to
call for a prohibition of deficits will not
stop legislators from appropriating
those dollars they feel are necessary to
maintain government programs. The
18th Amendment that banned alcohol
didn't stop alcoholics, or the general
public for that matter, from illegally
obtaining and abusing liquor. Such

prohibitive laws do not promote the
goals they so fanatically espouse.
Evidence for this can be easily found
by looking at the state of Michigan
during the recession years, as former
Gov. William Milliken knows. Milliken,
of course, does not support the amen-
dment. Through the use of much
budget trickery, the state managed to
claim it had a "balanced budget."
While it sounded like a great thing at
the time, the University has yet to
recover from the impact of such a
measure-at one point the state
refused to pay the final fiscal year
payment to state colleges and school
systems.
A better cure for working toward a
balanced budget is.working within the
legislature to evaluate where revenue
can best be generated and expen-
ditures minimized. Estimating
budgets on the basis of revenues and
economic growth is not an exact scien-
ce. Furthermore, our government in-
stitutions shouldn't be made to suffer
for the mistakes of legislatures and
presidents bound by some inflexible
law-one by which they can't
realistically abide.
Citizens of this state surely don't
want a return to prohibition era
legislating. It's a good thing Represen-
tative McNamee had the courage to
see this.

U+ + p
VA C4

4

Talk of anti-missile systems is
very much in the air these days.
President Reagan, for one,
claims they will protect our cities
- but everyone in the Pentagon
knows their only realistic mission
is to limit the destruction of U.S.
weapons systems in a- nuclear
war.
The prospect of such weapons,
and the thinking behind them,
raise a number of disturbing
questions. Work on these devices
has gone beyond talk. For 18
months, Pentagon planners have
been constructing a $26 billion,
six-year missile defense
program. The effort received a
big boost in June when the U.S.
Army blew a Minuteman test
missile out of the Pacific sky with
an experimental anti-missile
missile.
However, the test did not prove that
missile defense is possible. It did
give the military a "hit" which
will keep the idea alive
politically. And proponents of the
mobile MX intercontinental
missile needed a successful
"defensive" weapons test to
bolster their arguments that the
MX is not necessarily vulnerable
to Soviet attack.
Pentagon officials claimed the
test, conducted by Lockheed and
other contractors, had demon-
sttated that the United States
could be protected against a
Soviet nuclear missile attack in
the near future. The Army
released still photographs and

Are the an ti-
m issilem issiles
a real success?
By Lenny Siegel

1
1 t
t
6

f1
fI

pre-designated time, along a
familiar path - from Vanden-
berg Air Force Base in California
to the Kwajelein Missile Range in
the mid-Pacific. Most U.S. long-
range missile tests are aimed at
Kwajalein, so radar stations
there have a great deal of ex-
perience detecting and tracking
incoming missiles.
But success under such con-
ditions does not prove that anti-
missile missiles are workable in
wartime. In a nuclear war, inter-
ceptors would have to pass
through heat, debris, and
radiation to challenge multiple
warheads and decoys. Attacking
missiles would be launched at
unpredictable times from many
sites - and not necessarily
targeted at the anti-missile laun-
ch site.
Army researchers admit these
difficulties but say they can be
solved. Chris Paine, a
Washington-based arms control
specialist and senior policy
BLOOM COUNTY

analyst with the Physicians for
Social Responsibility, says the
June launch was planned with
special care as the Army had or-
dered only four interceptors.
Paine reports, "The Ballistic
Missile Defense (BMD) people
were worried that another miss
would not only hurt the Army
research program, but that it
could doom President Reagan's
entire Strategic Defense
Initiative (as the larger BMD
program is called.)"
BMD RESEARCH is nothing
new - it has been going on for 30
years - but the president's per-
sonal interest has boosted such
systems to their present pinnacle
of respect and funding.
In fiscal 1984, the Pen-
tagon is slated to spend $991 on
the Strategic Defense Initiative,
and that figure is projected to
double in 1985 and double again in
1986.
The four anti-missile tests did
not involve exotic technologies or

.any of the "death rays" now
being researched. The intercep-
tor was merely a large "smart"
weapon, with a 15-foot netthat
unfurled like an umbrella as the"
incoming missile approached.
A SIMPLE heat-seeking device
was the interceptor's homing
mechanism-the same sort of'
device used to guide anti-aircraft
missiles in Vietnam, the South
Atlantic, Lebanon, and, most
recently, by Soviet pilots against
Korean Airlines Flight 007.
In general, as these tests show,
missile defense is, unreliable,
even under ideal conditions-
and there is no way to create a
realistic environment. Even the
most advanced computers cannot
simulate all characteristics of an,
event which has never happened,
like global nuclear war.
Many of the technical ob-
stacles to BMD may be overcome
by spending billions on research,
but two significant questions
remain. First, can we expect the
Soviets to sit back and let us
deploy technologies which would
make us immune from Soviet
retaliation during a nuclear in-
terchange? And second, can we
rely on a system which can only
be realistically tested during' a
nuclear holocaust?

t
* ,t

... 7 :
A-

Siegel wrote this article for
the Pacific News Service.
by Berke Breathed
I Mr cP4Srm'1cr) 1

I I

Ul i fS A 1A664cOQI I /Al 121

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