The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 22, 1991 · Page 9
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October 22, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 9

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Tuesday, October 22, 1991
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A-10Comment THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Tuesday, October 22. 1991 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER 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. MIKOLAJCZYK Vice President, Production JAMES A. SCHWARTZ Vice President, Finance GERALD T. SILVERS Vice President, Marketing Services A Gannett Newspaper 1! Soviet economy West must press for changes before extending any help Politics of confrontation works Patrick J. Ly Buchanan clearly suffer until and unless the new economic agreement signed by 10 of them, excluding the Baltics, can be made to work and work well. Western pressure should be kept on Moscow for faster transition of its arms industries to consumer goods. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev says the transition is under way, and has even invited U.S. help with it. But arms production, at which the Soviets have excelled, may be hard for many old-guard Communists, rooted deeply into the military-industrial complex, to give up. They may resist to the bitter end, with authority diffuse and unclear in Moscow and in many of the republics. Some Westerners want to send financial aid to Moscow an option G-7 members laudably resisted. When asked about whether such aid should be sent, a Soviet emigre, now living in Cincinnati, replied, "No. It would only make them more dependent. They should receive advice on how to improve their economy, but we shouldn't be sending them funds." G-7 members are offering technical and humanitarian aid, but nothing more. Whether the Soviets can resuscitate their economy is primarily up to them, which is altogether proper under the circumstances. Until they take stronger action against Cuba, convert most arms production to civilian goods and get their grain to market, the West should deny any financial aid to Moscow. The Soviet economy is all but on its deathbed. Barring miracles, it will shrink by 13 this year, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin predicts it will fall another 20 in 1992. Soviet foreign debt, meanwhile, is an estimated $70 billion, with no relief in sight. Inflation is rampant, with retail prices up 96 and personal income, unable to keep pace, up 64 the past year. While U.S. officials at the Group of Seven industrial nations' meeting in Bangkok wanted to stretch out that debt, the group wisely refused to go along. That may be at least partly because other G-7 members, including Germany, bear more of that Soviet debt. Despite their own tailspin, however, the Soviets have yet to cut their economic lifeline to Cuba, although that's expected when Moscow's current trade agreement with Havana runs out soon. Nor have the Soviets sent soldiers in sufficient numbers into the fields to insure that grain is not only harvested but moved to markets. There are problems, to be sure. With its fresh muscle of declared independence, for example, the Soviets' historic breadbasket, the Ukraine, is holding off food shipments to other republics to insure enough for its own people. Reports of food hoarding, with winter bearing down, are also rife. Previously, Moscow decided where all grain went. The republics will be avoided. It is something to be sought. Only through healthy conflict can the contradictions inside the Democratic Party be heightened, and our institutions from the White House to the Supreme Court, from Congress to the Academy, from the media to the bureaucracy be retaken. In the '60s, the Left began a long march through the institutions; it will take decades to root them out. Republicans now hold the second and third branches of the U.S. government; time to plot the recapture of the first. Mr. Bush should harness the growing contempt of the people for those who run Capitol Hill by running a "Clean House!" campaign in '92, and leading a national Republican drive for congressional term limits. Among the signs of a rising political or social movement civil rights in the '60s, conservatism in the '70s is that it seeks out confrontation; and among the marks of a failed establishment is that it seeks to appease its challengers, to buy them off. Sign of weakness As the bleating of the lamb excites the tiger, the Senate's cry for a truce in the court nomination battles should be taken as a sign of weakness, a signal for renewed confidence and determination. America wants a constitutionalist court. Mr. Bush should seek out as nominees conservatives willing to fight for their convictions, and go down to defeat for them. A series of such battles will tear the Democratic Party apart, forcing Southerners to choose between party loyalty and political survival, and exposing Metzenbaum, Biden and Kennedy as hopelessly outside the mainstream. If the GOP i9 willing to take a few casualties, victory on this front is assured. The objective secured, we can then move on. "Democrats are Hypocrites!" read the placards carried by the dozen women outside the Washington Hilton, where the party of the people had gathered to raise funds for Senate candidates. "These guys ought to be strung up," bawled Sen. Tim Wirth of Colorado of his 11 Democratic colleagues who voted to confirm Clarence excuse me, Mr. Justice Thomas. "I think (Sen. Chuck Robb's) dug his grave," said