Editorials

O'Gara, James

LET THE RACE BEGIN BY AUTHORIZING a reelection committee, President Reagan has at least tentatively committed himself to run again. The time has therefore come to look at the chicken entrails. One...

...The League of Woman Voters wants its "confidential" National Security Survey completed and returned within twelve days...
...But mostly there is a universe of human suffering and human hope-on the one hand, victims of drought and war and governmental folly...
...On one day in mid-September, for instance, the Union of Concerned Scientists alerted us (in eight single-spaced pages) to the "critical period in arms control...
...Even so, we missed some of our most faithful correspondents: the American Jewish Committee, for example, or Kurt Vonnegut writing on behalf of the ACLU ("help me fight these book-burners"-one photo of a book burning enclosed...
...In fact the Republicans lost only 26, less than half that figure...
...This would be particularly true if the Democrats have a Southerner on the ticket in either first or second place...
...Origins (NC News Documentary Service...
...From the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program comes Refugees and Human Rights Newsletter, this issue focusing on Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S...
...All reports indicate that the president's personal popularity stays high...
...Meals for Millions/Freedom from Hunger Foundation sends an annual report...
...Handgun Control, Inc...
...Not just the survival of America but "the survival of your family and our Judeo-Christian ethic of morality" is of concern to David A. Williams of the American Family Association...
...Reagan will be able to run against Yuri Andropov on a hard anti-Soviet line...
...Some of the Harris findings: In 33 states that will elect U.S...
...the Democrats spread more than $6 million to 32 incumbents who ended their campaigns with more than $100,000 each in the bank...
...The Center for Defense Information attacks cruise missiles in its newsletter and is also pushing its new film with Paul Newman...
...If borne out in the voting booth, the result could endanger President Reagan's reelection chances, despite his own popularity, as well as Republican control of the Senate...
...Reagan from winning strongly last time...
...If reading this catalogue has been exhausting, reading the actual mail is even more so...
...The polls indicate a 45 percent preference for the Democrats and only a 24 percent preference for the Republicans...
...We missed, too, many of our regular newsletters: F.A.S...
...Frustration-at the duplication of efforts and organizational conceits...
...senators next year, Democrats hold a popular vote lead of 51 to 39 percent...
...However, that disparity did not keep Mr...
...But you get the idea of a full-day's harvest...
...The Lutheran Church of America (LCA) announces a feasibility study of a major joint fund appeal with the American Church (ALC) and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC...
...We wonder if they'll be hearing from Maj...
...John Anderson may run and thus take votes away from the Democrats...
...The conclusion: by acting as a disciplined party, the Republicans were able to minimize potential gains that the Democrats had hoped to achieve through reliance on the superior skills of their individual candidates...
...The Democrats gained one Southern governor's mansion in 1981 and two more last year...
...Hard-core liberals," warns Mr...
...A press release from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith welcomes the Nicaraguan government's intention to return that nation's only synagogue to its congregation...
...Beyond that are press releases, the newsletters, the printed messages beginning "Dear Friend," "Dear Reader," and "Dear Concerned American...
...Catholic Trends takes note of developments ranging from "parent education" programs to the establishment of an "Anglican-identity personal parish" for twenty Episcopalian families converting to Roman Catholicism...
...an innocent little girl is reduced to a bloody mass.'' Not yellow rain but acid rain is one of the topics in a letter (four pages, single-spaced, very long paragraphs) from Friends of the Earth...
...But this is not the whole story by any means...
...Pax Christi, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Ground Zero, The Riverside Church Disarmament Project-none of them was represented in that day's mailbag...
...Not because of the time involved-we confess, there's a lot of skimming...
...This trend could very well raise the Democratic majority in the House to well over 150 seats...
