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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Saturday, August 3, 1974 - Page 8

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 3, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                The debates: 'competent, eloquent, fair...' Editorial Page 'day, August 3. 5974 good record WITH LITTLE FUSS ur fan- fare, .Joseph Coupal loft his post as Iowa highway director recently to become an assistant to the federal highway administrator in Washington. In the ei.nlit years he headed the department, Coupal displayed an administrative expertise that sel- dom, if ever, had been experienced on that .governmental front in Iowa. He was city manager in Banuor. Me., for 13 years before Harold Hughes, then Iowa's governor, hired him to the Midwest. Hughes felt the highway department could use an experienced administrator, because prior to Coupal's arrival the top man in the department al- ways was the chief engineer. It doesn't necessarily follow that good engineers and Iowa has had its share of them also are good administrators. It was to be expected that the changeover would generate severe criticism, especially among some longtime employes who would have resisted any change. But the end result was greater efficiency in the operation of the department. Coupal deserves much credit for sticking it out despite the refusal of the legisla- ture, in his early years, to recog- nize his expertise by raising his salary. With the advent of the new department of transportation which embraces the high- way commission and all other areas of state government dealing with transportation, it was ob- vious that Coupal's job would be out the window. He still has de- tractors in powerful positions, so he recogmx.ed tiie inevitable and proved his worth by going out and getting a job that pays a better salary than the one he held here. The sad fact is that Iowa has losl too many outstanding public ser- vants, like Coupal. because of petty bickering or refusal to meet the salaries they can draw else- where. Others who come to mind are William Forst. who headed the state revenue department, and .lohn Montgomery, who was chief of the state's educational broad- cast ing network. Like Coupal. both accepted bet- ter-paying jobs in other slates when it became obvious that Iowa would not acknowledge their true worth through well-deserved pay boosts. It is possible that keeping Coupal as the DOT administrator might have given that new agency more of a highway flavor than Governor Ray and other top of- ficials wanted'. But the fact is that Coupal already had proved him- self as an able administrator in city government, as well as at the highway commission. Who is there to say he wouldn't have done the same as DOT chief? 'Obstacle1 underrated IF A recent -Harris Survey can be adjudged a valid barometer. Americans are fed up with smear tactics in politics particularly those centering upon a candidate's domestic life. Judge the office seeker on the basis of abilities and positions on pertinent issues, re- pondents to the poll agreed, in ef- fect, but lay off divorces, separa- tions and alleged sex and drinking troubles. While the Harris pulse-taking concerned politicians in general, everyone this side of the fabled Tibetan monk must have thought immediately of Sen. Edward Ken- nedy of Massachusetts. Does the growing openmindedness toward human foibles support the thesis that reports of Kennedy's demise as a presidential candidate are premature? Obviously, the mechanics man- ning Kennedy's election '76 cam- paign machine think so. Walter Pincus, executive editor of the New Republic, wrote recently that because of the enthusiasm with which the senator is greeted these days in "selected" public ap- pearances, his closest aides and supporters are convinced that Watergate has obscured the public's memory of Chappaquid- dick and that the ghost of Miss Mary Jo Kopechne will not be raised again in a serious way. "They seem to see Chappaquid- dick as a public-relations ob- observed Pincus. "but People's forum What plans for youth? This ihe LMthering of young people this summer mi the First avenue bridge and Riverside park area on the west bank. The disturbances and arrests should cause us tu a--k nurseh.es whv Mils situation exists It is ironic that the now park area was first as an expensive under- taking thai little used: now II is being criticized because it is boitr-: used Ac- tivities such as vandalism, public drinking and marijuana smoking are understandably upsetting lo many citizens. 