The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, May 19, 1976, Image 2

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Page 2 THE BATTALION WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 1976 David S. Broder Ford’s predicament a sign of his lack of political vision GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Here in the President’s home town and almost anywhere else Republi cans gather, there is general puz zlement about the political predica ment in which Jerry Ford finds him self. How in the world did a personally popular fellow, who met his chal lenger head-on and beat him in five straight primaries before a loss, sud denly find himself campaigning des perately to avoid defeat in his home state? How did a palpably honest President, who has brought his party back from its worst disgrace, find himself trailing in the race for nomi nation? The answers to those questions — offered by longtime friends of the President in Grand Rapids, in Wash ington and in the Republican organi zation across the country — focus on one central shortcoming. It is the inability of Mr. Ford to define the goals, the vision and the purposes of his presidency in a way that gives coherence to his administration and to his campaign. It is the same vacuum that made this reporter comment last August, at the time of Mr. Ford’s first an niversary in office, that despite his growing demand of the mechanics of his job, despite the quality of his Cabinet appointments, despite the end of the Indo-China involvement and the improvement in the economy, he still seemed “a pro visional President.” That failure is described in many ways by the President’s well- wishers. A business executive says over lunch, “I can’t think of a single slogan he’s popularized in all this time except the WIN button. And that was stupid.’’ A high Republican official says, “He comes across as a blob of good intentions. There’s no pattern to it.” If the central problem of both the Ford presidency and the Ford cam paign is his failure to provide a vision of the future, then it is worth consid ering in the light of today’s political problems, the first critical decision Mr. Ford made as President. Some of his strongest supporters now argue that the choice of Vice Presi dent Rockefeller was a signal of prob lems to come. It is important to note that this criticism does not come from right wingers chronically embittered to ward Rockefeller. Nor is it intended to make Rockefeller the scapegoat for all of Mr. Ford’s political prob lems. The criticism is directed at Mr. Ford, not at Rockefeller. In its most basic form, it says that when the new President, a classic congressional conservative, chose as his legatee for the future leadership of the party and the country as conspicuous an advocate of activist government as the four-term governor of New York, he was telling the world that he had no clear sense of his own political purpose. It was, this view holds, a naked confession that Gerald Ford really had no philosophy of government and was ready to import one — no matter how much at odds it seemed with his own approach. But there were also political con sequences from the choice of Roc kefeller that look more important in retrospect than they did at the time. The Rockefeller nomination gave the sunbelt conservatives in the GOP their first reason for unhappiness with Mr. Ford, and that region pro vided the base of what is still Ronald Reagan’s constituency. Animus to ward Rockefeller’s closest friend in Washington, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, has fed the Reagan campaign. The inability of the President to “be presidential” and to stay above politics is traceable, at least in part, to the fact that the Vice President, who normally handles the political chores for an administration, has been shelved. The dropping of Roc kefeller from the 1976 ticket was, in this view, not only a confession of the major misjudgment involved in his selection, but a serious handicap to the President during this period of political conflict. Some of those who make this ar gument now recall their support at the time for an alternative candidate, George Bush of Texas, then the Re publican national chairman and now the director of the Central Intelli gence Agency. An organized effort directed by Nebraska Republican leader Richard L. Herman, was mounted to persuade Mr. Ford to take Bush. If Bush were Vice President, his backers now ask, would there have been any excuse for a southern- western rebellion against the admin istration? Or would the first flicker of support for Reagan have been snuf fed out from the start? Would the party regulars who had worked closely with Bush as national chairman have been as ready to listen to the siren song of Reagan’s appeal? Would Texas — whose pri mary established the credibility of Reagan’s insurgency — have denied every single delegate to a President who had picked a Texan as his running-mate? The questions are unanswerable. But they are being asked — not by the President’s critics but by some of his strongest supporters. And they fear— for reasons to be outlined in a later column — that Mr. Ford has yet to pay his biggest price for his fateful vice presidential choice? (c) 1976, The Washington Post Company Cbe Battalion Opinions expressed in The Battalion are those of the editor or of the writer of the article and are not necessarily those of the university administration or the Board of Regents. The Battal ion is a non-profit, self supporting enterprise operated by stu dents as a university and community newspaper. Editorial policy is determined by the editor. LETTERS POLICY Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words and are subject to being cut to that length or less if longer. