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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - March 6, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Parliaments bumble, too The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wed., Mar. 6, 1874    9A Dismiss without impeaching? By Tom Wicker NKW YORK — The muddled and dangerous political situations im Britain and Israel should be a caution to> those who have been glibly promoting tim idea of parliamentary government in th« United States. On the other hand, the criminal indictments of four men’ who were once Richard Nixon’s closest personal and political aides — not to mention all the other Nixon men implicated by indictment or guilty pleas — raises again the troublesome question of accountability in American government. In most parliamentary democracies, Nixon might long since have been voted out of office, not necessarily for any specific offenses of his own, but for the generalized offense of having brought into power men who had violated the public trust and broken the law they were supposed to uphold, as well as for having brought the government and the office of the presidency into disrepute and disarray. In the American system, outraged citizens have to wait three years — in this case — for the opportunity to turn Nixon’s party (not even Nixon himself) out of office. Or they can depend upon Views Ideas /mights Judgments Comments mmmmmmmKmm, WKmmmmmmm mmmmm Opinion Page Tom Wicker congress to move through the legal and political uncertainties of impeachment to the distasteful point of a forced removal, not only of the head of govertiment, but of the head of state. Impeachment is, at best, a lengthy, cumbersome and sweeping process. It might be inappropriate for some relatively minor transgressions by a President, and in some cases it might be too difficult politically even for important offenses. But it is all the Constitution provides for. Therefore, might it not be that tho most important institutional reform needed is some guarded version of the “no-confidence” vote that enables parliamentary democracies, in times of great stress, to dismiss governments and get new ones? This is a matter that deserves long and careful consideration before anything is done. Nixon is right that the presidency ought not to be vulnerable to public opinion polls. No reform ought to make it possible for a President to be removed or censured merely for doing unpopular things, nor to be dissuaded from doing something likely to be unpopular by the threat of congressional retaliation. In a stable democracy, however, the no-confidence vote does not necessarily provide a swinging door for governments to be shuttled in and out. After all, it has been 34 years since the British parliament turned a government out of office by such a vote — and then it was the government of Neville Chamberlain in one of the dark periods of World war II. Winston Churchill, on the other hand, was a master at provoking no-confidence votes that failed — in effect, providing him with recurrent showings of support. While mere popularity should not be the criterion for keeping or evicting a government, moreover, a leader in a democracy does have to retain substantial support if he is to be an effective leader. Incidentally, the proper response to Nixon’s contention that the presidency “should not be hostage to what happens to the popularity of a President,” is the question: But can Nixon still govern effectively, whatever the polls show? And could a two-thirds vote in the senate for his removal possibly be obtained if he were merely unpopular, and not charged with arri ous offe nses as well? The two-thirds vote — a familiar con* stitutional safeguard, necessary, for instance, to override presidential vetoes — should be the key to a no-confidence amendment to the Constitution. Upon a resolution of no confidence, which should contain specified charges either of official misbehavior or of inability to govern effectively, if two-thirds of those voting in each house concurred, the following would be set in motion: 1. The President and those he had appointed to the executive branch would become a caretaker government, pending: 2. A special presidential election to be held on the first Tuesday after 90 days had elapsed following the no-confidence vote. 3. The winner of the special election, who could be the caretaker President, would be sworn in as President immediately afterwards, would have the option of retaining or dismissing anyone then in the executive branch, and would serve as President until the next regularly scheduled presidential election. Admittedly, this is a general idea rather than a precise proposal, and it has obvious disadvantages. It does not provide much time, or a method, for an opposition party to select a ticket — or for the in-party to choose a candidate other than the caretaker President. If the latter was a candidate, he would have at least some of the advantages of incumbency, despite the no-confidence vote. Nevertheless, the present anomalous situation suggests the utility of this or some other device short of impeachment, but safeguarded against casual or frivolous use, by which Americans could choose to change their government when the need for change had been formally stated by congress. New York Times Service Presidential greatness aside Truman downrevised as man By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON - Harry S Truman, in terms of his place in history, has been having a great time of it lately. Barry Goldwater, among many others, has acclaimed him the greatest President of this century. The eulogies spoken in December, 1972, reflected revisionism in progress. With Merle Miller’s “oral biography,” some of the revisionism may have to be revised. The Truman that emerges from these pages — from his own recorded conversation — is in most ways a little man: vain, cocky, profane, vindictive, mean-spirited, lacking