REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
- An interview with Senator John Glenn, presidential candidate:
Q. Thomas Jefferson once said that he thought his legacy would be his authorship of the Declaration of Independence, the founding of the University of Virginia, and the authorship of a statute for religious freedom. Whether or not you achieve the presidency, what would you like your legacy to have been?
A. I don't think there's any one thing. We live in very complex times, and Jefferson's time, perhaps, or those things that he stressed back then were perhaps as important as anything that could have been done in his particular day. . . . . (New York Times, December 27, 1983)
- Former Vice President and current presidential candidate Walter Mondale explains his views on Grenada:
. . . . It is now clear that many of the claims that the Administration made for justifying their intervention were speculative and in many cases not bound in truth.
A. Well sure, they said that the Cubans and the Soviets were about to set up a base. Or that they were asked in by the neighbors. All of those things and other facts, alleged facts, at the time-you know, we got there just in time, I think was the argument. I think it's very dubious. The thing that, however, bothers me is that if I as President of the United Slates came to the conclusion that Americans were in trouble and that force were necessary to protect them, which just might have been the case in Grenada, I may have had to move in on a rescue effort, and so I have restrained myself from drawing a conclusion that's different from that realization. Now the evidence there is problematical. It goes both directions. But when people like [Democratic Congressman] Mike Barnes, whom I greatly respect and I talked with him when he got back, have reached the conclusion that Americans were in fact in danger, that concerns me. (New York Times, December 26, 1983)
- Richard Nixon had Tanya, Ronald Reagan has "Ivan and Anya":
Suppose, for a moment, Ivan and Anya found themselves in a waiting room or sharing a shelter from the rain with Jim and Sally, and there was no language barrier to keep them from getting acquainted. Would they debate the difference between their respective governments? Or would they find themselves comparing notes about their children and what each other aid for a living?
Before they parted company, they would probably have touched on ambitions, hobbies, and what they wanted for their children and the problems of making ends meet. And as they went their separate ways, Anya would be saying to Ivan, "Wasn't she nice? She also teaches music." Jim would be telling Sally what Ivan did or didn't like about his boss. They might even have decided that they were all going to get together for dinner some evening soon.
Above all, they would have proven that people don't make wars. . . . (Los Angeles Times, January 17, 1984)
- Under the headline "Disgusted Liberal Plans to Retire," Congressman Richard Ottinger explains why:
Q. What do you think of the current methods of financing campaigns?
A. It is a perfectly heinous system that we have. To me, the difference between a bribe and a campaign contribution is almost indiscernible. It is by far the most disagreeable part of the job, I spent more than $100,000 in the first race, most of it my own. In the Senate campaign, we almost wrecked the family fortune. (New York Times, January 26, 1984)
- Godfrey Sperling, Jr. reports the profundity of Washington power broker and former Johnson Administration Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford:
Clark Clifford is widely acknowledged to be one of Washington's wise men, truly an elder statesman. Recently he met with several foreign-policy experts who asserted that "the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union is worse today than it has ever been since the close of World War II."
Added Clifford: "I believe that. And I think it is the most regrettable development of the last three years." "For the first time," Clifford said, his knowledgeable informants were telling him the Soviets "now regard the U.S. as their enemy." Clifford said this all stems directly from the President's belligerent rhetoric and his failure to pursue closer ties with the Soviets. (Christian Science Monitor, January 11, 1984)
- Viktor Tsoppi, writer for the Soviet political weekly New Times, breaks official Soviet silence on George Orwell's 1984: "For more than 30 years this novel has been interpreted as a 'portrait' of Soviet society and of real socialism in general [but instead] his novel is a grim warning precisely to bourgeois society, bourgeois civilization, bourgeois democracy. . . ." Modern America is the true object of Orwell's message: According to Tsoppi, Ronald Reagan claims to be "the inexhaustible source of wisdom, happiness and virtue." (New York Times, January 8, 1984)
- Marshall Nikolai V. Ogarkov, the Soviet Union's chief of the General Staff, in response to a Western reporter's query whether he had seen the television film "The Day After," which depicts the effects of a (Soviet) nuclear strike on a Kansas town: "I have seen the film, and I believe that the danger it depicts is real." (New York Times, December 11, 1983)