Cedar Rapids Gazette, August 3, 1974, Page 8

Cedar Rapids Gazette

August 03, 1974

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Issue date: Saturday, August 3, 1974

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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 3, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Saturday, August 3, 1974 mtHmm Coupal's good record WITH LITTLE FUSS or fanfare, Joseph Coupal left his post as Iowa highway director recently to become an assistant to the federal highway administrator in Washington. In the eight years he headed the department, Coupal displayed an administrative expertise that seldom, if ever, had been experienced on that governmental front in Iowa. He was city manager in Bangor, Me., for 13 years before Harold Hughes, then Iowa’s governor, lured 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 always 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 legislature, in his early years, to recognize his expertise by raising his salary. With the advent of the new department of transportation (DOT), which embraces the highway commission and all other areas of state government dealing with transportation, it was obvious that Coupal’s job would be out the window. He still has detractors in powerful positions, so he recognized the 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 lost too many outstanding public servants, like Coupal, because of petty bickering or refusal to meet the salaries they can draw elsewhere. Others who come to mind are William Forst, who headed the state revenue department, and John Montgomery, who was chief of the state's educational broadcasting network. Like Coupal, both accepted better-paying jobs in other states 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 officials wanted. But the fact is that Coupal already had proved himself 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? Obstacle’ 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 effect, but lay off divorces, separations 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 Kennedy 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 manning Kennedy’s election ’76 campaign machine think so. Walter Pincus, executive editor of the New Republic, wrote recently that because of the enthusiasm with w hich the senator is greeted these days in “selected” public appearances, 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 publie-relations obstacle,” observed Pincus, “but WmmM People s forumWhat plans for youth? To the Editor. This concerns the pothering of young people this summer on the First avenue bridge and Riverside park area on the west bank ! he disturbances and arrests should cause us to ask ourselves why lins situation exists It is ironic that the new park area was first criticized as an expensive undertaking that was little used; now ii is being criticized because it is being used Activities such as vandalism, public drinking and marijuana smoking are understandably upsetting lo many citizens. I do not intend to argue the merits of drinking or smoking, pro or con But I wonder if the present situation is as bad as the alternative that would follow if the people are forced out of the area. The gatherers would then have to take their activities into their cars and out on the streets. A drunken bridge or bench sitter is certainly less dangerous to himself and the public than a drunk driver not as barring the way to the presidency. The senator, apparently, 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 18th), 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 undetermined amount of liquor consumed by participants, the fateful car ride and accident, Kennedy’s failure to notify authorities immediately, his later insistence that the whole story is “on the record" — these and a dozen other enigmas make up a massive political 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 growing voter tolerance notwithstanding, the public will not consider the Chappaquiddick mystery a domestic matter out of bounds in the 1876 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 1869. Only a courageous opening of the files could possibly turn the losing game around. The police arc in a very difficult position. of course But unless such acts vandalism or infringement of other people’s rights occur, an attitude of tolerance would probably be in the best interests of all concerned Why do the young people gather around the area? I believe tin* ilia tor cause is boredom. The fact is that young people in (’(‘(lur Rapids have little to do after (lark except watch TV' or go to a liar lf they are not IN that leaves just TV With nothing else to do many are forced to entertain themselves by drinking or smoking It is too bad the money spent on the riverside area was not spent on an area specifically for the youth of our city A large park area with lighting that stayed open past the traditional Hi o'clock deadline would In* a possibility. It could lie built in an arca (fiat was not iii tin* dead center of town A more open location would lend for less friction with other citizens walking or driving A large recreation building in tile same area would also help iii the colder months. It is true that successful recreation centers are hard to find But a large building with such activities as pinball, pool and dancing is badly neededLiberal landslide feared To Nixon’s fired-up backers: ‘Cool off’ By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON — The house of representatives is moving inexorably 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 to the Republican party? And what lies ahead for conservative causes0 The 1972 election saw 47.2 million votes cast for the Republican Nixon, 29 2 million for the Democrat McGovern, lf these 7B 4 million voters constitute a reasonable political universe, we can make some rough extrapolations from the popularity polls. These polls show that about 2H or 27 percent of the people still stand by the President. Conclusion: Some 211 million voters — call them Nixon’s Legion — remain bitterly opposed to the President’s impeachment and removal from office Conspiracy theory The figures are rough, but they probably are roughly accurate A legion of 29 million