The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 9, 1991 · Page 8
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October 9, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 8

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Wednesday, October 9, 1991
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A-8Comment THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRLR Wednesday, October 9, 1991 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER mciHwwynAfim - WILLIAM J. KEATING Chairman and Publisher GEORGE R. BLAKE Editor, Vice President THOMAS E. DUNNING Managing Editor THOMAS S. GEPHARDT Associate Editor DARRYL W. EVERETT Vice President, Advertising WILLIAM R. JOHNSTON Vice President, Circulation MARK S. MIKOIAJCZYK Vice President, Production JAMES A. SCHWARTZ Vice President, Finance GERALD T. SILVERS Vice President, Marketing Services ttllMY.ft. A Gannett Newspaper in 11; In Democrats Iowa's Clinton adds measure of excitement to '92 campaign known programs. Overall, Governor Clinton's is a campaign theme for the "forgotten middle class." He says he would expect welfare recipients to seek work. With many lower-wage but respect - Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's long-heralded leap into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination gives voters a candidate unashamedly centrist. But whether his approach can get him past the early caucuses and primaries remains to be seen. He may have to exhibit some of former . President Jimmy Carter's 1976 magic to do it. Iowa Democrats, for example, normally lean left of center, and Sen. Tom Har-kin, one of their own, may have them locked up already in his bid for the White House. Traditionally, Demo- I A Gov. Limiting choice for Xs- iS " k Clinton t f There is little genuine relativity between one's time of service and the caliber of that service. J J cratic liberals are more activist and likelier to participate in caucuses and primaries. Nevertheless, Governor Clinton, 45, sounded less-activist themes more traditional to Southern Democrats when he entered the ring the other day. "A Clinton administration won't spend your money on programs that don't solve problems and a government that doesn't work," he said. Sounds as though he borrowed a page from the political text of former President Ronald Reagan or President Bush, one scarcely calculated to win Democratic primary votes. Or is it? Many Democrats, however labeled, may have awakened to the vast amount of waste in domestic programs with high-sounding aims but poor performance. Much of the Johnson administration's costly war on poverty was mainly a waste. That could be said for many other, lesser- Zaire Mobuto's dictatorship strangles the country's natural potential able jobs having gone begging, even in a recession, he should drum home that theme and invite other candidates to do the same. But if Governor Clinton, a former Rhodes scholar, lets those on the dole know he wants them in jobs, whenever possible, he also says that "rich people should pay their fair share of taxes," assuming they aren't now. What any taxpayer's "fair share" should be, however, often depends on one's perspective and philosophy of what it takes to generate wealth. President Bush, for example, makes a convincing case for reducing the capital-gains tax to generate new investment, create jobs and energize the economy. Whatever his future, Governor Clinton brings a new and somewhat balancing element to the hustings. It will be interesting to see how he lines up against other contenders, including former Sen. Paul Tsongas, the first to announce, Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey. The candidate roster may yet include the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. What for so long looked like a dull prenational convention season now appears anything but. copper. The International Monetary Fund, moreover, has suspended aid to Zaire. General Mobutu would have best served his country by permitting long ago the multiparty democracy he ostensibly approved for Zaire last year. Instead, he apparently applied a tourniquet to the democratic process after legalizing several opposition parties. Once power begins slipping away, dictators often act to halt the slippage. That's why the democratic revolution in Eastern Europe has so unusual as a triumph of people power. A former Belgian colony with 38 million inhabitants today, Zaire has the natural and human resources that, properly managed, might well lift it out of its economic quagmire. But that will require new leadership with new motives. No country, perhaps, deserves it more. arriving. City Safety Director David Rager's investigation should insure that all dispatchers understand it doesn't mat ter what kind of phone callers use, though ordinary phones normally flash on a computer screen the precise address of the emergency. The investigation should determine, as well, not only the cause but also the remedy for any delay in help for Mr. Klare. Ordinarily, 911 works wonderfully, saving lives and property, even sometimes aborting crimes in progress. But no system is perfect. The challenge, however, is to make 911 as nearly so as possible. the voters another by the flashiest candidate and commercial. That's the power of incumbency possessed by any contemporary politician running for re-election: Having the edge on the other guy by taking complete advantage of the gullibility and amnesia of the American public, through money used for television. I'm perfectly capable of deciding for myself who should represent me at this