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit such letters and does not guaran tee to publish any letter. Each letter must be signed, show the address of the writer and list a telephone number for verifica tion. Address correspondence to Listen Up, The Battalion, Room 217, Services Building, College Station, Texas 77843. Represented nationally by National Educational Advertising Servic es, Inc., New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Mail subscriptions are $16.75 per semester; $33.25 per school year; $35.00 per full year. All subscriptions subject to 5% sales tax. Advertis ing rates furnished on request. Address: The Battalion, Room 217, Services Building, College Station, Texas 77843. Rights of reproduction of all matter herein are reserved. Second-Class postage paid at College Station, Texas. Editor Jerry Needham Managing Editor Richard Chamberlain Photographer Steve Goble The Speaker Reports i c ^?e cjurquoise^Slipy By Bill Clayton AUSTIN — During the past week in Austin the three House commit tees involved in seeking out ways to put the brakes on runaway gas prices in the State had the opportunity to fill in the gaps in their information about the price our consumers are having to pay. We received a great deal of infor mation from a great number of people involved in all aspects of the situation. Among those providing us with in formation were spokesmen for con sumer organizations, farmers and ranchers and rural electric coopera tives. Likewise we heard what the petrochemical industry, the gas ser vice companies and the pipeline transmission companies had to say. Wildcat producers, independent producers, oil and gas associations, major companies and royalty owners were also heard. The Public Utilities Commission, the Governor’s Energy Advisory Council, scientists and a liberal sprinkling of other interested parties were heard over a three day period. As the hearings began, I asked the 30 lawmakers who were involved to keep in mind that anything less than a 10 per cent reduction in customer utility bills would be of no conse quence. I reiterated that when we decide on a course of action that we must provide substantial benefits to the consumer, but we must not erode the State’s tax base nor must our proposals have the effect of reducing exploration and expansion of the gas industry. There is no doubt that we now have a most substantial bloc of in formation on the natural gas situa tion in Texas. Through the remainder of May our committees will be including this information into the data they previously gathered. I have asked for a report and recommendations from each committee by early June. With the cumulative information we will then be in a position to de termine if we have enough meat to warrant asking for a special legisla tive session. The facts we were presented by many of those testifying at the hear ings had a sobering effect on those who would like to roll back natural gas prices. I think the message we got was that cheap energy has be come an extinct species. We can’t resurrect that corpse. What we in the Legislature are try ing to do is put a sharp pencil to the bottom line of utility costs and use every means we have to help our citizens pay the price that is going to have to be paid. Administration summer seminar to he held here June 11 is registration deadline for Texas A&M’s 10th academic ad ministration seminar offering a con centrated leadership-program to new heads of Texas educational in stitutions. This year’s workshop is July 18-23, announced Dean of Edu cation Dr. Frank W. R. Hubert. Presidents of Texas institutions submit nominations. Thirty-five par ticipants are chosen for the seminar fi om the ranks of new or prospective presidents, vice presidents, deans, chairmen or department heads. They spend two days reviewing needs and issues of Texas higher education, then launch into refining decision-making skills. MANOR EAST MALL PRICES FROM $6.00 — UP 10% AGGIE DISCOUNT WITH I.D. CARD fil OPEN 11:00 A.M. DAILY W® HAIR by THE VARSITY SHOP HAIR CARE FOR GUYS & GALS 301 PATRICIA NORTHGATE 846-7401 BRYAN, TEXAS CHARISMATIC TEACHING SEMINAR DR. HOBART FREEMAN Dr. Freeman will be teaching the “End-Time” message of Faith for Healing, Deliverance and An swers to Prayer. DR. HOBART FREEMAN Dates: May 26, 27, 28, & 29 Time: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, & Saturday- 7:30 P.M. Dr. Freeman, Speaker Saturday - 10:30 A.M. Bruce Kinsey, Speaker Location: Bryan Civic Auditorium Coulter Drive Bryan, Texas ^ s This For ^ Spirit of y 76 ^ 'it. Peniston Cafeteria Open Monday-Friday Beginning May 31 For Cash Operation This Summer Breakfast 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Lunch 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. FREE With Every $5.00 Purchase or More — One Old-Fashioned Milk Bottle FREE With Every $25.00 Purchase or More — One Old-Fashioned Milk Rack DEPARTMENT OF FOOD SERVICES TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY “Quality First” SPECIAL NOTICE OPTIONAL BOARD PLAN Summer students may dine on the board plan during the first session of summer school at Texas A&M University. Each board student may dine three meals each day except Sunday evening if the seven day plan is elected, and three meals each day, Monday through Friday, if the five day plan is preferred. Each meal is served in the Commons. Fees for each session are payable to the Controller of Accounts, Fiscal Office, Coke Building. Board fees for each plan are as follows: PLANS Seven Day — $139.00 Five Day — $124.00 FIRST SESSION May 31 through July 3 and July 6-7 Day students, including graduate students may purchase either of the board plans.