1 do not intend lo argue the merits of drinking or smoking, pro or con. Hill 1 wonder if the present situation is as bad as Ihe alternative that would follow if Ihe people arc forced out of ihe area. The gatherers would (hen have lo lake their activities into their cars and mil on the streets. A drunken bridge or bench siller is certainly less, dangerous In himself and Ihe public Ihiin a drunk driver not as barring the way to the presidency. The senator, ap- parently, sees it the same way." In light of the spate of Chap- paquiddick revisited articles published upon the tragedy's fifth anniversary this month (the it is unlikely that the bizarre mystery will be written off as domestic woes not relevant to the campaign. The imprudent party at a rented cottage, the undeter- mined amount of liquor consumed by participants, the fateful cat- ride and accident, Kennedy's failure to notify authorities im- mediately, his later insistence that the whole story is "on the record" these and a dozen other enigmas make up a massive poli- tical intrigue which columnist William F. Buckley has aptly labeled, "Chappaquatergate." Characterizing such obtrusive closet skeletons as "a public-rela- tions obstacle" is like terming the San Francisco earthquake a mild tremor. The prediction here is that Harris-poll accounts of grow- ing voter tolerance notwithstand- ing, the public will not consider the Chappaquiddick mystery a domestic matter out of bounds in the 1976 presidential race. How the man handled himself after the disastrous event and how he closed the door on inquiry remain as pertinent now as they were in 1969. Only a courageous opening of the files could possibly turn the losing game around. The' police are in a very difficult posi- tion, of course, But unless such acts as vandalism or infringement of other people's rights occur, an altitude of tolerance would probably be in Ihe best interests nf all concerned Why do Ihe young people gather around the area'1 I believe the major cause is boredom. The fact is that young people in Cedar Rapids have little lo do after dark except watch TV or go to a bar If they are not IS that leaves just TV. With nothing else to do many are forced lo entertain themselves bv drinking or smoking side area ot spc riversK specifically for the youth ol our city A large park area with lighting that staved open past the1 Iraditimial HI o'clock deadline would be a possibilily II could be built in an area thai was not IN ihe dead center of lovvn A more open loca- tion would lend for less Inchon with oilier walking or driving A large recreation building in Ihe same area would also help in Hie colder months. It is Irile that successful recreation centers are hard lo find. Hill a large building with such activities as pinball. pool and dancing is badly need- ed. By R. W. Apple WASHINGTON Some months ago. Thomas I' O'Neill, the gee.ial iiostoman who serves as the Democratic leader in the house of representatives, was reflecting on the wav his elevation to the leadership had changed people's perceptions of him "1 used to be an hack, he said. "Now I have become a statesman Something of the same tiling has hap- pnieit in Hie last week to iiie House liidiciarv committee as a result of Us deliberations on the impeachment of ['resident Nlxwi and bv extension to the house as a whole Suddenly, Ihe house is seen and sees iisclf as an institution worthy of respect, the momenl. at least, there would seem lo be few takers for the deri-ive ind.gmcnt of Kep "Big Tim" Sullivan of New York, who said upon his retirement in INIHi. "Congress- men'.' In Washington they hitch horses lo Iheni The' consensus in Washington is that the committee's six days nf nationally televised meetings were marked by a dignity commensurate with the occasion. To be sure there were some pomposity and some posturing and some pettiness. (Members on both sides were irked by an attack on Albert K. .leaner ir.. Ihe as- sociate special counsel, for his views on prostitution.) Truman tradition But for all that, what sirnck most of those wlui watched the hearings close up. including reporters accustomed to dis- missing the house as orators in search of an idea, was the competence ol lawyers like Wiggins nf California and .Jordan of Texas; the eloquence of Mann of South Carolina and Sandman of New Jersey: the evident emotion felt by Railsback of Illinois and Wald'c of California. The onlookers were impressed as well with the patience and evenhandedness of the commiitee's chairman. Peter W. Rodino He proved in the satis- faction of many that the Truman tradi- tion was not dead in America, that a Liberal landslide feared 'No, we would not core to step in for a relatively iibscuiT. somewhat scorned backbencher could rise In even lhi> must intimidating invasion. didn't look like renegades." said a man with dose connections In the White House, "and we'd been led in believe Unit they would." Nor (lid (he eominittee give the impression of ritual partisanship. Only eight Demoerats voted fur all five proposed articles of impeachment; only III Republicans voted against all five. By far the largest Wimp, 21) members 13 Democrats and 1 Republicans voted for some and against some. Kep. William S. Cohen of Maine, a handsome :ili-year-old Republican, was comment ing at a break in one of the sessions. The impeachment delibera- tions, lie said, were Hiving the country a chance see what he hail concluded sbortlv after arriving here thai Ihe house was full of talent thai gol lust "because of tin' sheer numbers If television is permitted to cover Ml- lure congressional debates on momen- tous li limit! work a profound change in congressional politics in Mime ways as profound as Its impact on presidential politics since III a manner the founding fathers never- dreamed of. the representative could U-.viiic the federal office-holder closest I" tin- people With the assistance television, the committee did much In nan the climate' for the kind nf counterattacks on which the While Mouse has relied almost