fired-up voters is a potent political force; and anyone who supposes the President’s defenders an* 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 The question arises: How will Nixon’s Legion expend its political force? These voters probably have it within their power, if they choose to exercise that power, to make or break a score of Republican or conservative congressmen this fall. By withholding campaign contributions. or by staying home in November, the legion can effectively deny re-election to members of the house who vote in favor of impeachment It would not be an easy road, under the l»est of circumstances, for Republicans in marginal districts this fall. Rightly or wrongly, a President and his party tend to be blamed for economic ills, and such blame rubs off on a party’s candidates. Historically, the party in presidential power loses close seats in off-year elections. If one adds to these factors tin1 anger of 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 1972 bv 55 percent of the* vote. Or consider the situation of John M Ashbrook of Ohio’s 17th district. He won his sixth term in 1972 with 57 percent of the vote. Both men are solid conservatives; both are seeking re-election. The arithmetic tells its own story: If the* legion abandons these two excellent congressmen, they could be in serious trouble. Prejudice runs deeper than reason lf it were possible for members of the legion to suspend their pro-Nixon prejudice, and to listen to tilt' cool voice of reason, perhaps they could be persuaded of the political disaster they are courting. Their passionate support of the President can do little for Mr. Nixon now But if this passion is turned in retribution against such men as Butler and Ashbrook. the result could be a liberal landslide This is madness. The leaders of organized labor are licking their chops and looking to November, lf 30 or 49 seats in the house change hands, passing from moderate-conservative Republicans to moderate-liberal Democrats, we will approach the “veto-proof" congress that is the dream of organized labor.Costly passion 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. IzMik ahead If Mr Nixon goes down tile drain, let him go But if we have hoe ounce of political maturity, let us save what is left A/oshiuqton Stor Svndirotp Champion or piker? ‘Free world’ fetters James J. Kilpatrick wmtmm It all comes down to how much our city is concerned with the welfare of its youth Brad Colton •IHii Brentwood drive NELawyers To the Editor Well. Hie house judiciary committee finally has concluded that the President is a crook and has recommended to the congress that he should tie impeached and removed from office What other conclusion could have been reached with a committee of 21 Democrats and only 17 Republicans? Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the President, tins situation does riot make for lair arid impartial justice This committee could have, months ago, held one meeting, voted, and come to the same conclusion, saving the country a million dollars iii staff costs Now. what did we have0 We hurl HK lawyers sitting in judgment on the President, also a lawyer The President arid all his men (lawyers) had lawyers The committee of lawyers had lawyers oil its staff Have we so early forgotten that it was lawyers that got us into this mess in tin* first place? Yes, lawyers, including the White House lawyers, tin* lawyers on the committee for the Re-election of the President, arid two or three attorneys general It would seem that the* time is coining when the people start electing business men and women and put tho government tiack into the hands of the people, then if lawyers are needed, hire them This ria tion was established as a nation of laws, bot law vers During th*' debates a majority of the members made a big thing of congratulating the chairman on his fairness There is no doubt that he was fair inasmuch as allowing everyone to speak for his alloted time. but at the close of the third day s debates hr* made tin* statement that "regardless of the outcome of further debutes. I am going to v ote for impeachment This reminds me of the old story of the western mob that caught a suspected horse thief and while dragging him to the nearest tree kept yelling, “Hang (ho SOB When a voice in the crowd urged them to hear what the man hurl to say in his defense, the leader of the moi) said. ‘ MI right, we will listen to what lie has to say. then hang th** S O B." The above is not intended as a blanket indictment of lawyers, as it would be un unfair to cull all lawyers devious and crooked as it would IxHo ( all all Italians gangsters But it appears that there arc enough of each to make the average citizen quake in his bouts Robert A Fry rear 241 ii E av enue NE By Don Oakley II WOl'LI) Im* good to lie able to record that the sudden crumbling of the military dictatorship which misruled (Irem* for seven years could be credited. at least in part, to efforts by the United States. As it was, the sc lf-engineered ouster of the regime apparently came as a complete surprise to Washington, an unexpected consequence of the Cypriot crisis Indeed, according to Secretary of Stale Kissinger, we had hesitated to bring any pressure on Athens for fear that * superhawks” might seize control of the government and launch a war against Turkey Thus, welcome as Greece s return to < iv 111ari rule Is, it is not something this country can pride itself on. And while there may Im* one less dictatorship in the world there are plenty more where it came from Too many of them, unfortunately are counted among America’s allies or national proteges In South Vietnam file ideals and goals for whi« h 55,909 American soldiers died, remain as distant as ever That country, still struggling for existence against a relentless foe who has never recognized the cease fire is no model of human freedom Neither is the Philippines, though til lured iii democracy tor half a century bv Hie I lilted States While the budding autocratic rule of President Marcos is still fairly benign, at least two members of the Philippine political opposition languish in prison, simply because they are Hu* opposition But it is South Korea whose independence another 19.909 