moment and for as many years in the future that I'm of sound mind and able to punch a hole in my voting card. If I want someone to remain in office for 40 years, whether president of the United States or council member of Cincinnati, then I have the right to vote for that person again and again. At the same time, I also have the right to help remove someone and vote in some new blood, at every primary and general election. Limiting the future I choose not to leave for posterity a limit on the number of times one may vote for a given candidate, as in the Truman-era 22nd Amendment (which limits a person to two consecutive presidential terms). What made America believe, in 1951, that I would be unable to think for myself today? What makes someone believe in 1991, that not only should my vote be restricted yet again, but so too those of my grandchildren 40 years in the future? I am confident that some day we, the people of this great country, will realize the solution to our political problems is found within our dusty vote. Voting intelligently on genuine issues will cure most of our electoral problems. Continuing to vote for the one with the nicest suit, whitest smile, and best commercial, or not voting at all, will surely leave us with so horrible a cancer within our republic, no chemotherapy could ever cure it. Douglas Pennington is in his third year at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in political sciencepre-law. He is also a member of UC's student senate. sessions there, Ken i Follett was at the store, signing his new book. He did something quite unpleasant, and in a way remarkable, because it must have taken him much more time to act out his unpleasantness than it would have to fulfill the request. Mr. Follett refused to sign any paperback copies of any of his books. The implied message is quite plain: "I am not going to trouble to sign a book which yields me a royalty of only $1, instead of $3." My point is that in order to refuse the proffered paperback, you have to do or say something. The shortest, I suppose, is: "No paperbacks!" The purchaser looks up in shame, in sorrow, in exasperation, or any combination of the above, and the Ken Follett in the situation needs to adjust his facial features in an appropriate way to register determination, fatalism, perplexity whatever. One's image suffers greatly Moreover, the purchaser scorned, and all those within hearing or viewing distance of the exchange, will harbor a portrait of the hoity-toity author not a bit complimentary to the image he is probably there to affirm. The day after the incident in question, the newspaper revealed that a publishing firm is paying an advance of more than $12 million to Mr. Follett for his next two books. That should give any author the time to spare to sign the occasional paperback, and if you have that much in the bank, should you really care that you are getting only a buck? William F. Buckley Jr. is an author, commentator and nationally syndicated columnist. BY DOUGLAS PENNINGTON Guest Columnist I guess we're not supposed to trust ourselves anymore. Why? Because most of the American public wouldn't know how to make a decision to save its life. Case in point: the proposals to limit the number of times one may be elected to public office. We would like to forget the ideal of American self-determination and make our electoral judgments in advance, since we can't find the courage or intelligence to throw the garbage out every November. Almost half of us don't make any decision at all because letting someone else vote for us is the easiest stand we can ever take. Faulty reasons Proponents of the limitation line will tell us theirs is the best way of ensuring fresh, new voices in the White House, on Capitol Hill, in the Statehouse, or in City Hall. Plainly, that's stupid and shortsighted. That sort of double talk assumes that without new and fresh voices, we have only old, stale ones. Sometimes that's true. Sometimes it is not. It is we, the electorate, who must make that decision for ourselves about whomever we wish to represent us. There is little genuine relativity between one's time of service and the caliber of that service. If someone doesn't represent the public, it doesn't matter how long that person has held office. It is up to us, and only us, every necessary time, to decide whether to give someone else a chance at quality representation. There are many men and women elected to serve a given constituency who do a fine job. There are just about as many, if not more, who do a rotten job. To root out the rotten ones, why should we institute what amounts to a political chemotherapy the destruction of the robust (if not vital) parts of our democratic system as we at once eliminate its cancer? Why, indeed, when we have the practiced ability to surgically remove that cancer while we concurrently enhance Authors' A common experience of book writers is the request to go to a bookstore to autograph their books. Even people like Bill Cosby whose books sold what, 10 million copies? do it. What the author asks himself, when invited to such rituals, is several questions unmistakably commercial in character. I speak here for the non-narcissistic members of my profession, acknowledging that there are people who will go to any function that makes them the center of attention, even if it is only one corner of one floor at Macy's. Quick calculations Let us say we are dealing with a $20 book. An established author is paid 15 of the retail price, so quickly you calculate: If you sell 100 books, you will have earned $300. Not bad