The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 17, 1996 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

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Thursday, October 17, 1996
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B2 THURSDAY. OCTOBER 17, 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: SalJoumal @ aol.com Quote of the day "According to the latest poll, those watching the debate on television thought Bill Clinton won. But those that heard it on the radio thought that Bob Dole won. And those that listen to the voices in their head thought that Ross Perot won." Jay Leno By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Sauce for the gander THE ISSUE Roberts, Thompson and money THEARGUMBVT Roberts has some nerve attacking contributions P at Roberts is shocked — shocked! — that out-of-state interests are pouring money into the campaign of a Kansan running for Congress. Republican Roberts, whose eight terms in the House have been bought and paid for by out-of-state contributions from big business, is upset that Democrat Sally Thompson, the only sp^eed bump in the road to a seat in the U.*S. Senate, is getting money from American labor unions. It would be funny if it were not so sad — or maddening. Why, in the name of all that's holy, is it OK for Roberts to go swimming in political action committee contributions from agribusiness, tobacco, insurance, you name it, but dirty for Thompson to make use of donations from organized labor? Obviously, Roberts thinks people who give him money are all fine, upstanding citizens who have only the public's interest at heart, while those who give to his rival are devious power-grabbing bosses from parts unknown. Roberts' arrogance is stupifying. Like his mentor Bob Dole, Roberts is brazen enough to stand on a pile of special-interest money to criticize his rival for taking special-interest money. Dole, at least, seems embarrassed. Clearly, the western Kansas congressman-for-life believes that a seat in the Senate has been willed to him by the retiring Nancy Kassebaum, and that no one has the right to stand in his way. When Thompson questions Roberts' residency, his pension and his family's history on the public's nickel, he calls her an ugly name. When Thompson plays the game of politics the way the big boys play it — hardball, with other people's money — Roberts accuses her of trying to buy the election. Roberts was quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying that Thompson is allowing herself to become beholden to big labor because she was "unable to find the money and support to wage her own campaign." Well, that's certainly a problem Roberts has never had. But if you really listen to what Roberts is saying, he seems to believe that his ability to raise campaign contributions is a qualification for public office. Because Washington lobbyists give me money, Roberts is saying, I would be a good senator. That may be the way people think in Washington. In Kansas, we still like to think the voters have something to say about it. * PAT ROBERTS CAMPAIGN: 1189 SW Wanamaker, Topeka, KS 66604. Telephone: (913) 228-0284. • SALLY THOMPSON CAMPAIGN: 6220 SW 29th, Topeka, KS 66614. Telephone: (913) 272-5855. T POINT OF VIEW Pro-life, pro-Democrat Increasing poverty increases demand for abortion E lection time has not yet arrived but, for now at least, it appears that I will vote for more Democratic Party candidates than for Republican Party candidates. Anti- * abortion friends and relatives ask, "How can you do that?" It is a problem and a worry, so I will work through it in black and white, just in cage my effort is of some use to someone else. I am against abortion. I deplore euphemisms which trivialize or soften or disguise the fact that abortion is the killing of a human person, even one not yet born. I believe "reproductive choice" is properly exercised before a new human being is conceived. After that, it is another matter. I respect the principle that women should have authority over their own bodies. It is just that, while carrying a fetus, they are also responsible for someone else's body. The statement that a fetus is "simply an unwanted growth" subject to removal is, in my mind, an example of the minimizing or trivializing the killing of a small human being. WHS MJW NEWS WEEDEN NICHOLS for the Salina Journal 4 Left Right T THE OBSERVER Young people learn to just say no Why would any ambitious, self-respecting kid want to be president? A new poll reports that most American young people don't want to grow up to be president. I have interviewed young people galore to find out why. Anita M., of Houma, La., says: "You think I want to spend my life being investigated by Sen. Alfonse D'Amato? I want to be a professor emeritus of the history of music and win a $1 million Nobel Prize for proving that Elvis is really