no one argue that such increases are needed. What I.have heard is that “the people” want a stronger defense. This certainly is a tribute to the arms industry’s public relations operation, but it is hard to reconcile with a nationwide poll published by The Chicago Tribune on March 11, showing 57% of Americans in favor of reducing the deficit through reductions in military spending. There is no question that Reagan will accuse his Democratic opponent of being “weak on defense,” regardless of how much spending may be proposed. What is questionable is whether this is Reagan’s most credible issue. At present, the outlook for a Democratic budget package is not bright. None of the Presidential candidates is supporting the Bradley-Gephardt, or any other simple tax. Hart and Mondale have each flirted with the concept. Each has returned in haste to the familiar world of tax credits and Christmas-Tree incentives. But on the . issue of military spending we have seen real progress. In February, Jesse Jackson dropped his proposal for a “Zero-Real-Growth” defense budget and adopted in its place the McGovern cuts. Since then he has argued forcefully that the calls for public works, aid to education and research, and attention to domestic needs are empty promises unless these cuts are made. We must do everything possible to show Hart and Mondale the wisdom of following suit. The experience of the last three years has taught us one lesson above all: that Reaganism will triumph if the Democratic Party does not move to offer a strong and decisive alternative. Today, every vote for the Rev. Jackson represents a step closer to that alternative. MONDALE: Choosing the Course of Principle and Compassion Washington, D. C. Walter Mondale is an authentic person, unpretentious, decent, and honest. He is more progressive than his principal rival, Gary Hart, on domestic issues; in fact Mondale is one of the leading fighters for social reform in American politics. He is experienced in government, and he is calm and steady. Although he was extremely late in opposing the Vietnam war, he then fought it for five years and his foreign policy positions now make sense. His assaults on the Reagan administration have been devastatingly effective. Jesse Jackson is the most progressive of the three finalists on the issues seen in the round. He has been a creative force in the campaign, and he has made history, a black candidate for President breaking new ground on important issues and inspiring millions of voters, especially blacks, who have felt left out of the democratic process. But because of the continuing strength of racism in the United States, the nomination of any black at this stage of our history would probably greatly increase the chances of Reagan’s re-election. Moreover, two matters, Jackson’s anti-Semitic remarks and, his refusal to repudiate the support of Louis Farrakhan after Farrakhan’s obscene abuse of a black reporter and threat to kill him, have raised serious questions about Jackson as a presidential candidate. Althqugh Hart has sought to present himself as left of Mondale on foreign policy, in fact they are very close By Ronnie Dugger together on those issues. On domestic policy Hart is the least progressive of the three candidates. Evaluating the lifetime Senate records of Mondale and Hart, Americans for Democratic Action rated Mondale at 92 % and Hart at 79%, while the right-wing Americans for Constitutional Actibn rated Mondale at 3 %, but Hart at 15 %. According to the ADA, Mondale voted more progressively than Hart on the economy, 94-72; on social services, 91-76; on consumer and environmental issues, 9088; and on foreign policy, 96-81. On civil rights Hart scored 100 to Mondale’s 92 with the ADA. If it could be convincingly established now that Hart has a better chance than Mondale of beating Reagan six months from now, that would be a good argument for supporting Hart on May 5th. Defeating Reagan is the controlling question this year. But polls that give us a cross-cut of public opinion for a given few days are not the best basis on which to judge which candidate has the best chance to beat Reagan, as the volatility of the Democratic contest illustrates. The campaign against Reagan will be long, harsh, and gi -ueling. Reagan is sure to unleash his effective slogans and his McCarthyist accusations against the Democratic nominee whether he’s Mondale or Hart. The people will be watching that Democratic nominee very closely, day after day, on the television. I believe that the wisest thing to do, on this question of whether Mondale or Hart can win, is to support the candidate you believe is the better person, because that is what will tell with the people in the long campaign. I believe Mondale is the better person. After interviewing both Mondale and Hart the Village Voice concluded its editorial endorsing Mondale with this paragraph: “Unlike Hart, Mondale impressed us as an experienced leader who knows himself and what he believes in. He is not an overnight sensation. He is rooted in a political tradition of government which serves people. The recent defeats he has suffered have made Mondale a more appealing and human figure. He did not panic or trim his sails, but continued to sail against the wind. We think that he has chosen the course of principle, and that by November the voters victimized by Reaganism can constitute a hurricane behind him.” Mondale, who served in the Senate from 1965 to 1976. is proudest of his co-leadership there of the fight that weakened the power of the Senate’s filibuster. He fought for open housing, busing to achieve school integration, the nutrition-enhancing programs for the poor, fairness and equity in the tax laws, Medicare, the Clean Air Act of 1970, and the Water Pollution Act of 1970. He opposed Nixon’s plan to junk the ABM treaty and to deploy MIRV nuclear missiles. In 1976 he was a key author of the first Senate resolution to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Mondale was of course part of Jimmy THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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