The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on October 14, 1985 · Page 7
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 7

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Monday, October 14, 1985
Page 7
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Mon.,Ocl. 14, 1985 THE DES MOINES REGISTER 7A Oil RPIT0L HILL For Iowa Republicans it's been just one misery after another y" RUSSELC BMEIL rj ... A commentary Bv DAVID YEPSEN THINGS HAVE been pretty tough for Iowa Republicans in recent days. Gov. Terry Branstad had to declare an economic emergency, the party's fourth chairman in five years resigned because of the lousy farm economy, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Robert Lounsberry slurred the Japanese Iowa's largest farm customers and then managed to fumble his explanation. And if that weren't enough, the party's executive director said Republicans should "distance" themselves from the Reagan administration right after it was announced that Vice President George Bush is coming to Iowa next month. It's enough to make you wonder why Branstad, the Great Proclaimer, hasn't cranked out a proclamation naming this "Be Kind to Republicans Week." Lounsberry refered to the Japanese as "slant-eyes" and "little devils." He first denied saying it, then explained that he was correcting someone else, only to have a tape reveal that he'd used both terms and didn't appear to be correcting anyone. Lounsberry, 67, had talked about retiring, but now he has circled his wagons and said he is getting so mad at people's beating up on him over the remark that he might just run again. The Democrats loved it. The political graveyards are littered with politicians who ran to "clear their name." Lounsberry and all Republican officeholders are vulnerable in 1986 to the charge that they've not done enough to help the farmers. Lounsberry has made a career of attending every pork producers' meeting he can find, so the charge might have been difficult to attach until he offended Iowa's largest customer. A guy who is still fighting World War II might feel better for having said that, but the fact remains that U.S. problems with the Japanese have as much to do with our deficit, our strong dollar, our shoddy goods and our lack of competitiveness as they do with anything the Japanese are doing. . Even if the Japanese are protectionist, the Democrats can ask whether name-calling is the way to persuade them to lower their barriers. "It sort of shows he's not up to the job," says Drake university agricul- David Yepsen is The Register's chief political writer. Says Soda earned medals I AM WRITING about the article in the Oct. 10 Register, "Soda Claim to War Medals False, Marines Say." As Mr. Sam Soda's campaign manager in his quest for a City Council seat , I was present during all of the 90-minute interrogation. You notice I didn't say interview. Reporter Frank Santiago was obviously looking for something that he could use to discredit the character of Sam Soda. He spent very little of his time talking about any of the issues of the City Council election. As Mr. Santiago's article states, Mr. Soda admitted that he has not been awarded the medals personally. What the article does not state is that Mr. Soda has in his possession a form entitled "Transmittal of andor Entitlement, to Awards," which clearly states that Mr. Soda is entitled to the awards in question. This transmittal was originated by the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo. Mr. Santiago was given a copy of this form to view, yet no mention of this was made in the article. In a telephone conversation, Mr. Val Likens, who is the department service officer with the American Legion, told me that there are many ex-military personnel who have not received their awards because they simply didn't care enough to apply for them. Keith A. Colwell, 1606 Evans, Des Moines. Strategists The reigning world chess champion, a Russian, is a fellow named Karpov. The chief Soviet delegate to the arms reduction talks in Geneva is also named Karpov. Somehow, this seems to make sense. Paul Walker, S-10 Currier, Iowa City. ture-law professor Neil Hamilton, one of those Democrats thinking about running against Lounsberry. "The secretary ought to be doing more than putting stickers on gas pumps and ribbons on calves." Second, the remark also enables Democrats to raise money to beat him. The job of agriculture secretary is pretty much a no-big-deal job that makes sure that gasoline pumps don't cheat you and that restaurants are clean. The officeholder gets to attend a lot of beef-producer banquets. The lack of real power means that candidates for the job have trouble getting anyone to contribute serious money toward a campaign. But by making a racist slur, Lounsberry gave the Democrats a bloody shirt to wave in front of the party's big donors, some of whom have been victims of racial discrimination. That same rationale could apply to a primary. Lounsberry's crack sent the great mentioners to work. Their lists include Deputy Secretary Thatcher Johnson of Madrid, Mark Pearson, the department's ag-marketing director and former WHO personality; Var-el Bailey of Anita, former corn-growers chief and Thurman Gaskill of Corwith, an Iowa Development Commissioner. Finally, the remark also strengthens the hand of those who say the farm-marketing functions of Lounsberry's department should be moved to the Development Commission. That