The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 12, 1975 · Page 204
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 204

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 12, 1975
Page 204
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if 1 i"'lliflyy"ririxjr-ir 2-L Sunday, Oct. 12, 197S Philadelphia Inquirer Delaware's Senator Joseph Biden Is Not Your Average Liberal BIDEN, From 1-L when, on Sept. 17, he heard Sen. Jesse Helms (R., N. C.) introducing his new anti-busing amendment. In a scene reminiscent of a Frank Capra movie, Biden took a pencil and began scratching out objectionable parts of the Helms amendment All of a sudden, Biden stood up and offered his version. "Ibe next thing i knew, the amendment passed," Biden recalls. "It surprised the crap out of everyone. I was able to defeat Helms, who had sex, record-keeping stuff, and other things in hi3 amendment and get an anti-busing amendment." Proponents Dumbstruck "The pro-btisers and the civij rights lobby were dumbstruck," he says, "although I had put them all on notice months earlier. They really . started to do their homework." Biden was accused of setting back desegregation efforts. Sen. Lowell P. Weicker (R., Conn.) said Biden's amendment "guts the spiritual impetus to achieve equality of educational opportunity in this country." Civil rights stalwarts responded quickly with an amendment sponsored by Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D., Minn.) and Minority Leader Hugh Scott (R., Pa.) that would have nullified Biden's amendment. To meet that challenge, Biden and Majority Whip Robert Byrd (D., W. Va.) in a parliamentary move resubmitted Biden's anti-busing measure for a second vote. It was approved ' again, which, much to the disappointment of the civil rights lobby, eliminated the Humphrey-Scott amendment. Defections of key Senate liberals enabled Biden to succeed where anti-busiug conservatives had failed. Among those voting for at least one of Biden's amendments were Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Quentin Burdick of North Dakota and Stuart Symington and Thomas Eagle-ton of Missouri. - Biden's amendments may not have forged a new anti-busing majority, but they dramatically exposed increasing liberal doubts about busing as the best tool to achieve racial desegregation. "I think I've made it possible for liberals to come out of the closet," Biden says. "We can finally debate the issue. If it isn't yet a respectable liberal position, it is no longer a racist one." . Biden listened to criticisms of his first two amendments and agreed with civil rights groups that the legislation had gone too far. "I didn't want to take away HEW's authority to desegregate faculties or classrooms," he says. "But the amendments had done just that." So Biden introduced a new amendment, which' he nicknamed "Biden II," that would bar HEW from busing "for reasons of race" unless specifically ordered by a court. This would, he said, stop HEW from busing "by either using and-or withholding funds." Sen. James Allen (D., Ala.), protested the new Biden amendment. "The sole issue," Allen said, "is whether we want to weaken and water, down what the Senate has already done." Most Southern Senators, then joined Allen in abandoning Biden. .,, But "Biden II" still passed with relative ease. Northern liberals who had fought Biden's earlier amendments accepted it as their only alternative. "I still consider myself a liberal," Biden confided in an interview in his Senate office. "But there's a new kind of Liberalism. I think Jerry Brown of California, Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts, Biden of Delaware and a lot of other newly elected guys are rejecting the premises of Steven-sonian liberalism. Maybe we have less faith in human nature, but we are beginning to question the ability of government to affirmatively alter human nature. "Of course," he says, "it's easy to Monday-morning quarterback. Had I been a Stevensonian liberal, I would have made the same mistakes." Biden's theory is that the grandiose Kennedy-Johnson social programs raised expectations, and then turned off many Americans by falling to deliver. "I was visiting with an older liberal senator the other day," Biden says. "He said, "If Nixon hadn't stop- ped the War On Poverty and if we had spent $30 billion on the cities, all our problems could have' been solved.' This is nonsense. Look at all the money we did spend and look at the limited results. Classes on Tennis "We've got to go after some of the sacred cows. I'm not so sure we shouldn't say there is a finite amount of money. Although we have to recognize how to slice it differently. I'm sure we could justify spending $600 billion if the only question was the merit of the programs. But we can't afford it. The very people most hurt by recession and inflation are those that Johnson, Kennedy