since the advent "f the Watergate scandals more than two years ago II becomes more difficult, for example, to describe the case as the illegitimate product of the news media wl......Mailed accusations are issuing from the mouths of those who have studied the case fur ueeks Bipartisan It is hard to persuade the country that a committee looks like a kangaroo court when the most impassioned defenders of Ilie President lard their speeches with compliments for the fairness of the chairman and the procedures that lie devised. And il is hard to picture the' "prosecution" as a partisan lynch mob, out oftnuch with middle America, when, on the first two articles of impeachment, it is a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, ur urban, suburban and rural antecedents; of ideologies rated from zero (Mann of South Carolina) lo lllll (Drinan of Massachusetts) by Americans for Democratic Action; of legislators from Tiiscaloosa and Bailor. Roanoke and Akron, Muline and Harlem. II is for that reason, perhaps, that White House spokesmen have abandoned their caustic critiques and begun r speaking of the fairness with which -hey hope the congress will attend tu its "constitutional responsibilities." To Nixon's fired-up backers: 'Cool off By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON The house of representatives is moving inexora- bly toward the destruction of Richard Nixon, and some of Mr. Nixon's most ardent supporters are moving, in the same tidal wave, toward the destruction of their own best interests. Forget Mr. Nixon for the moment. What are these convulsions doing In the Republican party'.' And what lies ahead for conservative causes'' The election saw 47.2 million votes cast for the Republican Nixon. 29.2 million for the Democrat McGoverii. If these 76.-t million voters constitute a reasonable political universe, we can make some rough extrapolations from Ihe popularity polls. These polls show that about 26 or 27 percent of the people still stand by the President. Conclusion: Some 20 million voters call them Nixon's Legion remain bitterly oil- posed to the President's impeachment and removal from office. Conspiracy theory The figures are rough, but they proba- bly are roughly accurate. A legion of 211 million fired-np voters is a potent poli- tical force: and anyone who supposes the President's defenders are not fired up should browse through the mail now flooding Republican offices. The legion sees impeachment as a conspiracy between double-standard Democrats and a double-standard press. These voters have blood in their eyes. It all comes down to how much our city is concerned wilh (he welfare of Us you til The (piestion arises: How will Nixon's Legion expend its political force? These voters probably have it within their power, if they choose tu exercise that power, to make ur break a score of Republican or conservative congressmen this fall. By withholding campaign con- tributions, or by slaying home in November, the legion can effectively deny re-election to members of the house vvhii vote in favor uf impeachment. ll would not be an easy road, under Ihe best of circumstances, for Republicans in marginal districts this fall. Rightly or wrongly, a President and his party tend lu be blamed for economic ills, and such blame nibs off on a party's candidates. Historically, the party in presidential power loses close seats in off-year elec- tions. If one adds to these factors the anger yf Nixon's Legion, the problems of a pro-impeachment Republican become evident. Consider. for example, the position of M. Caldwell Butler of Virginia's Sixth district. He is a first-termer who won election in by :ji) percent of the vote. James J. Kilpatrick Or consider the situation of John M. Ashbruok of Ohio's 17th district. He won his sixth term in 1972 with 57 percent nf the vote. Both men are solid conserva- tives; both are seeking re-election. The arithmetic tells its own story: If the legion abandons these two excellent congressmen, they could be in serious passion trouble. looking to November. If 311 or -111 seats in the house change hands, passing from moderate-conservative Republicans t'o moderate-liberal Democrats, we will approach the "veto-proof" congress that is Ihe dream of organized labor. Prejudice runs deeper than reason. If it were possible for members of the legion tn suspend their pro-Nixon prejudice, and to listen to the cool voice of reason, perhaps they could be per- suaded of the political disaster they are courting. Their passionate support nf the President can do little for Mr. Nixon now. But if this passion is turned in re- tribution against such men as Butler and Ashbrook, the result could lie a liberal landslide. This is madness. The leaders of or- ganized labor are licking their chops and The consequences cannot be reckoned in terms of labor legislation alone: the consequences would ripple across the whole surface of congressional power. The legion would lose both the battle and the war. What price passion? The President's defenders cannot let their anger destroy their common sense. Simmer down. I would say. Sober up. Lnok ahead. If Mr. Nixon goes down the drain, let him go. But if we have one ounce of political maturity, let us save what is left. or piker? 