for one hour's work. (Mostly the engagements are publicized as one hour in duration.) On the other hand, when you take into account the huff and puff of getting there and getting back, and remind yourself that it isn't like getting $300 for sitting at your desk and writing an op-ed piece ventilating one part of your grand vision for the world, it's a public appearance of a quite demanding kind. Because it isn't as though you had a fixed audience out there of 300 or 1,000 to whom you recite your breviary. Each person who comes around is somehow different, and requires, somehow, a different response. The easiest are, of course, the reserved, shy men and women. There is always an official standing by who puts the book in front of you, bared for your signature. If there are no accompanying instructions, you merely sign the book and smile at the purchaser, who picks it up and darts away, making room for the successor. At the other end of the scale is the purchaser who has written out a message the health of our American body politic? When we as a nation, state, or municipality vote consistently to determine our representation, then there will no longer be the cry to limit terms of office for our elected officials. If we see that they aren't doing a good job, we will exercise our choice to replace them during the next election, or when available, via initiative and recall. Then we will no longer see the 96 congressional re-election ratios and those similarly evident over the last decade. This leads us to the next (and final) arguments proponents of term limitation use: The "power of incumbency" and the war treasuries incumbents acquire while in office, which combine to apparently make it impossible for any newcomers to be elected. The only reason it costs so much to run a successful campaign is the same as it would be for anything because there is sufficient demand for a certain good, of which there is short supply. That good, obviously, is television air time. Why is television time so highly valued? Because the American public is gullible and believes as fact what it hears broadcast over the evening news or on the average election commercial. All elective politicians, good and bad, know and utilize this information to the best of their respective abilities to win their offices. The only power any politician possesses is that which is surrendered to him or her by the public. That holds true before, during and after the election. We voters aren't held at gunpoint to vote for any one candidate. We're simply (very simply) persuaded to vote one way or autograph William F. Buckley Jr. heshe wishes you to inscribe in the book. I had one such in Dallas early in the week that sticks to the memory. Written on the note placed alongside the title page of the book was, "Please inscribe to 'Dear Louise,' and write, 'I know that you will be a great success in college because you're most like your mother and grandmother.' " You do not permit yourself to groan out loud, and when such crises happen (remember, there are 100 people in line waiting for their turn), you need an attendant who smilingly says to the friend and patron of Louise: "Sorry, that's too long. There is a big line out there," then turns to the author, having assumed responsibility for the truncated inscription, permitting him to write simply, "To Louise, good luck in college." Some authors simply decline to write any inscription of any kind. This is a regal habit. One never receives a picture of a monarch signed, "To my good friend Bill, Constantine Rex." It is not surprising, under the circumstances, that my friend John Kenneth Galbraith exercises a similar aloofness. He will write "J.K. Galbraith," period. On the other hand, his script is like John Hancock's, absolutely huge, so that in terms of linear exertion, the purchaser is getting as much Galbraith as he would be getting from such as me if I had written in my little scribble, "For Alice Wonderland, Cordially, Wm. F. Buckley Jr." I learned that the day before I was I J Soldiers rioting in Zaire because they hadn't been paid for months reverses the traditional role of troops to put down riots. But the violence, bringing French and Belgian troops to protect their nationals, dramatized Zaire's deterioration under President (and General) Mobuto Sese Seko, its dictator for 26 years. With its 1990 inflation rate of 1,000 believed even higher now, Zaire has long been mismanaged by a regime that nevertheless has kept close ties with the West. But it is difficult to see how the Mobutu regime, accused of massive human-rights abuses and corruption, can endure much longer. When paid, Zairean soldiers receive the equivalent of only $3 monthly. That alone suggests the economic plight of a country suffering not only from economic mismanagement but also the drop in world prices for its Emergencies The challenge is to make 9 1 1 as close to perfect as possible Mistakes are inevitable in any computerized 911 system, but those in charge should see that the same ones don't happen again. Just why a Cincinnati dispatcher told a man the other day city operators couldn't handle his call because he was using a cellular phone is unknown. The man for whom the caller, Charles Collins, wanted help, Charles Klare, 77, of Deer Park, later died in Good Samaritan Hospital of cardiac arrest. Mr. Klare had had a heart attack and was on a roadside near Interstates 74 and 75 when Mr. Collins made his call. Other passersby had called 911 earlier, but people at the scene said later that aid was slow

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