and Biden say they are most concerned about helping." Biden has ruffled the feathers of his liberal brethren by his attacks on what he terms educational frills. "The liberal intellectual community is all hung up on things that are not the function of the schools to handle," he says. "Conservatives talk about warping minds. That's ridiculous. A staggering amount of youngsters can't read, write or subtract." He recently introduced an amendment to cut the education appropriations bill by $10 million. "No one cares more about education than t I do," he says. "But, Christ, $1.2 mll- H-nt CONGRESS 1st Session- Calendar No. 357 H.R.8069 IN" THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES September 23 (legislative day, September 11), 1975 . Ordered to lis OB th table and to be printed AMENDMENT Intended to be proposed by Mr. Bide?- to 80G9 an Act making- appropriations for the Departments of labor, and Health, Education, and Welfare, and related agencies, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1976, and the period ending September 30, 1976, and for other purposes, viz: Insert at. the end 'of the Ml the following: 1 Sec. . NotwitJtttanding any other provision of this 2 Act, the funds contained in this Act shall he used in a manner 3 consistent with the enforcement of the fifth and fourteenth 4 amendments to the Constitution of the United States and 5 title VI of the Civil Eights Act of 1964: Provided, That the 6 funds contained in tills Act shall not he used so as to require 7 the transportation of students for reasons, of race unless'such 8 transportation is specifically required by a final-decree of- 9 a court of hv. Amdt.No.915 Specfal to The Inquirer RODDEY C. E. MIMS THE BIDEN II Amendment on busing and the author of the amendment. h i fit i A i. -a w L V ff f 1 if U 4 , i I 4 J ? 1 I ! f I ; P v It t ' 4 , ! -" - s 1- , - 'I think I've made it possible for liberals to come out of the closet. We can finally debate the issue. If it isn't yet a respectable liberal position, it is no longer a racist one.' Sen. Joseph R. Biden lion was for television classts on how to play tennis. What the hell are we doing that for?" Biden's hard-nosed position on law and order is a far cry from the approach Ramsey Clark advocated in his book "Crime in America." "Liberals have rejected common sense," Biden says. "Anyone who has studied the area knows that we don't have a workable rehabilitation program. Yet we continue to insist that the function of prison is to rehabilitate, not to punish. "Why should we apologize for locking up criminals? How did we let that happen," Biden says. "I think law and order is a traditional liberal issue not a conservative issue. "I think the Democratic Party could stand a liberal (Jeorge Wallace someone who's not afraid to stand up and offend people, someone who wouldn't pander, but would say what the American people know in their gut is right." Until his busing amendment, Biden was best known for his youth and as the victim of family tragedy. He was a 29-year-old New Castle County councilman in 1972 when he narrowly upset popular Republican Sen. J. Caleb Boggs. Biden spent much of the campaign explaining that he would reach the minimum age of 30 before the Senate convened. He took bold, progressive stands on such issues as public housing, consumer protection, and the environment. Next to Biden, Boggs seemed a tired old man. Tragedy struck a month later when Biden's wife and baby daughter were killed In an automobile accident. Two sons survived the crash. Biden wanted to resign. "Delaware can always get another senator," he said then. "My boys cannot get another father." Biden stayed after Mansfield promised him choice committee assignments ttiiu aiicuieed uh Liucu Lu wa sworn in at the hospital where the children were recovering. "If one of the boys ran into problems, I might reassess things," Biden says. "This job isn't as important to me as my family. I wouldn't mind going back to practicing law." Neilia Biden, his late wife, remains a profound influence. "I know I should probably say that I've put that part of my life behind me," Biden says. "But I very often weigh decisions on what I think my wife would have wanted me to do." Biden has begun dating again although he dislikes getting attention as one of Washington's most eligible bachelors. "A year ago, I was dating a girl I like an dstill like. We had dated over a six-month period both casually and formally. The worst happened, the national press tried to make more out of it than it was and all of a sudden my mother was calling to ask, 'Why didn't you tell me?' " Biden told her it was news to him.too. The woman, Francine Barnard, a Washington correspondent for a Texas newspaper, subsequently married Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame. "I can imagine what Woodward's reaction was when he read the