The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 15, 1996 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Tuesday, October 15, 1996
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A4 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal @ aol.com Quote of the day "If the middle doesn'tget energized, we're going to lose." Jill Docking Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Kansas By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Condemned to obscurity THE ISSUE Crime and punishment THE ARGUMENT Death penalty makes stars out of killers D on't expect to hear the name of David Spain ever again. He will be in prison for the next 40 years, if he lives that long. After being sentenced last week for his role in an escape and murder of a sheriffs dispatcher at the Haskell County Jail in Sublette, Spain will be 72 years old before he can even be considered for release from prison. Chances are, no one will notice. The penalty of enforced anonymity is what Spain deserves. But it may be different for Douglas Winter. Winter also broke out of the southwest Kansas jail on that violent day, March 17,1995. His trial begins Nov. 1. Because Spain copped a plea, he received the state's "Hard 40" sentence for murder. Because Winter did not, he faces the death penalty. If he gets it, he will not go quietly into that good night. He will become the biggest celebrity in Kansas since Bob Dole. As the first man in a generation to get the ultimate penalty under Kansas law, Winter would become hot copy. He would be on the front page of every newspaper. His face, whether remorseful or defiant, would appear on television repeatedly. Geraldo would definitely want to talk to him. So might Barbara Walters. In the meantime, the family of the man he murdered, the woman who lost her husband, the six children who lost their father, will have to relive the experience over and over. They will have to see the glare of publicity focus on the man who tore their life apart, with scant if any mention of the man they loved and lost. This is justice? When someone takes a life, we might reasonably feel that his life should be taken in return. But/especially in this multimedia age, to take away the light is to take away life. It would be far better that the killers among us live in darkness, unnoticed, unimportant, irrelevant, than that they be granted the honor of even a sick kind of celebrity. The "Hard 40" law was a good idea. The death penalty was not. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 Farm goods important to Commerce Dept. In reading Linda Mowery-Denning's article of Oct. 8, "Graves under fire in pushing Kansas goods," we thought it would be appropriate to address some of the issues raised. First, the Agriculture Products Development Division is committed to creating marketing opportunities for Kansas products. The division is currently conducting a survey of "From the Land of Kansas" participants to assess their opinion on what assistance provided in the past worked, and what didn't. We will implement a strategic plan for the trademark programs using input from the participants that not only addresses the concerns voiced in your article, but will enhance the entire program. We are taking a fresh look at all of the trademark programs ("From the Land of Kansas," "Grown in Kansas," and "Hands of Kansas") and looking for opportunities to make them all more successful by combining the resources available. Second, with the division's home at the Kansas Department of Commerce & Housing (KDOC&H), there are many more resources available to the program participants. KDOC&H offers assistance in business development including workforce training, travel and tourism, community development, housing and international trade, as well as agriculture. For example, if a "From the Land of Kansas" participant hit upon a product that was successful and the company was growing, it w,ould need skilled workers, equipment and expansion capital. These are all areas in which we can provide assistance. If the gfowth of the company requires additional workforce, it may affect housing issues in the community, community infrastructure, tourism, etc. We have resources available to us to assist in all of these needs. Finally, agriculture is not being lost in the picture. This is the only division within the department that is dedicated to one segment of V TRUE WEST Mr. Dole remembers the Spirit of 74 a daytime telephone for confirmation. Will the GOP candidate take the bait and go for the kill, or be haunted by past mistakes? S o here we are, 22 days out from the election and the national news media are a- wondering why the presidential candidates aren't attacking each other. Which is certainly interesting. A paranoid voter might think that the why-not-attack issue is just a ruse by the national news media to goad Mr. Dole into becoming what they