was already being considered by the governor and the Legislature. Lounsberry is one of the all-time great turf protectors at the Capitol, but he gave up serious yardage to those who say Iowa's sales effort should be given to a department that is more sensitive to the customers. Vice President Bush is coming to Iowa to help Branstad celebrate his 39th birthday next month. It could be different from the "ain't this administration great" show that's usually offered by itinerant vice presidents. For openers, Bush is coming to Iowa at the same time the executive director of the Iowa Republican Party is telling GOP candidates the "writing is on the wall" and they'd better distance themselves from President Reagan and the national administration. John Parkes Cannon, the party's executive director, wrote that in a memo, and a couple of GOP leaders are now after his hide. He's in the same position as the deck officer on Was Lounsberry 's 'slant-eyes' remark a cheap shot or an understandable slip? IOWA AGRICULTURE Secretary Robert Lounsberry's reference to the Japanese as "slant eyes" and "little devils" is the kind of cheap-shot racism that he, at his age, should have outgrown. However, "war heroes" often never grow up. The Japanese are our allies and customers for our grain. Lounsberry's slur would also apply to the Chinese, who are also our allies and our grain customers. . . . A major reason the Japanese got ahead of us in business is that, 40 years ago, they stopped being interested in "war records." In Japan, one got ahead by making sense and producing results. ... Gerald Baker, 2119 College St., Cedar Falls. Each day that passes finds fewer citizens of this country alive who served in World War II and more and more who can't even remember Pearl Harbor, Corregidor, or the Bataan Death March. Neither have many of the latter group heard of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima or Okinawa. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Robert Lounsberry is 67 years old. He is one who has vivid memories of the Japanese during wartime. He served as a combat pilot in the Pacific. Few are old enough to remember that every third urinal in the men's rooms in most hotels, bars, restaurants and barracks throughout the United States from 1941 to 1945 had a picture of Hirohito in the target area. The other two were reserved for likenesses of Hitler and Mussolini. Neither can they remember the war movies, the newsreels, and yes, newspaper articles and cartoons, which depicted the Japanese in far more derogatory language than "slant eyes." It is wonderful that the passage of time permits people and nations to forgive past differences. It is sometimes difficult, however, to entirely forget. The Register has been unduly harsh and unfair to Mr. Lounsberry. He has been a faithful public servant and a patriotic veteran. Unfortunately, he was guilty of a Freudian slip, but it has been blown completely out of proportion simply to fill up space in your newspaper. R. John Swanson, 209 Coolbaugh St., Red Oak. mum i mil) HUMS win. the Titanic who was the first to yell, "Iceberg!" That guy probably wasn't too popular, either. So at the same time party strategists are urging the party to "distance" itself from the administration, Reagan's leading cheerleader plans to show up in Des Moines. More important than that, the event gives the Democrats an opportunity to haul out the white crosses symbolizing bankrupt farmers. "I imagine we'll be there to greet him," was the comment of the Rev. David Ostendorf of the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition. Instead of hundreds of Iowans greeting Bush, there could be hundreds of crosses, and it would make great network television. The timing is horrible. It'll be right after the farm-bill debate. Reagan may veto that bill, and even if he signs it, a lot of farmers don't think it will do much to ease the real problems facing One may sympathize with Lounsberry's experiences in World War II, but one cannot permit his personal sentiments to interfere with his job performance.... Lounsberry . . . says that for a good many years, we did have an (economic! advantage because our government was stabilizing the yen and the mark. Such an amazing economic pronouncement seems allied to one of Reagan's favorite economic myths that we brought about the economic miracles of Japan and West Germany. Both notions deserve only one response: If we are always so good at stabilizing the yen and the mark and bringing about economic miracles in other nations, why can't we stabilize the dollar and have an American economic miracle? Why not, for once, try that first? Siegfried H. Sutterlin, Arts and Sciences Division, Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa. WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS. By MICHAEL GARTNER Macon Leary is not a man to be trifled with. He is precise and efficient. (His clock radio is set to turn on the coffee-maker and start the popcorn popper every morning. He washes his clothes on the shower floor while he takes a shower.) He writes guidebooks for people who don't like to travel accidental tourists advising them where they can find Sweet 'n' Low in Tokyo. Chef Boyardee in Rome. It follows, of course, that he and his two brothers and his sister are sticklers on the use of English. And that's one reason -- one of many to buy Anne Tyler's wonderful new novel, "The Accidental Tourist," the book that