stories about my engagement to Franci," Biden says. "We were dating her at the same time. I've been a little gun-shy ever since those headlines." Mansfield and Byrd honored their pledge of prestigious committee assignments. Many senators spend decades trying to get the rewards Biden has received in his first three years. Biden is, at 32, a member of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee that determines all committee assignments, the elite Foreign Relations Committee, the Budget Committee, the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and is chairman of the Consumer Affairs Subcommittee. "Being the youngest senator is an advantage, like being a female black," he says. "I was prominent in that I was different." Self-confident and somewhat brash, Biden has shown a lack of reverence for the Senate tradition that younger members go along with their elders. . "I've been disappointed by the reluctance of the Senate to take hard, fast stands on issues and their failure to take on the administration. I'm not sure we're very effective. But I believe one senator can have a major impact on the Senate." Biden has been one of the more aggressive members of the Foreign Relations Committee. "I resent being presented with faits accompli by Dr. Kissinger," he says. "Kissinger says if we don't act quickly, his work will fail and the world will blow up. That's hogwash. The kind of attitude that debate on foreign policy stops at the water's edge put us in the hell of Vietnam for 10 years. Debate is healthy. "I think I've been successful in making sure that nothing goes through the committee automatically. They're going to have to make a case or I'm going to holler and scream." Biden's chances of winning a second term in 1978 were greatly enhanced when Rep. Pierre S. "Pete" du Pont, Delaware's most attractive Republican, decided to run for governor instead of against Biden. Time magazine proclaimed Biden as a future presidential candidate as early as 1972. Biden will not even be eligible to run until 1980. "I'm just thankful that I'm not two years older to be put in the situation of an unwilling vice presidential candidate in 1976 as a new kind of liberal. I know that Brown and Dukakis will be there next year and I don't envy them. The point is, I'm not qualified to be President." While tiny Delaware has never produced a serious presidential contender, Biden says that the recent ascendancy of White House hopefuls from South Dakota, Arizona, and Maine refutes the old saw that a President must come from a large state. . Biden is, for good measure, cultivating a close relationship with Pennsylvania's Democratic leadership. A nntive of Scranton, he has come to be regarded by some Democrats as the Keystone State's third senator. Twice he has been the star attraction at Philadelphia's Jefferson-Jackson dinner, and last week spoke before the state party committee's annual $150-a-plate dinner at Harrisburg. Biden has even given Gov. Milton J. Shapp a qualified endorsement for the presidency. Unhappily, for Shapp, Biden invariably upstages him when they share the same platform. Biden says, "The presidential talk at this stage is like scoring five touchdowns in a high school football game with some pro scout telling you, 'Some day, kid, you're going to start for the Philadelphia Eagles.' It's very heady stuffy, but when you sit back and think about it, you know that you'll have to gain 20 pounds, increase your speed and learn a lot. Then, maybe, you can do it. "Whether I can gain the 20 pounds and learn enough remains to be seen. But I'd be lying if I discounted the possibility. I hope I would have grown enough that by 1978 or even 1988, Democrats around the country will say, 'What about this Joe Biden?' " ik. V i 4 5it. ,ti 1 f - 4 8 -: JAPANESE EMPEROR Hirohito, during his visit to th United States last week, toured Disneyland and met a well-known Disney character. IN PASSING The Week's News Review National As America continued to wallow in the worst recession since the 1930s, money matters dominated the nation's front pages last week. And attempts to find solutions to the country's fiscal problems widened the split between the Republican administration and the Democratic Congress. President Ford flipped a gauntlet in the direction of Capitol Hill when he went before the nation in a televised speech Monday night and proposed a $28 billion tax cut for 1976. The proposed permanent reduction in personal and business income taxes represents an $11 billion increase over the temporary $17 billion anti-recession tax cut enacted last March. The response from Congress was swift and predictable. Rep. Al Ullman (D., Ore.