truly serious about defense. Since launching the military buildup five years ago, the Administration has spent a trillion dollars, he pointed out. But where did it all go? Comparing Reagan’s administration to Carter’s, he said Reagan has spent 75 percent more real dollars on aircraft and has gotten 9 percent more aircraft; has spent 60 percent more dollars on ships for 36 percent more ships; and has spent 90 percent more dollars on missiles for 6 percent more missiles. “The more you get into it, the more you discover that we didn’t really get what we should have got for our trillion dollars,” Aspin said. As a result, the public support for military spending is fading at a time when the country needs to continue spending more on defense, he said. The blame lies on the Reagan administration for not adequately making the case for the military buildup. “These people like to throw money at it. They deal in symbols, they spend a lot of money, but they’re not really serious about defending this country,” Aspin declared. S0 IT WENT with the new hardheaded Democrats. They are developing a strategy that only the bravest, the boldest, the baddest Democratic politicians will be cut out for: they will try to out-Reagan the Republicans. The Democratic Leadership Council is already a force to watch out for, as it advances early presidential and vice-presidential possibilities such as Robb, Gephardt, Nunn, and Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, all of them men who want to put a Democrat back into the White House by acting a little more like the current occupant and a little less like traditional Democrats. The Democratic Leadership Council, with its $400,000 a year budget, is already assiduously taking its forums and media events on the road in an effort to swing the very nature of the political debate toward some imagined “center” that the rest of the Party has supposedly abandoned. This is a message that appeals to Democratic financiers such as Jess Hay, who held a fundraiser for the DLC in Dallas March 14. The DLC is full of talk of “new ideas” and “policy innovation,” and sees itself as a “catalyst for change” that will keep moderates and conservatives from straying into the Republican party. An aide to Florida Senator Lawton Chiles, who is a leader in the DLC, recently told the National Journal, “In Washington, it [the DLC] is the rallying point for Democrats who felt disenfranchised and that the party was going in a direction that is intolerable for them, especially in the South. . . . Locally, Democrats in Florida who were being courted to switch parties decided not to, because Sen. Chiles told them he would try to change their party.” If the DLC is indeed trying to make the Democratic party a more comfortable place for those with secret longings to turn Republican, their fashion show at the Infomart may have been a solid success. The defense panel consisted of ten middleaged white men, and the audience of 50 or so consisted of predominantly gray-haired citizens in gray suits. In addition to Congressional experts such as Nunn and Aspin, the panel featured “the defense industry’s view” from two of the top executives in the defense industry: Stan Pace, the chairman of General Dynamics Corporation, and Robert Kirk, the President of LTV Aerospace and Defense Company. \(Also on the panel were Reps. Jim Chapman, D-Sulphur Springs, In introducing Kirk, Rep. Frost pointed out that LTV is the largest civilian employer in the 24th Congressional District, which Frost represents. \(Frost has received, over the years, thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from defense industry corporate funds such as LTV’s “Active Citizenship Campaign” as well as $1,000 from Robert Kirk in his 1982 very good representative for that commercial endorsement,” and went on to describe “the repair effort” going on in the defense industry as it tries to improve its tarnished public image. He concluded with a call for “less regulation; not more” in the defense industry. But’ there were at least a few Democrats in the audience who were unimpressed. David Marquis, a Dallas Democratic activist, challenged the assumptions of the panel members in a question-and-answer period, saying, “We’re going to have to find some way to convert from what is basically a wartime economy that we’re now living in, to a peacetime economy. . . . I’d like to know what some of y’all on the panel are trying to do to make economic conversion a Democratic issue.” His question was handled by James Woolsey, a former Undersecretary of the Navy, who is a member of the Packard Commission \(President Reagan’s “Blue Ribbon Commission Woolsey said that military spending as a share of the nation’s Gross National Product is only slightly higher under Reagan than it was under Carter. “I don’t think anybody can reasonably make the case today that we are spending some extraordinarily vast share of what we produce as a country on defense particularly given the threat that we have to deal with . . . . I disagree with you that it ought to be the objective of the Democratic party to try to convert large shares of what we’re spending on defense to something else.” Conspicuous in his applause was LTV’s president, Robert Kirk. CONTENTS FEATURES 2 The Discount Democrats Dave Denison 4 Privatizing Knowledge Geoffrey Rips 5 The Nation’s 120 Years Geoffrey Rips 7 In Whose Interest? Big Labor’s Foreign Policy Geoffrey Rips 11 Talking Sense on Taxes Nick Dauster 13 View from the Right at UT Sean Price DEPARTMENTS 6 Dialogue 17 Political Intelligence 21 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 18 Poverty’s Family Portrait Gary Pomerantz 19 A Personal Reckoning With Social Tragedy James C Harrington Afterword: 22 The Price of Truth and Beauty Marc Hairston THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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