call his mean old self. Another subtext of that question also leads one to believe that the news media are saying it should be easier to defeat "The Great Exaggerator" than Mr. Dole makes it appear. PBS' "Frontline" had a nifty program last week called "The Choice "96." For those who missed it and have access to the Internet, a much more ^ extensive and enlightening version of the show can be found at http://www.pbs.org. One issue the program explored was the ugliness of Mr. Dole's 1974 campaign (I was but a nipper at the time, so it was all fresh to me). After watching video from the debate at the Kansas State Fair in 1974,1 came away with a new understanding of what people mean when they say Bob Dole is mean. Mr. Dole brought up abortion against his opponent, Dr. Bill Roy. With but a few scant DAVID FRESE The Salina Journal broadcast seconds left in the debate, Mr. Dole asked Dr. Roy what his stand on the issue might be, knowing full well the doctor was a supporter of legal, safe abortion and had performed them. Those attending the debate nearly booed Mr. Dole off the stage. Certainly, it was a different time — the Supreme Court had declared abortion an individual right just a year before. Folks today who are conditioned to seeing the issue on the front pages of their hometown newspapers might say, "Big deal," when reviewing that 22- year-old debate. In 1996, it's difficult to go anywhere near a women's clinic in America and not see pictures of aborted fetuses, which Dr. Roy says were placed under windshield wipers all over Kansan. "I didn't expect it 'during the debate," Dr. Roy said. "And there's no way to explain the issue of abortion in 15 seconds. And in that sense I felt I'd been clipped, I'd been hit from behind." Richard Ben Cramer, author of a book about the 1988 campaign titled "What It Takes," said that Mr. Dole's 1974 Senate race was a defining moment in his political life. Cramer sa jd that on the plane ride to the other end of the state after the debate, Mr. Dole told an aide, "I just don't know whether it's worth it." "I think that tells it,... he felt rotten inside," Cramer says. "He knew it was a horror show. It was interesting that when he got back to Washington, ... he did claw his way back, he was different. He wanted to make something positive happen, almost as if he had to expiate that '74 campaign. And that's when he started going across the aisle. That's when he went across to McGovern to build the food stamp program. People in Washington couldn't believe it." This campaign essentially forced Senator Dole, the hatchet man for the Nixon White House, to become Senator Dole, the consensus builder, the dealmaker. The 1974 campaign has to be running through Mr. Dole's noggin every time his aides say it's time to hit The President with questions about ethical slips and administrative in- competencies and inconsistencies. It's honorable not to get in the mud with The President during Wednesday's debate, to stay above the MediScare-type tactics. The electorate, however, is looking to Mr. Dole to see what he thinks of The President. If there's no sign from Mr. Dole that The President is full of it, then it's hard for the electorate to see any difference between the men and even more difficult for them to hire someone else for the job. Especially when The President takes credit for a reduction in the deficit and a reform of welfare — issues The President never would have tackled in these past four years if the Ging- riches hadn't held his feet to the fire. ; The debate Wednesday in San Diego will surely bring deja yu to Mr. Dole. He again finds himself in a fight for his political life", having given up his Senate seat in a final quest for the presidency. The debate's format is to be a town-hall type of debate, with "normal people" asking the questions. He will be confronted with an audience of partisan Jane and Joe Six-Packs — much like he was in 1974 in Hutchinson — who will be wondering if he can shine light through the veneer of The President's character or if he is still chased by shadows of the past. T LIBERTIES the Kansas economy. The aircraft industry, oil and gas concerns, manufacturers, and others do not have their own divisions at KDOC&H. Within this division we focus on the trademark programs, international trade, value-added activities and market development. All division components compliment the trademark programs as well. We can assist in everything from product development to exporting. We are a "one- stop shopping" place for assistance to the program members because of our new link to KDOC&H. State government owes the taxpayers the very best in quality service, to focus our resources and efforts, and to take responsibility for our actions. We have to do that while keeping in mind budgetary constraints. Running successful programs isn't a matter of throwing more money and people at them, it