The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on April 16, 1990 · 7
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 7

Publication:
Location:
Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Monday, April 16, 1990
Page:
7
Start Free Trial
Cancel

qjjiiiqyNttHaqpttliviMqpi THE BOSTON GLOBE MONDAY, APRIL 16, 1990 JD. congressman bucks pork barrel on missiles .H DORGAN Continued from Page 1 c uation in Russia and Eastern Eu- rope" made it easier to follow Dor- Gran's lead in buckiner the military. jobs and pumping in $500 million a year. But the congressman shocked his constituents and colleagues last month by declaring from the House floor that the MX project is "a waste. It will add nothing to this country's defense. Well end up spending billions of dollars that we don't have on a system that we don't need, and I just cannot support it. "Individually and collectively, we have to start standing up and exposing the truth of what we're doing, even when it might be uncomfortable." Washington political observers said the 47-year-old lawmaker's action reflects a new sentiment among voters. "People want someone to take a stand," said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. "And the changing world certainly helps. Ten years ago Dorgan couldn't have done what he did." William Schneider, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, agreed: "Congressmen and senators can get away with voting for cuts in military spending that adversely affect their district under the current mood in the country," he said. But that would not be the case, warned Schneider, "if that congressman tries to cut a hospital or a road." Dorgan is not the first member of Congress in recent years to oppose a military project that could have been a boon to his district. Others battle MX Sens. Donald Riegle and Carl Levin of Michigan, and Dale Bumpers and David Pryor of Arkansas, battled the MX even though their states were selected for railroad-based missiles. Similarly, Sens. Alan Cranston of California and Brock Adams of Washington opposed the Bl bomber although their states earn billions of dollars from it. In Massachusetts, Rep. Chester Atkins' doubts about the "star wars" missile program outweighed his concern for protecting 5,000 jobs related to the space-based missile program, at Lincoln Laboratories, which is in his district But Dorgan's decision was particularly difficult Unlike others who have said no to military spending for their districts, he is not a dyed-in- selves on being able to withstand rugged winters and isolated life on the plains, voters are less likely to punish a politician for a single stand if they like and respect him. Officials at the Grand Forks Air Force Base said Dorgan chose the wrong issue to make his point, and Chamber of Commerce President Robert Gustafson said, "We're a little disappointed. Should Congress decide to fund the rail garrison, we think Grand Forks still is the best place to put it." Most community leaders, however, have applauded Dorgan's position. "No matter which side of the missile issue they're on, people have got to respect him," said Thomas Clifford, president of the University of North Dakota, whose main campus is in Grand Forks. "Taking such a risk is rare among people who are representing us today." Even Richard Wold, chairman of North Dakota's First National Bank and a longtime MX supporter, conceded that Dorgan has provided a standard for Congress on "its stewardship responsibilities over our tax dollars." the-wool liberal. And rather than opposing a new missile system, he was turning down an addition to an existing one in a region that already houses nuclear weapons. It also is tougher for House members to take controversial stands because they face the voters every two years. Another reason Dorgan's House speech has generated national attention is its timing: It suggested a way out of the stalemate between congressional Democrats, who insist on deeper defense cuts but balk at closing bases in their district and the Bush administration, which says such hypocrisy makes it impossible to reduce defense expenditures further. "I decided I just was not going to be part of that cycle anymore," the North Dakota Democrat said in an interview. "You'd support something in a colleague's district and they'd support something in yours. Pretty soon you're involved in a network of support for things that shouldn't be done in anyone's district." Dorgan, the only House member from this sparsely populated state, also was frustrated that the White House "has failed to respond to the most breathtaking changes worldwide in my lifetime, where the Warsaw Pact has evaporated overnight." And he said shifting money from defense is the only way the deficit-riddled federal government can provide "eyeglasses for a poor elderly person . . . food for a hungry child or a decent farm price for a family farmer." "All of us in public life, especially personified by George Bush, are far too unwilling to take some risks, to stand up and attempt to provide some leadership," Dorgan added. "We have to start thinking a little differently about things." A popular politician Dorgan's special circumstances helped him buck the political tide. He is exceedingly popular, winning his first race with 57 percent of the vote, never getting below 71 percent in four subsequent campaigns, and attracting more votes than any officeholder in North Dakota history in 1984. And in a state where people can still call the governor on the telephone and where they pride them said Mayor Michael Polovitz, who had been a strong booster of the mo-bile missile. More important, he added, " "when a leader of