New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 13, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
4 New Braunfels Y\era\d-Zeitung Thursday, January 13,1983OpinionsHerald-Zeitung
Dave Kramer, General Manager Robert Johnson, EditorJohn L. HessHouse freshmen: you have a choice
Dear Freshman Congressman:
Congratulations. You spent something like 400 grand to win a job paying $60,700, and before you were even sworn in, your fellow members already in place voted you a $9,100 raise.
Now they will kindly explain to you what you are expected to do in return. Listen closely to your elders, they mean you well.
Back in 1974, an electorate fed up with Watergate sent a flock of bushy-tailed young Democrats to Washington. They actually thought they had a mandate to clean house, beginning with such key figures of the old machine as Wilbur Mills and Wayne Hays.
Nice elder statesmen like Rep. Ed Koch gently straightened them out. They explained that compromise is the genius of politics.
So Mills and Hays stayed on as committee bosses, until a weakness for liquor and women brought them down. Koch moved on to become the Demopublican mayor of New York, the pet of promoters and other generous donors.
One of the class of 1974 who learned his lesson well was Tim Wirth of Boulder, Colo. He is now a leader of a group called the Atari Democrats, who argue that the cure for what ails our economy is to promote high technology — not steel but electronics.
Cabinet departures come at bad time for Reagan's staff
Bv JAMES GERSTENZANG
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Reagan administration’s midterm shake-up is occurring at a fast anti furious pace. But rather than removing those who may be causing problems, President Reagan has lost rn a matter of weeks two Cabinet members with whom there was no sign of dissatisfaction.
He also forced a purge in his arms control negotiating team, in the midst of a series of weapons reduction talks perhaps leaving himself open to Soviet propaganda charges of disarray in the West’s nucleal policies.
Across the private street thai separates the White House from the Old Executive Office Building, five members of Vice President George Bush’s pared-down staff decided to switch jobs, with all but one choosing to leave the White House.
Thus, as Reagan nears the start of the third year in his presidency, he has lost one-third of his original Cabinet; he has watched three top aides leave his White House staff, two under fire; the arms control team is being overhauled, and the vice president is breaking in a new staff.
In view of the changes, administration officials are defensive about midterm assessments stating the president is losing control of his agenda and failing to accomplish his goals.
•'We’re at a difficult stage with a lot of these issues," said one official.
We’re at a point where you can’t get a lot of agreement with Congress. It s not a matter of simply being reactive. Ifs a matter of reality. It’s what every administration goes through."
In picking replacements. Reagan bowed to the conservative wing of the Republican Party for the arms control jobs while turning to a more moderate area when he chose former Rep Margaret Heckler of Massachusetts to replace Richard Schweiker as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Schweiker was the fourth Cabinet member to leave, joining Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis, resigning as of Feb. I; former Secretary of State Alexander M Haig Jr., whose departure was dearly welcomed at the White House last summer, and Energy Secretary James Edwards, who is returning to South Carolina, where he once practiced dentistry.
Only hours after the president, Schweiker and Mrs Heckler left the East Room, the White House copying machines were cranking out the president’s statement acknowledging the departure of Eugene Rostow as director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Rostow was forced out in the face of persistent opposition by conservative Republicans led by Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina.
Reagan said he was accepting with regret the resignation of Richard Staar as the U.S. representative at talks intended to reduce conventional weapons in Europe. But deputy White
Now, you may think ifs silly to vote new tax breaks to industries that already have plenty of them, in order to develop new labor-saving gadgetry. If so, you haven’t read Elizabeth Drew’s remarkable reportage in the New Yorker.
Her message is that campaign money contributed by the special interest political action committees has come to shape our politics as never before. As a result, she says, “the basis on which our system of representative government was supposed to work is slipping away, if not already gone."
Atari Democrats frankly told Drew that since the bulk of the money was going to Republicans, the only hope
for their party was to make a pitch to the same sources. Their babble about high tech, she reported, “also reflects their interest in industry as a source of funds."
So, for example, the Atari Democrats helped slip a clause in the 1981 tax grab bag that gave a special exemption to Steven Ross, chairman of Warner Communications f owner of Atari), affecting $20 million of his earnings that year. Ross is a major Democratic fund-raiser.
Another Atari Democrat, Richard Gephardt of St. Louis, has carried the ball for oil men, savings-and-loans and the American Medical Association, all generous donors. Wirth is a favorite charity of folks in
telecommunications, as chairman of the House subcommittee thereon.
Elder statesmen of your party, like Robert Strauss and, to a degree, Tip O’Neill, will tell you that if you want to raise a respectable fund for your next campaign, it is wise to go along. Be a PAC-man.
There’s only one thing wrong with this. For Democrats, it tends to lose elections.
Voters are funny. When they want Republican policies, they vote Republican. When they don’t they either vote Democratic or, if they lack confidence in the Democrats, they don’t vote at all.
The freshman Democratic class of 1974 was three times as big as the one
of 1982. It was full of beans, but it blew it.
Then came the administration of Jimmy Carter. Remember him? He never could decide whether he was a liberal or a conservative, but he was more the latter than the former.
The voters dumped the Democrats in 1980, and showed little enthusiasm for them in 1982 even after two disastrous years under Reagan.
So there’s your choice: Be a PAC-man and maybe you’ll get enough money to squeak by in 1984. Or go with the public interest and — who knows? — maybe you’ll make a glorious fight of it.
Sympathetically, John L. Hess
House press secretary Larry Speakes said it had been made “apparent to i Staar I we would like him to resign."
One White House official said that “it’s hard to tell" whether there will be more changes in the Cabinet, although a much-rumored shake-up of the White House staff was not in sight.