Pamela Harriman, heiress to old Ave's billion and Big Momma to the party. Not all bad Tawdry as it was, a confirmation process that issues in victory for conservatives and such chaos inside the establishment cannot be all bad. As the harridans of feminism unsheath the castrator's knife on their last unemasculated bulls, Republicans should revisit the Thomas battleground and review how they won, and how they almost lost it all. First, the White House strategy of having Clarence Thomas go Uncle-Tom-ming to Senate Judiciary was a failure and a disgrace. Having begun with 80 to 85 votes, Thomas, thanks to his handlers, lost nearly 25 even before Professor Hill's squalid charges exploded. Moreover, Thomas had frittered away the enthusiasm of many who knew him to be a better and braver man. As of the Friday afternoon of Anita Hill's testimony, Thomas was cooked and so was his reputation. He retrieved both by going back into that committee room Friday night, reputation and career at stake, and finally coming out of his corner like "Smokin' Joe" Frazier. Thomas' blazing defense brought the nation out of its chairs and put the steel back into the spine of his defenders. Suddenly, the GOP was on the attack, with Orrin Hatch and Alan Simpson ripping to shreds the testimony of Professor Hill, and Arlen Specter, mirabile dictu virtually inviting Teddy Kennedy to step outside, while Senate Democrats were frozen by Thomas' charge he was the victim of their "high-tech lynching." "Who lynched whom?" wailed Brent Staples of the New York Times. "Judge Menorah Mayor is right in wanting the city to drop opposition Cincinnati Mayor David Mann is right that the city should abandon its annual fight to prevent the display in December of a menorah next to its Christmas tree on Fountain Square. The menorah commemorates the eight days of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival lights, but the city has contended it is too big and may be a fire hazard. The city has also said it violates separation of church and state and might encourage other religious groups to want symbols on the square. Rabbi Sholom B. Kalmanson and his Congregation Lubavitch say the menorah is symbolic speech and that to deny it a place on the square violates their rights. A 10-foot electric menorah went up there last December, next to the city's lighted 35-foot Christmas tree, under a preliminary federal court injunction. Mayor Mann says now he Thomas' appeal to the brutal imagery was at once his shrewdest and most deplorable tactic." But what is deplorable about a man fighting for life and reputation telling the truth? What is deplorable about laying on liberals the label that they have stuck on conservatives since Barry Goldwater? If it is fine to smear Men of the Right as racists for opposing quotas why is it wrong to use that term on men killing a black nominee because he refuses to do the establishment shuffle? For decades, the Democrats have postured as the indispensable champions of black rights. But here was a black man who not only said, "I make it on my own," but who was right up in their faces charging them with being bigots who could not deal with a Negro of independent mind, other than to drag him out and lynch him. Liberal paralysis was total; Biden & Co. were stricken men. Where appeasement almost lost it all for Clarence Thomas, the politics of confrontation carried the day. That is the message. Confirmation comes from reports that senators are now urging that the process be "reformed," that, henceforth, if they are to "consent," they have a right to "advise" Mr. Bush before he chooses nominees. Translation: The losers are crying "Uncle," casting about desperately for a way out of the next bloody battle. Moderate Democrats have lost their stomach for the fight. They want Mr. Bush to make it easy on them, by picking moderates. But to do that would be a sellout by President Bush of what he promised the American people: a court restored to constitutionalism. A conflict that polarizes the nation along ideological lines is not something to V Charles 1 1 Krauthammer They just don't get it. The Hill-Thomas hearing was perhaps the most unme-diated political event of modern times. It was Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas speaking directly to every living room in the country. The citizenry did not follow this through 30-second sound bites and secondhand newspaper accounts. They watched the damn thing themselves. And they found for Thomas. Speaking personally, I have my doubts about both stories. I find it hard to believe Hill because sexual abusers tend to be abusive generally, not just to one person. They acquire a reputation. They leave a trail. They don't leave 17 female co-workers testifying to their absolute sexual probity. But I find it hard to believe Thomas that nothing ever passed between them. That requires believing that Hill not only invented the story but invented the motive, some totally imagined injury of long ago. During my three years as resident psychiatrist at a Boston hospital, I treated many psychotic and delusional patients. I may be rusty, but Anita Hill showed me no signs of delusion. My theory (actually my wife's theory which I hereby plagiarize) is that the truth lies not between their two versions, but outside them. My guess is that something did indeed happen between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, something neither will admit to, something quite The people acquitted wants the city to allow not only the menorah, a nine-branch candleholder, but also the symbols