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February 29, 1988 - Image 43

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-29

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00N __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _

Making contact: Simon, Dukakis

freeze for candidates-and students-to
rally around. Call it the Passion Gap.
But recent events have awakened stu-
dents' concern about crucial, if unglamor-
ous, issues. The stock-market crash, for
example, has stirred anxieties about the
budget deficit. "We realize that we and our
children will have to pay," says Bill Maer, a
junior from Clark working for Dukakis.
Black Monday also fueled skepticism
about the values of the bull-market 1980s.
Says Ken Fredette, New Hampshire youth
coordinator for Bob Dole and a 1987 gradu-
ate of the University of Maine: "I think the
pendulum is starting to swing away from
materialism, the fast dollar." Then there's
the Iran-contra affair, which has increased
students' anxieties about ethics in govern-

ment. In the NEWSWEEK ON CAMPUS Poll,
65 percent of students rated honesty as the
single most important quality they are
looking for in a president (page 24).
Many students are less interested in ad-
vancing any particular cause or candidate
than in acquiring the experience of a presi-
dential campaign. For them, political work
is an internship like any other. Several
colleges, including MIT and West Virgin-
ia's Bethany College, offered course credit
to students who campaigned during Janu-
ary break; all they had to do was write a
paper when they got back. Some partici-
pants openly admit that commitment to a
particular candidate mattered less to them
than the opportunity for interesting work.
"I feel like a traitor sometimes," confesses

Jennifer Peck, a sophomore at Colgate
who's getting credit as a January intern for
Jack Kemp. Peck, who described herself as
an "independent," concedes that she is
more liberal than most of her fellow cam-
paign staffers. But the Kemp campaign
was small enough to afford her real respon-
sibility. In addition to canvassing, she has
helped write news releases.
Different campaigns attract distinctly
different personalities. Paul Simon's Man-
chester office has a vaguely bohemian air;
the carpet needs vacuuming, and in one
messy corner a guitar leans against a book-
case stocked with phone books, Lysol and a
can of sauerkraut. Clearly, cosmetics don't
matter. "After eight years of Ronald Rea-
gan, the television president," says Boston

tables in advance of their can-
didate's well-attended Decem-
ber speech.
The level of campus political
activity is also tied to the rela-
tive importance that candi-
dates attach to a state's prima-
ry-as well as the timing. So
far, for example, George Bush
is the only contender who
has visited Pittsburgh. Since
the field will be considerably
thinned by the time Pennsyl-
vania's primary arrives in
April, most students at Carne-
gie-Mellon say they don't want
to waste valuable free time
working for someone who may
well drop out of the race be-
cause of poor showings in Iowa
and New Hampshire. Similar-
ly, Ed Fitzgerald, president of

the Indiana University Col-
lege Democrats, has had no
luck in getting any candidate
to visit his campus. With the
state's primary scheduled for
the third week in May, Fitzger-
ald says, "Indiana's not exact-
ly the hottest place to go right

now. They'll come if it's still a
horse race when our primary
rolls around."
Since no one has found a
galvanizing issue in Cam-
paign '88, students appear to
be deciding whom to support
based on the qualities they

In the trenches: Stanford students register Alabama voters

value in a candidate. "[Alex-
ander Haig] can take an hon-
est approach because he's not
part of the political establish-
ment," says UCLA senior
Lawrence Peck. Then there
are students like Charles Hat-
field, a Missouri junior who
admits he doesn't know what
he is looking for in a candi-
date because for more than a
third of his life he has experi-
enced . the decisions of only
one president: "It's hard for
students to judge what we
really want," says Hatfield.
"Since high school, all we've
known is Ronald Reagan."
SARAH OKESON in Evanston,
in Los Angeles

MARCH 1988

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