Presidential editing changes Louisiana speech
WASHINGTON - White House aides like to say that w hen it comes to speeches, President Reagan is his own writer. He may bt* that although he has a staff of speech-wTiters but he is also his own editor.
When Reagan made a hastily arranged trip to Louisiana to view flood damage on his way home to Washington from a California vacation after the New Year’s holiday, his staff prepared a brief radio speech for him to give to the local citizens.
Reagan set his hand to a typewritten text and smoothed out some of the more awkward language Reagan’s scratchy handwriting could be seen where he crossed out and rewrote parts of every paragraph of the speech.
"I’ve come here today to tell the people of Louisiana that you’ve not been struggling alone," was changed by the president to read: “I welcome this opportunity to tell you the people of Louisiana, you are not alone.”
"Your homes and life’s possessions may have been washed away, but your grit and mettle have not,” became "I know many here have lost their homes and life’s possessions."
A speeehwriter prepared the text this way :
"The entire nation wants to come to your aid. And as in past national (natural) disasters, the federal government will provide firm and immediate support... I have told Gov. Treen that I am ready to review his request that portions of Louisiana In* declared a disaster area. I intend to speed the process along when I return to Washington, but I can assure you now that the federal government will provide every bit of assistance possible, and without delay."
After the president got through with it, it came out this way:
"As in past nat disasters, the entire nation wants to come to your aid... I know Gov. Treen is framing a request that portions of Ixiusiana be declared a disaster area I have told Gov. Treen that I approve that request. The federal government will provide very bit of assistance possible, and without delay."
And, when it came to shaving just a few words to make a smoother text, Reagan knew what he was doing:
"I’m told that..." became "I know."
"The people of louisiana should know that the rest of America is standing with them,” became “Please know the rest of America is standing with you."
gybu "we Aftergo .'straat
Pentagon planning secret force for action in Persian Gulf
There has been much agitated whispering on Capitol Hill about a secret Pentagon plan to establish a rapid deployment force in Jordan. The secrecy of the project has prevented open discussion of an extremely controversial issue.
Basically, the secret plan calls for perhaps two brigades of elite Jordanian troops, who would serve as modern minutemen ready to respond immediately to any crisis in the Persian Gulf area. This "mini-Rapid Deployment Force," as it has already been nicknamed iii the Pentagon, would be trained and equipped by the U.S. military.
The details are considered so sensitive politically that only top congressional leaders have been informed of the plan, and they have been sworn to secrecy. The intent is to keep the project hush-hush and to finance it secretly.
The reason for all the secrecy is not to suppress the congressional debate, which is beginning to simmer below the surface. Rather, it is intended to prevent a storm of protest in Jordan. While King Hussein reportedly favors the project, it is doubtful that the Palestinian majority in Jordan would welcome such close, active cooperation with the United States.
Nevertheless, insiders told my associate Lucette l^agnado that the Pentagon is convinced Hussein can be a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. Some of those who are pushing the plan even see Jordan as the pillar of U.S. strategic operations in the Persian Gulf area.
Here’s what the Jordanian force
would be used for:
— Maintaining Jordan’s own stability. An elite military unit would guard against both internal threats to Hussein’s regime — attempted coups or assassinations — and external threats from such hostile neighbors as Syria.
— Emergencies in friendly Persian Gulf states: This is the main purpose for creating the Jordanian RDF. It could be dispatched quickly to put down insurrections against regimes in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
— Possible use in inter-Arab wars: The Pentagon apparently sees the Jordanian RDF as a potential surrogate force to promote U.S. interests in the area, without the need for American troops.
The use of friendly Arab troops would be infinitely more palatable to Saudi Arabia, which has expressed displeasure over the possibility of calling in American forces, even in a direct emergency.
Needless to say, the Pentagon’s secret plan has already raised concern, especially among senators who believe Israel, not Jordan, is better equipped to protect American interests in the Middle East. They fear it will damage our relations with our most dependable ally; the Israelis would understandably be concerned that a crack Jordanian military force could be used against them.
There is also uneasiness on Capitol Hill over the idea of establishing a special relationship with any Middle East potentate. Some senators are
still haunted by the disastrous results on such an arrangement with the late shah of Iran.
But the Pentagon can presumably count on strong White House support. Jordan is crucial to President Reagan’s Middle East peace plan.
Here’s Mud in Aireye: While cost overruns are distressingly commonplace among the major armed services, even the runt of the military litter, the Coast Guard, has trouble keeping its projects within the budget. Its AIREYE medium-range surveillance system is not only years behind schedule, but has run far over its original $6 million budget.
The AIREYE, in various stages of development since 1972, is a sensor that was to be attached to Coast Guard planes to detect illegal oil discharges at sea and to identify the tankers responsible. Some $10 million has already been spent or obligated, and the target date for a prototype has been changed from 1980 to January 1984. The original anticipated cost of the six AIREYE systems totals $18 million.
Now there is some question whether the surveillance device is even worth having. The technology involved may be IO years out-of-date. As an internal report of the Coast Guard inspector general observed last November, “The justification for the AIREYE system appears to be questionable at this time.” In fact, the IG recommended that any further effort bt* delayed until a full evaluation is made.
Much of the cost overrun was caused by design modifications — at least 22 since the contract was let in July 1980 One Coast Guard research and development official told my reporter Carolyn Farrar bluntly that the project is "an example of poor management.’’
Mystery Jobs: While it sneers at congressional job projects, the White House has been running one of its own — for Republican members of Congress who lost their seats in November. One applicant turned down a job in the Transportation Department, hoping for something better.
Your voices in Washington
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen
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United State Senate
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Room 240 Russell Bldg
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Washington, D C. 20510
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