...John Singlaub (Ret) who urges us (five pages single-spaced but with very short paragraphs) to sign a "national petition of support for President Reagan's MX Missile program'' and send money to the Council for Inter-American Security lest "Ted Kennedy and Tip O'Neil [sic] bring President Reagan and America to it's [sic] knees...
...But as the political scientists pointed out, most independents admit they "lean'' to one party or another and usually vote that way...
...Irritation-at the exaggerations and half-truths that pockmark the political promotions...
...The way it looks now, the 1984 race s likely to be close...
...Dignity, the organization serving gay and lesbian Catholics, heralds its September convention...
...This might give the better organized and better financed Republicans a leg up...
...We haven't listed the business deals we were offered, the invitations (alas, not expenses paid) to conferences in Bermuda and Bible tours in the Middle East...
...Committee in Solidarity With the People of El Salvador needs $20,000 in the next two weeks...
...Two much discussed papers at the convention challenged the idea that voters are shedding their party ties and responding instead to their pocketbooks...
...The War Resisters League News reports on the European anti-nuclear movement as well as Central America-"at the turning point...
...Republicans hold seats in 19 of these 33 states...
...Nor Jerry Fallwell fighting the freeze or homosexuality (short paragraphs and heavy underlining in color...
...Democrats hold a 53-to-37 percent margin in House races...
...So what does all this add up to...
...The U.S...
...As for the reported growth in influence by political independents, considerable skepticism was expressed by some political scientists...
...The '"yellow rain' holocaust" is the subject of a letter from the American Council for Free Asia: it describes a Soviet helicopter spraying a sticky substance on a little girl-"Every blood vessel in her body bursts...
...Inflation is way down, even if unemployment is not, and Mr...
...In commenting on his survey, pollster Harris said: "Certainly, the hopes of the Republican party that the Reagan 1980 election was a forerunner of a major change in the electorate for conservative Republicans akin to the New Deal revolution of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 have now been shattered.'' Maybe so, but we are making no predictions...
...Matchbox (Amnesty International...
...Indochina Issues (Indochina Project, Center for International Policy...
...From Nestle we receive the Fourth Quarterly Report-120 pages worth!-of the Nestle Infant Formula Audit Commission chaired by Edmund S. Muskie...
...this time indications are that GOP standing has fallen sharply in the South...
...Arms Control Today (Arms Control Association...
...This means that the "pure independents" amount to only 9 percent of the electorate, as compared with 35 percent who call themselves independent...
...Thus in a recent Washington Post-ABC survey, 35 percent of self-professed independents said they leaned to the Republicans, 39 percent to the Democrats, and 25 percent said they had no lean at all...
...Admiration-at the irrepressible American energy for forming a group to deal with a problem...
...Environmental Action takes only three pages, single-spaced, medium paragraphs, to urge that we "Stop the Subsidies" to nuclear power...
...on the other hand...
...The bulletin of the Lithuanian National Foundation chronicles Lithuanian and Baltic resistance to Russian Communist rule...
...In 1982, for example, the Republicans lost many fewer House seats than mathematical models, based on the president's lower popularity rating and the condition of the economy, predicted...
...the trend seems to be running in the direction of a return to a solid Democratic South...
...Compared to the political world, the religious front was relatively calm...
...Central America is also the subject of "An Urgent Message From Ramsey Clark" (The Disarm Education Fund...
...And that's only half of it...
...Reagan's slump in popularity at that time to 42 percent approval, one such widely cited model predicted that the GOP would lose 58 House seats...
...The administration cannot point to any foreign policy triumphs, but Mr...
...Lifeletter (Ad Hoc Committee in Defense of Life...
...Nor anything from Zero Population Growth, the NAACP Special Contribution Fund, or the Cato Institute, or the Catholic Press Association, or Bread for the World...
...If the Democrats retain their present advantage, it is "virtually certain" that the GOP would lose control of the Senate...
...Despite Mr...
...At the last minute the Republicans funneled $2.5 million in late contributions to particularly embattled incumbents...
...Psyching out the future is never simple...