American soldiers gave their lives to secure, that presents the most dish* «»rtcuing example There, mere criticism of the 13-year-old regime of President Park Chung Hee is punishable by death There, an ongoing series of trials of dissidents which began lust winter has had the effect of stifling every voice of opposition to Park s increasingly repressive rule. Those who have been tried or who face trial under emergency decrees proclaimed by Park include the former president of South Korea. Yun Po Sun, Catholic Bishop Daniel Chi, the poet Kim I bi Ha and scores of other prominent and lesser citizens. In a veritable reign of terror, the lawyer who defended Kiln and six students was himself arrested because he objected in court to the death sentences given them It may be said that none of this is America’s affair, that we have no business meddling in the internal polities of other countries The failure of democracy to flourish in South Vietnam or South Korea is evidence that the tree of liberty will not necessarily take root where we wish, no matter how well wa* tor cd with American blood And certainly there is not mu* ii we can realistically do on la iialf «>f ih<< millions living under oppression behind the Iron Curtain. Yet too often we are willing to plav along with the little dictators - if they are anti-communist, and lf they serve the interests of. our global military arid diplomatic strategy But that strategy is supposed to Im* for a larger purpose than just our own na ttonal security It is supposed to he lo defense of human freedom everywhere Must we, the leader of the so-called Free World, remain so silent? r> ( ut,., life A-,M>riritiri,iThe debates: ‘competent, eloquent, fair...’ By R. W. Apple WASHINGTON — Some months ago, Thomas P O'Neill, the genial Bostonian who serves as the Democratic leader in the house of representatives, was reflecting on the way his elevation to the leadership had changed people s perceptions of him "I used to be an Irish hack," he said "Now I have become a statesman." Something of the same thing has happened in the last week to the house judiciary committee as a result of its deliberations on tin* impeachment of President Nixon and bv extension to the house as a whole Suddenly, the house is seen and sees itself as ail institution worthy of respect. For tin* moment, ut least, there would seem to bo few takers for the derisive judgment of Rep. "Big Tim" Sullivan of New York, who said upon his retirement in 190H. “Congressmen? In Washington they hitch horses to them." The consensus in Washington is that the committee’s six days of nationally televised meetings were marked by a dignity commensurate with the occasion To bo sure there were some pomposity and some posturing and some pettiness (Members on both sides were irked by an attack on Albert F. Jenner jr.. the associate special counsel, for his views on prostitution.)Truman tradition But fur all that, what struck most of those who watched the hearings close up, including reporters accustomed to dismissing the house as 435 orators in search of an idea, was the competence of lawyers like Wiggins of California and Jordan of Texas; the eloquence of Mann of South Carolina and Sandman of New Jersey; the evident emotion felt by Railsbaek of Illinois and Waldo* of California. The onlookers were impressed as well with the patience and evenhandedness of the committee’s chairman, Peter VV Rodino (B N J ) He proved to the satisfaction of many that the Truman tradition was not dead in America, that a No, we would not core to step in for a drink! relatively obscure, somewhat scorned backbencher could rise to even the most intimidating occasion “They didn’t look like renegades." said a man with close connections to the White House, “and we’d been led to believe that they would Nor did the committee give the impression of ritual partisanship. Only eight Democrats voted for all five proposed articles of impeachment; only 19 Republicans voted against all five By far the largest group, 29 members — 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans — voted for some and against some. Rep. William S. Cohen of Maine, a handsome 33-year-old Republican, was commenting at a break in one of the sessions. The impeachment deliberations, he said, were giving the country a chance lo see uhat he had concluded shortly after arriving here — that the house was full of talent that got lost "because of the sheer numbers lf television is permitted to cover fu- -lure congressional debates on momentous questions, it could work a profound ( bange iii congressional polities — iii some ways as profound as its impact on presidential polities since 19H9 In a manner the founding fathers never . * dreamed of. the representative could truly become the federal office-holder closest to the people With the assistance of television, the committee did much to ruin the climate for the kind of counterattacks on which . the White House has relied almost since the advent of the Watergate scandals more than two years ago It becomes more difficult, for example, • to describe the case as the illegitimate product of the news media when detailed accusations are issuing from the mouths of those who have studied the ease for weeksBipartisan It is hard to persuade the country that a committee looks like a kangaroo court when the most impassioned defenders of. the President lard their speeches with compliments for the fairness of the chairman and the procedures that he devised. And it is hard to picture the "prosecution" as a partisan lynch mob, out of touch with middle America, when. on the first two articles of impeachment. it is a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, or urban, suburban and rural antecedents; of ideologies rated from zero (Marin of South Carolina) to IOO (Drinan of Massachusetts) by Americans for Democratic Action; of legislators from Tuscaloosa and Bangor. Roanoke and Akron, Moline and Harlem. It is for that reason, perhaps, that White House spokesmen have abandoned ¥ their caustic critiques and begun speaking of the fairness with which they hope the congress will attend to its "constitutional responsibilities " New York Times Service ;

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