other religious groups may wish to put up. Clearly the city has more important matters on which to spend its time and resources than trying to keep the menorah off Fountain Square. The menorah, moreover, may well serve another purpose by forging closer ties between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. By asking questions about the symbol, more people will understand Han-nukah's role in celebrating a battle for religious freedom Jews won in 165 B.C. Specifically, it commemorates rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus that year. It may be a reminder, as well, of those towering Old Testament figures so important to Christians as well as Jews. has grown monstrously. Never was a brake on federal spending more urgent. Every level of government could be thriftier, but that applies with special emphasis to the biggest and mightiest. federal revenues now consume 21 of gross national product (GNP). Add federal deficits and the propor tion moves to more than 25, largest since World War II. The revenue take by all government levels combined comes to 43 of all personal income, says the National Taxpayers Union. Add debts and deficits and the take is nearer 50. But the federal drain is bigger than all the rest together. It is a big reason many municipalities, such as Chelsea, and many school districts across the nation are in need. It is why Congress needs more new members committed to thrift and getting the nation's fiscal house in order. Taxes Congressional bites push cities and states to the wall Patrick J. Buchanan is a Washington-based, nationally syndicated columnist. Thomas licit, perhaps they were, after all, single adults that ended very badly. Under this theory, Hill has a real motive for agreeing to collaborate in denying Thomas the crowning achievement of his professional career. Then what began as a quiet, selectively told, face-saving story that after following Thomas to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission she left him for reasons of sexual harassment developed, with the prodding of zealous political operatives, into a progressively taller tale and a national scandal. This theory, the stuff of 19th century novels, helps me through much of the evidence. However, unlike the feminists now beside themselves with rage that their theory is not accepted, I do not pretend that mine is the truth. Truth beyond reach But evidentiary truth is beyond reaching now. We will have to settle for a less perfect truth. If Anita Hill had come forward earlier, she could have had a real trial. Having waited 10 years, she has to settle for this. The Hill-Thomas hearing was not, as Judiciary Committee Chairman Biden pretended, a fact-finding inquiry. It was a trial. And the jury has spoken. It is the only jury that counts and not in a cynical way that implies this was only politics. Unlike senators, ordinary citizens, asked by pollsters whom they believe, had no partisan reason to dissimulate. They said what they thought and voted to acquit. Case dismissed. Charles Krauthammer is a Washington-based, nationally syndicated WASHINGTON: In a few weeks Ted Kennedy's nephew will go on trial in Florida for rape. After the evidence is in and the jury begins deliberation, there will remain, I suspect, some doubt as to whether William Kennedy Smith or his accuser told the truth. Despite the ambiguity, however, the jury will decide. Then something interesting will happen. By convention, the jury's verdict will be considered the truth. If the jury says "guilty," Smith will be declared a rapist. If it says not guilty, we will say that the charges were "thrown out." This is a convention with great legal force. If the jury acquits, and I, unsatisfied, recklessly persist in calling him "rapist," I will be guilty of libel. A civilized society needs such conventions to resolve the unresolvable. Even though we know that the ultimate truth can never be known, we ask 12 ordinary citizens for their opinion and make that our truth. Largest trial Last week the United States held the largest jury trial in American history. Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment, witnesses for and against testified on national television, and, at the end of the day, a jury of his peers, the 150 million Americans who watched the proceedings, gave the verdict: for women as for men, the jury believed him and not her, by a ratio of 2 to 1. This does not sit well with the professional feminists and civil-rights leaders who believe her and who pretend to speak for women and blacks. On the tube, on the radio, and in front-page editorials in the New York Times, they blame the jury's unwelcome verdict on the wimpery of the Democrats and the Willie Horton tactics of the Republicans. The bankruptcy of Chelsea, Mass., a city of only 28,000 population, may seem a mere blip on the nation's governmental radar screen. But the message it sends is only slightly more ominous than that from many localities. Much of that message is the urgency for a big shift of revenue from federal to state and local levels. But that can't be done without a massive shift in congressional philosophy. A federal government which absorbed only 5.3 of total U.S. personal income in 1927 takes around 25 today. A survey by the National League of Cities last May showed a fourth of the nation's 2,400 municipalities with at least 10,000 population with serious fiscal problems. Budget strains are there in large part because the federal tax take, despite massive federal debt, T i I, V

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