in charity, compassion or grace. Most of the conversations were recorded when Truman was 77. It was a twilight time for most old warriors; things that once were seen in sharp black and white, in the harsh light of high noon, tend to soften in shadow. Not with Harry Truman. To the end of his days he was like Samuel Johnson’s friend, dear Bathurst: “lie hated a fool, and he hated a rogue, and he hated a whig; he was a very good hater.” Miller’s image of Truman is honest, and honest biography must be admired. But the image is regrettable all the same. It is all very well for our great men to be revealed “for their human qualities.” When Peter Lely came to paint Cromwell’s portrait, the Lord Protector gave James J. Kilpatrick him positive instructions: “Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me ...” That is what Truman did for himself in this revealing self-portrait. It is not that Miller made no effort to flatter him. Miller tried. As an interviewer, Miller emerges as one of the champion bootlickers of all time; he fed Truman nothing but cream-puff questions, whipped-cream tough, and the old man lapped them up. Way with Words When in doubt. By Theodore M. Bernstein Unquestionably out of this world. Two questions arc posed by Regina Clements of Little Rock, Ark. The first is whether it is ever correct to use the word undoubtably. The answer is no. The word is obsolete and to use it now is considered an illiteracy. The word to use is undoubtedly or indubitably. The second question concerns the persons and things that sometimes put us out of this world. “So many people," writes the inquirer, “talk about their anesthetist giving them anesthesia." Actually four related words are involved here: An anesthetist is a specialist who administers an anesthetic — that is, a substance that produces insensitivity to (min or loss of consciousness, a condition that is called anesthesia. It is not correct to say that the anesthetist administers anesthesia; what he administers is an anesthetic. The fourth word involved is anesthesiologist. He is a physician whose specialty is the study of anesthetic* and anesthesia All right, folks, now let s go to the recovery room. Combine. A noun that comes up frequently in discussions of financial and Theodore M. Bernstein economic matters, combine should be used with caution. Forget about its designation of a harvesting machine; the discussion here is concerned with its use to designate a group organized for specific purposes. In casual usage, particularly in American casual usage, combine takes on the sense of a group with selfish, unethical or illegal aims. Thus, it would bo all right to speak of a combine that was convicted of price-fixing, but it might not i>e proper to speak of a combine to find more efficient ways of manufacturing widgets. • Word oddities The word anethene is of Greek derivation: an, without, anthesis, feeling. Interestingly enough, that root is related to aisthetihos, sense perception, from which we get the word aesthetic (or esthetic ) Ni*w York Tim** Syndical* We get the painting, warts and all. Truman had generous things to say about Gen. George Marshall and a few others, but Truman was not a generous or a forgiving man. Even minor characters are not spared his rancorous recollection. The Rev. Billy Graham is “one of those counterfeits.” Wisconsin’s Sen. Alexander Wiley is “windy.” Indiana’s Sen. William Jenner is “one of the dirty son-sabitches.” Adlai Stevenson was “a very smart fella, but there were some things he just never got through his head.” Justice Tom (’lark was “dumb.” As for leaders of the Nationalist Chinese, “they’re all thieves, every damn one of them.” By the time these conversations were recorded, ten years had passed since Eisenhower had won the presidency, 17 years since victory in Europe. Truman could not find one kind word to say about him. He speaks of Eisenhower variously as a fool, a damn fool, and a goddam fool. Eisenhower “had a very high opinion of himself.” Eisenhower was “very weak as a field commander.” In Truman’s view, “Ike didn’t know anything, and all the time he was in the White House he didn't learn a thing.” There is much worse, of course, about Richard Nixon, the “shifty-eyed, goddam liar,” and about Douglas MacArthur, another “dumb son of a bitch," but Truman had the lash for almost everyone who ever crossed him: Joe Kennedy, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Madame Chiang, Henry Wallace, Thomas Dewey — let the book fall open. Truman was forever chewing the cud of his infinite animosities: “The old man," he said of himself, “never forgets." Miller’s book is called "Plain Speaking”, and that it is. As a general proposition, plain speech, even blunt speech, is better than platitudinous hokum. But there is also a place, especially from an elder statesman, for speech that is kind, speech that heals instead of slashes, speech that does not cut and flay. The vainglorious Truman — “I was always out there pushing” —- was incapable of such speech. It is not necessary to revise one s high opinion of Truman as a President — he was a great President — but this book may prompt some of his admirers to revise their opinion of him us a man. Wcnhutyton Slur Svnilkat* Intermediary The I mss was exasperated with his new secretary because sin1 ignored the telephone when it rang. I’inallv he said irr.tabl>: “You most answer the phone when it rings ” "All right," she replied “But nine times out of ten it is for you." •> Panes Wicker sale! A great way to raise cane in your home. Sale prices effective through Saturday, March 9 15.87 Nymph Chair. Curl up and read a book or watch t.v. A great decorator piece in the living room, den or porch. Natural cane wicker Chair cushions in assorted colors and fabrics, 5.97 Willow Wicker Utility Baskets with handles. 18” in diameter, 16" high. 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