'Free world' fetters Lawyers Well, the house nidieiaiy committee finally has concludeil lhat Hie President is a crook and has recommended lo the congress that he should be impeached and removed from office What nlher conclusion could have been reached with a commiUee of 21 Demncrals and only 17 Republicans'' Regardless of ihe guilt or inniH-ence ul' the PreMdont. this siiualinn does not make for fair and impartial Illsllce Tills committee could have, inunlhs aL'o. hcM one meeting '.nted and come In Ihe same conclusion --av lie-' Ihe country a million dollars in Mall rusts Now. what did we have-" c had :ls lawvers silting in indgmen! mi the President, also a lawyer. The 1'resideni and all his men (lawyers) had lawvers The committee of lawyers had lawyers on Us staff. Have we so early forgotten thai ll was lawyers Dial gol us into Mils mes.i in the first place'.' Yes. lawyers, includ- ing Ihe While House lawyers. Ihe lawvers on the committee for Ihe He-election ol Ihe President, anil two or three attorneys ll uouid seem that the time is coming when ihe people start electing business men and women and put the government back into the hand-, of the people. Mien il lawyers are needed, hire them. Tins na- tion uas esiabhslu'd as a nation nf laws, no) law'.ers ii'i! Hi' a mainnlv nt iii'-inb'-r-. made a big thing of 1-1111- graiijljitiuv the chairman on Ins fairness. 'Ihi r'- j- no doubt that he was fair inas- much as allowing everyone to speak lor his nlKlcd Mine, but at the close of the third 'lav's debates lie made ihe statement Ihal "regardless of the nut- come "I lurlher debates. I am going lo !ni impeachment I hi- i eiMinds me nl ihe oiil -.lur. ol the wcsloi n mull that caiighl a suspected horse lluel while dragging him In Ihe nearest trer kepi yelling "Hang Ihe S (I I! When a ..nice in Ihe crowd urged Iheni lo hear whai the man had lo say in his defense. Ihe nl the mull said. "All right, we will listen tn what he has to sav. then hang Hie S O li The above is no! intended as a blanket indictment of lawyers as il would he as unfair lo call all lawyers dcMous and crunked as ll would brio call all Italians gangslers. Bui It appears thai there are enough of to make Ihe average quake in Ills boots Robert A Kryrear avenue By Don Oakley TT WOULD be good tn be able tn record J- that the sudden crumbling nf the military dictatorship which misruled Greece for seven years could be credited, at least in part, to efforts by the I'nited Slates. As it was. the self-engineered ouster of Ihe regime apparently came as a complete surprise In Washington, an unexpected consequence nf the Cypriot crisis. Indeed, according to Secretary of State Kissinger, we had hesitated to bring any pressure on Athens for [oar that "superhawks" might seize control of Ihe government and launch a war against Turkev Tims, welcome as Greece's return In civilian rule is. it is nnl something this eonnlrv can pride Itself on. And while there may be one less dictatorship in the world there are plenty more where it came from. Too many of them, unfor- tunately, are counted among America's allies nr national proteges In South Vietnam, 'he ideals and goals for which 05.1101) American soldiers died, remain as distant as ever Thai country, sllll struggling for exislence againsl a relentless foe who has never recognized Ihe cease-fire is no mode! of human Irecdom Neither is the Philippines, though lu- lined in democracy lor half a century by the Culled Slates While the budding au- tocratic rule of President Marcos is still iairly benign, at least members of Die Philippine political opposition lan- guish in prison, simply because they an1 opposition. Bill it is South Korea, whose indepen- dence another .'lll.llllll American soldiers gave Iheir lives to secure, thai presents the mosl disheartening example There, mere criticism nf the 13-year- old regime of President Park Chung Hee is punishable by death. There, an ongo- ing series of trials of dissidents which began last winter has had the effect nf stifling every voice nf opposition to Park's increasingly repressive rule. Those who have been tried nr who face trial under emergency decrees proclaimed by Park include the former president of South Korea. Yun Pn Sun. Catholic Bishop Daniel Chi, the poet Kim Chi Ha and scores of other prominent and lesser citizens. In a veritable reign of terror, Ihe lawyer who defended Kim and six students was himself arrested because he objected in court lo the death sentences given them. Il may be said that none of this is America's affair, thai we have nn business meddling in Ihe internal politics of oilier countries. The failure nf democracy In flourish in South Vietnam or Smith Korea is evidence thai (lie Iree nf liberty will not necessarily take root where we wish, no mailer how well wa- tered wilh blood And cer- tainly, then- is nnl ime h we can realis- tically do on bch.dl nl the millions living under oppression Iain N et too ollen we are willing lo play along wilh Ihe hllle dictator, if they If Ihey serve Ihe interests of. our and diplomatic strategy Bui Ihal slralegy is supposed lo lie [or a larger purpose ih.in nur nwii na- tional securily. Il is supposed to be n> defense nf human freedom everywhere Must we. Ihe leader of Ihe sn-called Free World, remain so silent.'   

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