describes the comings and goings of Macon Leary. An excerpt: "When he hung up, he found Rose embarked on a discussion of the English language. She pretended not to notice he had rejoined them. It was shocking, she was saying, how sloppy everyday speech had become. How the world seemed bound and determined to say 'the hoi polloi,' a clear redundancy in view of the fact that 'hoi' was an article. How 'chauvinist' had come to be a shorthand term for 'male chauvinist,' its original meaning sadly lost to corn-Michael Gartner writes a syndicated column. agriculture. What can Bush say? The rest of the nation's economy is booming? At first glance, Branstad's declaration of an economic emergency to allow mortgage moratoriums looks like a political plus for the governor, what with the Iowa Poll showing about two-thirds of Iowa's adults in favor of it. But there's also a political downside to it. For one thing, even Branstad admits that it's more symbol than substance. While symbols are an important part of political leadership, some people still will get a little irked when they discover that the declaration hasn't saved a single farmer. (For example, about one-third to one-half of the land sales in Iowa are private contracts between individuals, and the declaration won't affect most of them, because they have forfeiture, If Lounsberry, while he was taking off on a flight mission in World War II, had referred to the enemy as "slant eyes," would it have offended even the president of the United States? He probably still thinks of the death march and Pearl Harbor. Some of his critics were bad-mouthing the Japanese in the 1940s, one being The Register. F.J. Hastings, Milford. . . . Mr. Lounsberry ... has added insult to injury by saying he has nothing to apologize for. With the present state of our economy, how can we hope to further our trade exports with an ag secretary who . . . carries around a hateful, negative attitude toward one of our potentially best customers? , . . To set the record straight, Orientals have beautiful oval eyes which are a result of advanced evolution as a protection against cold and wind. The Oriental cultures were developing a word (wurd) n.f ME (extension of base 'wtr a word I. a) & speech communicate meaning " mur as opposed to foreclosure, provisions.) Furthermore, it's no moratorium at all. It just allows someone to go into court to ask for one. And bankers argue that the action will dry up credit'. They also say it sends the wrong signal to Wall Street investors, who'll quit buying Farm Credit bonds, driving up interest rates. So Branstad risks being blamed for creating a lack of credit or higher interest rates by giving in to the demands of the liberal farm groups who probably won't vote for him anyway. And Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who opposed a declaration, said it may even be counterproductive to farmers. If bankers know that they might have to wait a year before getting the land back, some lenders might start foreclosure proceedings early, just to get the year started. Bush's Iowa appearance will be high-risk. He'd like to come out here in 1988 and run for president in the precinct caucuses. Since he did so well in 1980, he's expected to do well again. At some point, he's going to have to explain why he'd be any better for rural Iowa than his boss has been. He'll be boxed in by unpopular policies he's got to defend or else look disloyal to the president. Remember how Walter Mondale defended the grain embargo in 1980 and then had to explain in 1984 that he was really against it? Or do you recall Hubert Humphrey's defending the Vietnam War only to have to back off in the campaign? Both were losers. If Bush proposes something tiew for farmers as a presidential candidate, he'll be vulnerable to the question of why he didn't do something during the eight years of his vice presidency. ', A top Bush supporter in Iowa says Bush is being forced to aome to Iowa by Jack Kemp's incessant campaigning in the state. "What would you write if he didn't show up?" the backer asked. There's one thing that could save Bush on his visit to Iowa: During his primary fight with Reagan in 1980, he called Reagan's economic proposals "voodoo economics." Today he could say: "I told you so." - As if all that isn't enough woe, the governor picked up another Rodney Dangerfield award. When he appeared on a national TV show to talk about the declaration, he had his name savaged. One host called him "Jerry" while the other called him "Governor Barnsted." higher form of math, gun powder and rocket propulsion, hot-air balloons and crop cultivation when Mr. Lounsberry's ancestors were living in mud huts and cleaning lice from one another's hair. Mr. Lounsberry should make a public apology for his remarks. If he does not, Terry Branstad should ask that he do so. If the secretary refuses, then Governor Branstad should ask for his resignation J. Frank Fox, 322 Ellis St., Ames. Why is everyone so upset over the comments made by Bob Lounsberry? What he said showed very little discretion, but remember: We re-elected a president who said that he had just ordered the destruction of Russia and then said it was only a joke! How many of these absurd statements must we accept from our leaders before we vote them out of office? John demons, Mescrvey. OE., akin to G. ivorl lE.'wir r-. to sneak, sav). whence L. verb; sound, or scries of them, scrvinj and consisting of at least one t mon knowledge. "It was incredible, Charles chimed in, that a female movie star traveled 'incognito' when any fool should know she was 'incognita' instead. Julian a guest appeared to share their indignation. It was more incredible still, he said, how everyone slung around the word 'incredible' when really there was very little on earth that truly defied credibility. 