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, termed the combined tax and spending reduction proposal "totally preposterous." At issue among other provisions of the President's proposal is the timing of the two parts of the plan. The tax cut would go into effect Jan. 1, but the reduction in federal spending would not begin until Oct. 1. Ullman objected strenously to a congressional commitment to a spending ceiling for a fiscal year almost a full year away, particularly since the first detailed spending proposals for that fiscal year will not be ready until January. The President, undaunted by the initial response from Democratic lawmakers, moved into high gear what he called his drive to "sell" the program to the American people. "The President has the best of both worlds cutting both taxes and spending." complained Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a Chicago Democrat. "I don't know anybody in his right mind who wouldn't be for that." But, the President didn't have it all his way. On Tuesday, Congress overrode his veto of legislation extending and broadening the federal school lunch and child nutrition programs. The vote was a resounding defeat of Ford's veto 397-18 in the House and 79-13 in the Senate. Even the Republican leaders in both houses Sen. Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania and Rep. John Rhodes of Arizona voted to override the veto. It was the seventh time in 14 months that Congress had overridden a Ford veto. He has been successful in turning back 32 bills in that period. Congress voted approval for President Ford to send up to 200 technicians to the Sinai Peninsula to monitor the recently negotiated Israeli-ggyptian disengagement agreement. the action cleared the way for Israel to sign the accord Friday. Egypt had already signed the protocols, but Israel had only initialed them, preferring to wait, pending congressional action. In its continuing investigation into the activities of the CIA, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that it had evidence that CIA attempts to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro had been made during the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. Committee chairman Sen. Frank Church (D., Idaho) said, however, that the committee had no evidence showing that the presidents ordered or even knew of the assassination attempts. Psychiatric testing continued on Patricia Hearst and a preliminary report from the psychiatrists was received last week by U. S. District Judge Oliver Carter in San Francisco. Miss Hearst's lawyers requested that she be committed to a private mental hospital until she was emotionally strong enough to cooperate in her trial. International Civil unrest bordering on war rocked several nations last week as terrorist and guerrilla groups sought political ends through violence. Argentina: Leftist guerrillas mounted major attacks on an army garrison, a prison and an airport in Formosa, a city 700 miles north of Buenos Aires. Lebanon: The capital city of Beirut continued to be a bloody battlefield for warring Christians and Moslems. A three-day cease-fire was shattered Wednesday by heavy fighting in the city and in the northern part of the country. A government radio announcer, "We are losing Lebanon. Blood maniacs are at large." Spain: Terrorist killings continued in Barcelona and Madrid. Three army o ficers were arrested on charges of sedition as the bloody fight over Basque independence continued. Portugal: Clashes continued between rebel leftist factions of the Portuguese Army and loyalist troop as the Portuguese Communist Party celebrated the revolutionary unrest in the army, calling it "magnificent riposte" to conservative forces. In the face of all that strife, the N.jbtl prize committee awarded the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize, and the $122,000 that goes with it, to the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, physicist Andrei D. Sakha row Sakharov, 54, is now an outspoken opponent of nuclear testing and as early as 19S3 was protesting Soviet nuclear blasts. He is currently a leading dissident in the Soviet Union. Regional Philadelphia District Attorney Emmett Fitzpatrick's hearing before a three-member panel of the State Supreme Court's Disciplinary Board opened Monday at the old federal courthouse at Ninth and Market Streets. Thirteen allegations of impropriety have been lodged against Fitzpatrick, and, if found guilty, lie could be censured, suspended or disbarred. Disbarment would place his future as district attorney in doubt, since the position requires that the district attorney be a lawyer. Most of the week's proceedings centered on Fitzpatrick's handling of the Nardello case and whether the district attorney had ordered a reduced sentence for Joseph A. Nardello, a convicted felon. The panel heard testimony from former assistant district attorney Judith Dean, who prosecuted the case, and from former First Assistant District Attorney Richard Sprague. -JACK SEVERSON

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