...So does Project Hope News, from the People-to-People Health Foundation...
...Paralysis-at the sight of so many competing demands for attention, dedication, resources...
...Latinamerica press (Noticias Aliadas...
...The top layer of this material, like the frosting on a cake, consists of letters to the editors, requests for permission to reprint articles, replies from writers, and handwritten notes without margins linking, say, Sister Mansour to the Zionist conspiracy...
...Above all, Mr...
...Even at this early date," Harris said, "it would seem that the GOP will be lucky if it can avoid a disaster in 1984...
...he might well repeat last time's winning performance...
...Reagan's popularity is the GOP's not-so-secret weapon, and he is a great campaigner...
...Over the last two decades, self-identified independents have in most polls grown to the point that they surpass the Republicans and come close to matching the number of Democrats...
...Horror-at the afflictions, to which these letters are so often responses...
...American Family (National Center for Family Studies...
...Washington Report on the Hemisphere (Council on Hemispheric Affairs...
...wants us to stop the "pistol lobby...
...Curiously, People for the American Way reports that the number-one worry of its members is "attempts by the 'pro-family' movement to pass laws mandating one acceptable lifestyle...
...Conscience (Catholics for a Free Choice...
...No, what makes paging through this pile of material so overwhelming is the yank and shove of the conflicting emotions that are stirred...
...Amnesty International invites us to a reception and exhibit (with Elie Wiesel and Mayor Koch) of photographs recording the Cambodian holocaust...
...Nor is that all...
...On the other hand, the Republicans cracked the solid South last time...
...something of Whitman's barbaric yawp and all-inclusive sympathy...
...One finding, from the annual convention of the American Political Science Association: the American public is less "independent" and less automatically swayed by economic conditions than is generally thought...
...Saudi Report (self-explanatory...
...There were none of the endless fundraising letters signed by SenatorsKennedy, Mondale, Helms, and Denton-that seem to threaten us to empty our wallets or be bored to death...
...Health Horizons (Franciscan Sisters of the Poor/ Health Care Movement...
...Given the economic recession and Mr...
...Wonder-at the sheer variety of concerns...
...Obviously the so-called independent vote is a lot less important than is generally thought, and parties more important...
...New Jersey SANE needs $30,000 to replace its run-down equipment with a new micro-computer...
...IN THE MAIL Each day at Commonweal a manila folder thick with paper circulates from editor's desk to editor's desk...
...The American Friends Service Committee is sending 30,000 pounds of clothing to refugees from the drought in Ethiopia...
...Day by day, these constitute a kind of census of all the organized worry, anger, compassion, ambition, idealism, religious feeling, civic spirit, and sheer nuttiness that occupies the Republic...
...A survey by pollster Louis Harris indicates that what were called the first signs of a "massive Democratic party sweep in 1984" are taking shape "just below the surface in American politics...
...Part of the reason: in that election the GOP demonstrated superior organizational ability in the way the party handled its money...
...Polls, especially those taken a year in advance, are always tentative...
...Focusing on other parts of the world: A folder from the American Near East Refugees Aid outlines its work for the Palestinians...
...Harris's figures, the Republicans easily surpass the Democrats in organization techniques, and they have effectively mastered the new computer wizardry...
...Public Interest Report (Federation of American Scientists...
...Reagan and the Republicans will be able to claim the credit, huge deficit or no...
...The population shift to the more conservative states of the Sun Belt helps the GOP...
...As surely as night follows day, Republican orators will have a field day labeling the Democrats as irresponsible big-spenders who would bring raging inflation back...
...There is something of Hopkins's pied beauty in this wild array of announcements and appeals...
...The National Committee for the Year of the Bible reports "Bible Activities Touching Millions Across America...
...Williams (four single-spaced pages but paragraphs as short as Maj...
...Singlaub's), are about to pass a "Gay Bill of Rights" -"in short, the gay community, with all its money and all its liberal influence, wants to change your lifestyle...

Vol. 110 • November 1983 • No. 19


 
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