dead." Bert H., of Sans Souci, N.D.: "Sure, it would be great having your own 747 when you wanted to go out on Saturday night, but imagine spending time with those geeky congressmen." Saul O., of Salisbury Plain, Ohio: "I can't stand athletes. When you're president you've got to phone their locker rooms after they've won the latest Greatest Game in the History of Jock Straps and invite them to the White House. Forget it." Mavis W., of Eglantine, Ore.: "President? You've got to be kidding. Sit around the office waiting for a public-opinion poll to tell you what you can do? I want a job where I can have my own ideas instead of waiting for pollsters to have them for me. A job that gives me a chance to do something daring, y'know, with- T ESSAY RUSSELL BAKER Tlie New York Times 0 out having to get a poll taker's permission." Macushlk M., of Falls-by-the-Sea, Neb.: "A kid would have to be out of his skull to take a job where you have to listen to Al Gore explain how to toast a marshmallow." Rebecca E., of Kiddiebunkport, Me.: "You can't have much respect for me if you think I want a job where I'd have to go on television and kill an hour and a half arguing with Bob Dole about the distinction between a tittle and a jot." Sergei R., of East Meow, Ind.: "You crazy? Why would I want a job where I had to listen to Al Gore explain how to say no when somebody offers you a glass of poisoned drinking water?" Seamus A., of Alvarez Heights, Mich.: "I'm too ambitious to settle for a job that can be done by people like Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, James A. Garfield, Chester Allen Arthur, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and William J. Clinton. I'd rather grow up and make something of myself." Austin K., of East Bat Cave, Tenn.: "I hear the pay is only $200,000 plus expenses, which doesn't seem like much if you've got any ambition. Then, they're not going to build you something like the Lincoln Memorial or the Kennedy Center until you've been assassinated and it's too late to enjpy being a legend. I want to be a legend in my own time. So it's life splitting eardrums with electric guitars for me." Bartholomew F., of Concave, Wis.: "If I'd known about the presidency being a possibility I wouldn't have done that little bit of pot last summer, but what's smoked is smoked. Soon as I got to be president they'd find out about it and my name would be cursed all over the country, and then I'd never be able to get an honest job once I got out of the White House. Please don't print my name, OK?" (No, it's not OK, Bartholomew F. of Concave, Wis. The press has a duty to report the truth, unpleasant though it be to do so. Sorry about that, Bartholomew F. of Concave, Wis., but it should afford you a sound lesson in the responsibilities of a free press.) Mame.C., of Elktooth, N.Y.: "Well, I wouldn't mind traveling around and seeing the world like presidents do, and it would be nice to see Washington, especially since I can't afford my high school class's trip down there next year, but I don't want my family exposed to all the dirt-digging the media would do if I ever got to be president. My granddaddy did some time way back for bootlegging and my Uncle Al is too attractive to women for his own good, and my mom — well, 1'ifi not going to let the media broadcast all that scandal just so I can be president." Calvin J., of Sycamore Bypass, Mo.: "I'd rather grow up to be a partner in a big-time Washington law firm. Then I could buy senators and congressmen for great big, really cool corporations and they would make presidents toe the line. I'm told there is plenty of money to be made in this line of work. What's more, it would be a lot of fun to buy senators." Frogmore E., of Sandy Mountain, Kansas: "Who in his right mind wants a job where you've got to sit around listening to Al Gore tell you what a great president you are?" What we know about the Lippo dealings That having been said, however, I must also say that I am against making abortion illegal. During my career as a detective, I have seen the results of rape and incest. There will always be desperate women in desperate circumstances. Illegality of all abortions would simply result in the resurgence of "back-alley butchery." What I do not want to see — ever, ever, ever — is the promotion of abortion. I have suspected, • several times in the past 20 years,that authorities of several types were promoting abortion as a mode of resolving problems in the lives of women and girls. And, finally, here is how I justify my vote. I would say that the approach to social problems advocated by Republican leaders in recent years (the names Reagan and Gingrich come to mind, to name only two) would create an increase in social and economic hardship. The increases in social and economic hardship would, in turn, create more desperate women in more desperate circumstances. These