Marquis said later that Woolsey’s answer was inadequate because it didn’t face the issue of impending cutbacks in the defense industry. “A lot of us in Dallas are concerned about it,” he said. “What’s going to happen to all these jobs?” William Allensworth, a Dallas lawyer, also was not sold on the DLC program. After a lunch banquet speech by Sen. Nunn, Allensworth asked Nunn why he wouldn’t support defense spending at the level of three percent of the GNP instead of the present six percent level. “I would reject that,” Nunn said. “I don’t think the answer is going down to a three or four percent level. We wouldn’t have a credible defense. We don’t now.” Allensworth later remarked to the Observer that the DLC was formulating a “tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee defense policy.” Of Nunn, he said, “How does he differ from Barry Goldwater?” nuclear weapons are breeding less security, and the people who have been swayed by powerful activists such as Helen Caldicott who want a radical departure from current military policy, and the people who once hoped for a nuclear freeze between the superpowers and who now hope for a halt to nuclear testing. One gets the sense, when listening to the Democratic Leadership Council, that the Americans they are imagining when they speak of the American people actually do exist but they’re in the other party already. These Democrats are stymied by the inability to imagine people other than the those who already make up the Reagan electorate. Dallas, of course, isn’t a good place to find the soul of the Democratic party. But who would have thought Democrats could be so caught up with the heart and soul the essential spirit of Reagan Republicanism? D.D. INDEED, THE QUESTION is well-put. Nunn’s chief partner in pushing military “reform” in Congress has been Barry Goldwater. And Nunn has supported Reagan on military votes 69 percent of the time in 1984, according to the Washington Post. Nunn is treated with deference on military matters even though his only real idea is to accept the First Truths of Reagan Republicanism and to try to convince the voters that the Democrats are smarter shoppers. Just how bankrupt this approach can be was illustrated by a woeful tale told by Rep. Les Aspin. It seems that Ronald Reagan decided while campaigning for office in 1980 that the U.S. had a “window of vulnerability” in its strategic defense that is, land-based missiles were not sufficiently protected. So, having taken office, the Reagan administration set out to close the window by planning for 100 MX missiles as well as a line of Midgetman missiles. Some Democrats in Congress, such as Les Aspin and Martin Frost, went along with the President’s package despite the political heat. “Now what happens?” said Aspin. “We’ve got over the hump on the MX, and the Administration decides that they’re gonna offer at the arms control talks a ban on mobile missiles! Well, wait a minute. If we ban mobile missiles, what the hell have we done about the window of vulnerability?” So Aspin found himself left in the cold by the Reagan administration, and fuming about the possibility of banning mobile missiles. “If these guys do that,” he said, “I mean, we are going to wrap the ‘window of vulnerability’ around their necks come 1988.” This, from something calling itself a “leadership council.” This, from Democrats like Aspin, Frost, and Nunn, who have followed Reagan like sheep to the brink of military madness. They are able to somehow talk about the current mess the Republicans have made of the military budget without entertaining for a moment notions of serious and deep cutbacks in spending. They are able to talk about scandalous waste and procurement problems as if it had nothing to do with the massive influx of funds that Reagan has pumped into a porous defense establishment. They look to the “pointy-headed theoreticians” in the Washington crowd who can hardly hide their patronizing disdain for the public’s supposedly simplistic perception that the reason so much money has gone down the drain is because so much money came out of the faucets. The theoreticians will insist that it is all so very complex. Like James Woolsey of the Packard Commission, they will defy logic and argue that there is no massive jump in military spending, if only you look at the correct figures. These Democrats, who see themselves as the party’s hope for the future, talk constantly as if they are intimately acquainted with “the American people.” But they ignore the emerging majority of common sense people who say “enough” to the military binge. They ignore the people who suspect that more Privatizing Knowledge AFTER THE House Administration Committee ordered legislators to stop paying dues to the House Study Group, House caucuses and coalitions, Speaker Gib Lewis warned committee chair Mike Millsap, D-Fort Worth, that he was in for trouble: Lewis told the Fort Worth StarTelegram that he’d warned Millsap that he’ll “have a lot of problems on the study group, and the press will eat you alive. They’re too lazy to get stories on their own. They depend on the study group reports.” There’s some truth to that. But the same can be said of legislators, who also have neither the staff capability nor the time to analyze the hundreds of bills set before them each session. And, as every lobbyist worth his or her salt knows, an uninformed legislator is putty in the hands of special interests. The House Study Group was created as a reform measure in the wake of the Sharpstown banking scandal. It was intended to provide legislators with information on proposed legislation independent of the vested interests of lobbies or, as in the case of Sharpstown, the House leadership. While there have been periodic complaints of a “liberal bias” in the study group, such complaints are ill-founded. During the legislative session, the study group issues reports on the major legislation to be debated on the House floor, providing a history of the issue and the bill as well as arguments presented by proponents and opponents of the legislation at hand. Those complaining of bias are actually complaining about the dangers an informed legislature presents. During the last legislative session, 133 House members and 15 senators subscribed to the study group’s service. At this writing, a special committee appointed by Gib Lewis is meeting to consider the fate of the study group, the caucuses and coalitions. The elimination of the member expenditure on the study group and caucuses is not the budget-cutting measure it seems to be because the House Administration Committee cannot cut the office allowances of legislators. It can only determine how those allowances can be spent. It is crucial that the independence and integrity of the study group and the caucuses be sustained by allowing legislators to continue to pay dues to these organizations. Without state money as support, the study group and caucuses could become the privately-owned legislative beachheads of lobbies all too willing to provide their support. 4 APRIL 4, 1986
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