Dorgan's charac-; ter and beliefs says we shouldn't 2f support funding for missiles it gives you confidence to rethink your posi-tion. I really feel politicians have to "''''start saying what we believe and not Jx looking only at the pork barrel." J. ' Dorgan's conundrum began late "last year when the Pentagon picked the Grand Forks Air Force Base as one of seven sites where it hopes to r make MX missiles harder to find and jf? destroy by loading them on railroad c ; cars. 3f The Chamber of Commerce and -lJ 'nearly everyone else in Grand Forks ''assumed Dorgan was behind the '1 project After all, he had supported the MX research program and, as a J'? former state tax commissioner, he knew how the Air Force had helped f this city of 48,000 by providing 1,600 Planned Parenthood medical head quits over amendment Massachusetts voters who support keeping abortion legal. "If the right-to-lifers are at all smart they will focus right in on the 39-week-old fetus," he said. The language in the proposed amendment was agreed to last September by a "Coalition for Choice," which included Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, the Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women. Coalition members initially filed seven different versions of the amendment last summer, some with more liberal language, some more restrictive, but settled on the current version after extensive polling to test public support for each proposal. Although the amendment will not be on the ballot this November, it D ABORTION Continued from Page 1 - At issue is a clause in the proposed amendment allowing a woman to abort her fetus "at any time in cases of rape or incest or to protect the life and health of the mother." Under the proposed amendment all other abortions are limited to 24 weeks of pregnancy. The language could be before the voters for ratification by 1992. i "I'm against this referendum as it legalizes abortion up to delivery," Goldstein said in a telephone interview. "I cannot think of a single reason for aborting a healthy baby." : Goldstein, who is a longtime abortion-rights advocate, said he fears antiabortion forces will use the few rare cases of rape and incest to drive a wedge into the majority of will almost certainly become a key question for voters gauging the abortion-rights sympathies of the gubernatorial candidates. Last summer, Democratic candidates Lt Gov. Evelyn Murphy and Francis X Bellotti were locked in a bitter feud over whose abortion policy was more responsible. Although Murphy said she preferred no time restrictions on abortion rights, and Bellotti had called third-trimester abortions "extreme," both agreed to support the coalition's language in the proposed amendment Republican candidate William Weld appeared at a coalition press conference to sign his name to the petition supporting the amendment Boston University president John Silber, a Democratic candidate, has said he would prefer legislating abortion rights instead of tinkering l 1 UJ nrn Li with the constitution, but his spokeswoman, Michal Regunberg, said Silber supports the wording in the amendment Rep. John Flood (D-Canton) and Rep. Steven Pierce (R-Westfield), meanwhile, oppose abortion in most cases. Goldstein said other members of the state's medical community, including members of Planned Parent-hood's board of directors, share his opinion that the proposed amendment goes too far. But Dr. James Koch, a Brookline physician and Planned Parenthood board member, said his "small question" about the language did not deter him from supporting the amendment. "I would perhaps be happier if there were less latitude beyond 24 weeks," he said, "with better spelling 1 O FLIGHTS ON THE rcrrrr out of the circumstances under which a termination could take place after that time." But Koch said the medical profession was responsible enough not to abuse the latitude all-lowed for the rape, incest and health. . exceptions. And, Koch added, the Planned Parenthood board voted unanimously to support the language when it was presented last year. Susan Newsom, Planned Parent-hood's associate director, said the number of abortions performed after the 24th week, or second trimester, of pregnancy is "tiny." According to the State Department of Public Health, there were nine late trimester abortions of the 38,200 abortions performed in 1986, the last year for which figures are available. "Everybody's got their own am 12 HOUR BETWEEN BOSTON. NEW yi n i m bivalence," Newsom said. "Abortion is such a personal thing that people set personal criteria. The one thing we're united on is it should be a woman's decision and not the gov--ernment's." Like Murphy, the state chapter of the National Organization for Women supports more liberal language, but many local NOW chapters helped collect the 50,250 signatures needed to advance the amendment to the ballot The next step comes in May or June, when the amendment must receive the votes of 25 percent of the legislators meeting in a constitution-,al convention. Supporters of the amendment fear Senate President William Bulger (D-South Boston), who opposes abortion, will block the amendment from coming to a floor vote. YORK AND WASHINGTON. FT 4 OUT OF 5 RATE PAN AM SHUTTLE SUPERIOR. Just in, powerful numbers from a new customer survey. Frequent fliers of both shuttles were asked which they preferred. Among those who had a preference, 4 out of 5 rated The Corporate Jet superior in overall performance. l.nli llHli.llll l.lllllll I i ft CO 0

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,500+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Boston Globe
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free