is a matter of addressing the needs of the recipients and serving them in the most efficient manner possible with the resources available. We do not know of an instance in which a member of "From the Land of Kansas" requested assistance and was turned down. We do not know of a case in which anyone in the agriculture community has called for any type of assistance and was turned down. We believe in delivering more with less, and we are going to do so. At KDOC&H, these programs are in the right place and in the not too distant future, your readers and "From the Land of Kansas" members will see evidence that this move was the right one. — CURTIS CHRYSTAL Topeka • Curtis Chrystal is the director of the Agriculture Products Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing. Letter* to the Dole's own team does not trust him The candidate's own friends say that he is 'soft-headed' and a 'chainsaw' B ob Dole is basing his campaign on the idea of trust. Unfortunately, there is no trust in the Dole campaign. Dole advisers talk about the candidate patronizingly, painting him as stubborn, isolated and inept. As one told The Times's Adam Nagourney, concerning the argument over whether Dole should be sharper with the president in the second debate, * "What is required here is a scalpel, and I'm afraid we'd end up with a chainsaw." The former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers worried after the Paula Jones story broke that she would look at the morning newspaper and see the words "dropped his pants" in the same sentence as the word "president." Now Dole aides should be sensitive enough to avoid placing the $ words "Dole" and "chainsaw" in proximity. Jack Kemp does not trust Bob Dole. In the vice-presidential debate, he brushed off the Dole agenda and offered his own, suggesting that the tax code be eliminated, and declaring that it would be "beneath Bob Dole" to attack MAUREEN DOWD The New York Times Clinton. (It is not beneath Jack Kemp to undermine Bob Dole in public.) Bill Bennett does not trust Bob Dole. He keeps popping up at Dole's side, offering his own version of what the Republican campaign should be, trying to graft on the missing cultural and social issues. Like Kemp, Bennett instructed Dole publicly, telling reporters his thoughts about how to criticize the president on character. "Nothing against nice," he told The Washington Post, "but nice here has become soft-headed — and diffident — about central issues." (So Bob Dole is a soft-headed chainsaw?) Republicans in Congress don't trust Bob Dole. They mutter phrases like "if we keep one of the houses." As one top Republican close to the campaign keens: "Dole is listening to a bunch of old hacks. The campaign is like a prize fighter who's been so badly beaten that there's no rhythm, no soul. The Clinton team has out-thought us and out-punched us." Just as Bill Clinton was reduced to asserting his relevance after the '94 elections, now Bob Dole is reduced to asserting his toughness. The '92 campaign taught the Clintonites that the best defense for the messes around Clinton — ethical questions, dubious associations, implausible denials, slippery judgments — was an outrageous offense. Mau-mau the press into feeling guilty for being cynical and tawdry. Mau-mau the opponent into feeling guilty for taking "the low road." Abetted by Dole, who is skittish about going on the attack because he fears evoking his DOONESBURY hatchet past and because he wants to end his career with dignity, the Clinton campaign has convinced some in the press, some Republicans and some voters that the Republicans are hitting below the belt if they say anything unpleasant. "Sometimes, the low road is the good road," complains Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard. "Whenever the press praises Republicans for civility, you know Republicans are in serious trouble." Dole should not be afraid to confront Clinton on issues related to his inconstancy, unsteadiness, tacking with the wind, veering to the right, veering to the left, veering to the center, veering, veering, veering. Does anybody really think there's no connection between a president who signs bills he .says he doesn't believe in and the character "question? { He should ask the president why he changes his mind and aims to please and is never quite forthright. He should ask the real Bill Clinton to stand up. Dole should not be inhibited from asking Clinton about possible Whitewater pardons, charges of obstruction of justice in the White House and all the human damage around his administration. It is not impertinent, nor is it uncivil, to ask about the character of the most powerful man on earth. The most ambitious people in America have to accept the fact that the White House is a glass house. By G.B. TRUDEAU OKAY, I'M WKKf. IH/A5UNPERA FROM YOUR PAUGH7ZR..

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