would, in their desperation, tend to seek more'abortions. I am not pleased with either party's panderings to polls. But I would say that the Democrats are, of the two major parties, less guilty of demonizing the poor and the unfortunate and placing them outside the boundaries of concern. • Weeclen Nichols, Hays, is a retired criminal investigator for the U. S. Army. It would be 'flat-out wrong' for Clinton to be influenced by campaign gifts A sked directly about a charge made in this column that President Clinton had been personally involved in the solicitation of an illegal $250,000 campaign contribution, press secretary Michael A McCurry replied, "That's flat- out wrong." Flat-out, rooted in the auto- racing metaphor of pressing an accelerator flat against the car floor, has come to mean "totally committed." What the president's spokesman meant was flat — "plain, stark, unadorned." Now to the wrong, Clin- tonese for "mistaken," but connoting moral condemnation. The New York Times Let's examine the facts: * 1. We know that Democratic finance vice chairman John Huang, "the $4 million man" from Indonesia's Lippo banking empire controlled by the Riady family, this spring asked South Korea's Cheong Am Co. for money to re-elect Clinton. 2. We know that a Cheong Am executive — a foreign national working for a foreign corpo- • ration that just set up a U.S. subsidiary — insisted on first meeting Clinton in person. .3: We know that in April, Lippo's Huang arranged for Cheong Am's James Lee to shake hands and chat with Bill Clinton at a fund-rais- WILLIAM SAFIRE er. 4. We know that subsequent to that meeting, substantial money passed: a Cheong Am check for $250,000 was paid to the Democratic account designated by Huang. 5. We know — as the Democratic Finance Committee chairman admitted to me — that the contribution solicited by Lippo's Huang, using the president himself as the closer, broke our law forbidding foreign funding. 6. But only when The Los Angeles Times questioned this illegal transaction did the Clintonites return the money. If not caught red-handed, Democratic admen would be using that hot-soft money to help saturate California's TV market today. How, then, can my demonstrably accurate charge be called "flat-out wrong," or even "flat wrong"? The Clinton way: by total denial. Sunday Vice President Al Gore inserted his office into what should be the purview of the election crimes branch of the Justice Department by declaring the Asian influence-peddling scandal nonexistent: "there have been absolutely no violations of any law." Gore went even further to distance the Democratic ticket from its spreading foreign- money ethics mess, insisting to NBC "there is nothing that has been done that's wrong." If that were true, why did the Democrats give the tainted money back? Why did an Indonesian gardener with a green card, related to a Lippo partner, pass along $425,000 and then race home, avoiding inquiries? And about John Huang — in 1992 a Clinton Asian fund-raiser, in 1993 the recipient of a million-dollar payment from Lippo on the eve of being appointed by Clinton to a sensitive foreign economic post, and in 1996 wringing more campaign money out of Asian executives through fronts here — why is he hiding? I think wrongdoing is why. Because the Gore blanket denial is palpably untenable, a new story is being spun in the Clinton White House: You see, um, John Huang has no way of knowing the source or purpose of all this Asian money. As for Clinton, who publicly hailed Huang's "aggressive" efforts, he closes on contributions by shaking hands with strangers all the time — how is a busy president to know clean from dirty money? Another Filegate-like "honest bureaucratic snafu." But this time, an unforeseeable break has gone against Clinton's Asian connection. The Nobel cpmmittee just awarded this year's Peace Prize to two of the leaders of the movement to stop Indonesia's near-genocidal oppression of East Timor, territory it invaded two decades ago. This fresh media focus on Indonesia should trigger a hard look into advice the Riadys gave Clinton about U.S. trade pressure on labor abuses in East Timor — and into how Clin- tonites, despite human-rights lip service, delivered for their donors at the expense of millions of Asian dissidents. No wonder McCurry refused to answer a query from here 10 days ago about the Indonesian millionaire James Riady's dealings with Clinton in the Oval Office and in Jakarta. The White House pretends that these Lippo meetings, one as recently as a month ago, were mere "drop-bys." Do you believe that? A Clinton policy payback for the longtime Riady campaign largess would not only be evidence of corruption but would be, as the press secretary likes to say, "flat-out wrong." III IESBURY By G.B, TRUDEAU UHYM BBIHG 7RGAT&? UKBA eonxm

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