'Credence,' Macon corrected him, but Rose rushed in as if Macon hadn't spoken. 'Oh, I know just what you mean,' she told Julian. "Words are getting devalued, isn't that right.'" It's your kind of book, folks. And, for the record, chauvinism gets its name from Nicholas Chauvin, a soldier who was so patriotic and attached to Napoleon that his comrades ridiculed him. He was so loyal that any person who continued to praise Napoleon after his fall became known as a chauvin, a word that eventually came to describe any person affected with exaggerated patriotism, excessive enthusiasm or the like. Now, though, as Rose says, the word has been cheapened to describe men who take a superior attitude toward women. Another excerpt: "Julian said, 'What do you do for a living, Charles?' " 'I make bottle caps.' " Bottle caps! Is that a fact!' " 'Oh, well, it's no big thing,' Charles said. 'I mean it's not half as exciting as it sounds, really.' " S jfi ASABLANCA II" would ft have been great. Now, of l course, we know Holly-x wood should have cashed in big by producing "Casablanca II" in 1944. I tried to tell them, but they didn't know what I was talking about because in those days nobody in Hollywood had heard of Roman numerals. "You are saying we can cash in on a big hit by chewing the cud a second time and adding those Roman funerals to the title?" This question was asked me by the great Stuart D O. Mogul, the man immortalized as the fictional Stu Dio Mogul in F. Scott Fitzpapa's epic novel of Hollywood, "The Last Mogul." The real Mogul had a closed mind. "Ever since 'Imitation of Life,' everybody wants to do a funeral movie," Mogul told me, "and funeral movies are death at the box office. You want to do Romans? Fine do gladiators and emperors eating grapes, do soldiers clanking around like tin cans but no Roman funerals. Now scram!" Before he could throw me out, I handed him the script for "Casablanca II," and after one of his readers read it, he phoned me. "You are talking about a sequel," he said, "but there is no way to make a sequel out of 'Casablanca.' The title problem cannot be solved." In those days, sequels usually had titles composed of words like "son" or "bride" plus the title of the original r If Hollywood had been smart, we'd be up to 'Casablanca Lxvir L J movie. Titles like "The Son of Frankenstein" or "The Bride of Andy Hardy" seemed so natural that such sequels became irresistible, whereas "The Son of Casablanca" or "The Bride of Casablanca, " as Mogul pointed out, were "utterly resistible." Sure it was discouraging, but I pressed on. I sent the script to Bogart, Greenstreet, Bergman, Lorre. I foresaw a future in which great box-office hits would be remade eternally until you could scarcely tell one remake from the other without a scorecard listing the Roman numerals. If Hollywood had listened, audiences in this 1985 day and age would even now be lined up to see Shirley Temple in "Little Miss Marker XXXVIII," and don't tell me Shirley would now be too grown-up to play the part; audiences for movies with Roman numerals in the title don't expect a whole lot. In "Casablanca II," Bogart was to be running a saloon-and-gambling joint in Pamplona, Spain, called Rick's Other Place. Because he is greatly respected, as well as the star of the film, he comes into possession of two priceless seats for the bullfights. These have been stolen from the body of a murdered Nazi courier, and the reason they are priceless is their location. They afford a straight sight-line into the hotel room of Victor Lasz-lo, the hero of the entire European underground. Anyone with tickets for those seats can, by smuggling a high-powered rifle into the bullfight, kill the leader of the underground. Naturally, Bogart is tempted to give them to the murderous Peter Lorre because he, Bogie, still has a thing about Laszlo's wife. Then, as he is about to pass the tickets, who should walk into Rick's Other Place than Sophia Loren! Rick immediately closes the joint down, gets drunk and makes his faithful piano player, despite strenuous objections, play "Arrivederci Roma." Of all the gin joints in all the town in all the world, Bogie mumbles, it is ironic that Sophia has picked his to wander into. We see why in a flashback: Having given up Ingrid months ago and walked into the fog with Claude Rains, Bogie had found his way into Rome by posing as a Mussolini sympathizer from the Algerian wine trade when Sophia's car collided with his outside Augustus's Tomb and . . . Well, you can see where we were headed. For big, big box office, am I not right, Roman-numeral fans? We never got there. The moguls were blind to the future. Also, Sophia Loren had not yet been discovered by Hollywood. "But she will be in a couple of years," I told Bogie. "While we're waiting," he said, "why don't we go ahead and make Casablanca III?" "A great idea," I cried. But it turned out he was joking. Too bad. We'd be up to "Casablanca LXVII" by this time and wouldn't need "Rocky IV." Russell Baker writes for The New York Times. i

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