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Political name-calling muddies the election
Put on the trenchcoats and get out the umbrellas, ladies
and gentlemen. The way the mud is flying this time of
year, you can’t be too sure where it’s going to land.
Political mud, that is. You know, the stuff questionable
campaigns are made of. The kind that comes from the
dirty hands of politicians and lands on the faces of their
usually equally dirty opponents.
It’s no mystery that most politicians enter election races
equipped with a supply of ready-to-use filth. After all, the
tradition of mud-slinging is right up there with kissing
babies, handshaking and telling bad jokes.
But lately, muckraking has taken on a whole new role in
campaigns, becoming more of a crutch than a supplemen
tal activity for political contenders.
This year, candidates in Pennsylvania as well as
throughout the entire nation seem intent on exploiting any
insinuation they can dig up, any innuendo they can play up
and any imputation they can make up against their rivals
in hopes of winning the public’s support.
They’re convinced that burying rivals in a backbiting
quagmire can make them look like proverbial knights in
shining armor coming to the rescue of each and every
What the politicians don’t realize is that playing upon a
rival’s legitimate weaknesses works best when used with
discretion. Simply lashing out at an opponent with the hope
he or she will be branded a loser by the public is a juvenile
and blatant political ploy.
It seems some candidates avoid important topics alto
gether and resort to character assasination to compensate
for a lack of political courage and/or knowledge. If they
had stronger records and more faith in their personal
abilities as statesmen they would not have to rely so
heavily on making their opponents look bad.
Perhaps what is most disheartening about the entire
situation is listening to political rivals whine about being
the victims of a smear campaign while they simulta
neously take aim at opponents with a handful of verbal
sludge. Some politicians can’t even sling mud graciously.
The public is becoming tired of all the defamations
disguised as television campaign ads; the speeches de
voted to slamming the opponent; the time wasted at
Activism vs. apathy:
Students are the most powerful force on campus and must realize their power lies in tuition
Some would say that the following songs
describe their decades well.
19605: “The Times They Are A-Changin’”
by Bob Dylan.
1980 s: “I Don’t Care Anymore” by Phil
I was quietly sitting in my room the other
day, drinking some Perrier water and read
ing Plato’s Republic when an activist sud
denly burst into my room. I thought
activists went out of style 10 years ago.
I took in the activist from head to toe. She
definitely was a Mod, one of those English
types of the mid-1960s who wore black and
called for social rebellion.
She suddenly began talking. “I’m just
involved in too many causes for my own
good. I just got back from some divestment
rally and a reggae concert. Don’t you just
love reggae?” She started to dance around
“Oh, you mean that music with unintellig
ible lyrics which you’re supposed to smoke
six-foot long joints while listening to?” I
“You’re just like all the other students
here. You’re boring and apathetic.” After
she was done with the moral lesson she left
If I hear another person condemning us
for being apathetic in the 1980 s, I’m going to
get sick. You know what I mean. These
people question why we’re so apathetic and
yearn for a return to the social conscious
ness of the 19605.
For one thing the romanticism surround
ing the 1960 s is false. Someone once said the
1960 s were two people having a good party
and everyone else was trying to find it. Our
memories tend to color past events and
debates because each candidate insists on getting the last
Three races that directly affect the Centre Region have
had more than their share of negative advertising. All
candidates involved Bill Wachob and Bill Clinger ; Bob
Casey and Bill Scranton; Bob Edgar and Arlen Specter
have thrown enough mud to reduce the races to nothing
more than mere shouting matches.
May we offer a bit of last-minute advice, candidates?
You have one week until election day. Please stop acting
like children trying to win a useless game of name-calling.
Stick with the issues and stop trying to stick it to your
The voters deserve better than having to listen to a
barrage of rude comments aimed at your opponents.
Believe it or not, you’ll probably get more votes and
respect from voters if you provide them with helpful facts
and background to make truly informed decisions at the
polls, rather than bombarding them with useless propa
ganda against your rival.
When Joepa talks . .
Head Football Coach Joe Paterno knows how to win
football games; that is unquestionable. But the aura of His
infallibility should not spill over into other temporal
realms, such as politics.
Indeed, Paterno’s record at semantic games is not as
impressive as on the field. Paterno has taped radio and
television commercials supporting U.S. Rep. William F.
Clinger’s re-election and has made campaign appearances
for him and Republican incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.
Yet Paterno contends that His actions are not an
endorsement. Well if it’s not an endorsement, we don’t
know what it is. Webster’s defines the word endorse as “to
approval of publicly and definitely.”
A University spokesman said in The New York Times
that Paterno was acting as a private citizen. But everyone
realizes that Paterno is a very public figure and that His
actions will gain attention.
He should be the first to realize that and not try to pull
the pigskin over our eyes by refusing to admit that an
endorsement is an endorsement is an endorsement.
make them seem better than they really
were. That is the case here.
The extent of the 1960 s counterculture is
also exaggerated. The majority of the stu
dents of the 1960 s weren’t hippies or activ
ists. Someone had to be operating the ROTC
buildings which were being bombed.
All in all, the “revolution” of the 1960 s
was a failure. The Vietnam War did not end
for another five years. Love did not replace
materialism. One only has to listen to the
spokesmen of the age, the musicians, to
relaize this. Bob Dylan turned into a coun
try singer. The lyrics to The Who’s “Won’t
Get Fooled Again” and Led Zeppelin’s
“Stairway to Heaven” acknowledge the
Why did the 1960 s revolution fail and why
are we so apathetic now? The answer is that
we are mostly concerned with ourselves.
When we are faced with insecurity over
our financial futures, social issues go right
out the window. The “let me get myself set
before I help anyone else” attitude. Don’t
get me wrong I don't fault people for it;
it’s human nature.
'I wish Bill Wachob would decide on
the format of his campaign. For the
past several months Wachob has at
tempted to lambaste Rep. Bill Cling
er’s voting record. His chief theme
has been that Clinger has not fought
hard enough to bring federal dollars
into the district. Wachob and his
Democratic colleague Sen. Gary Hart
tried to sell us with the old Kennedy
classic “Ask not what your country
can do for you. Ask what you can do
for your country.”
Wachob is sending us two clearly
conflicting messages. I would like to
suggest to Wachob that he stick to the
latter of the two aforementioned
ploys for the remainder of his cam
paign. If Wachob tries to get himself
elected on the grounds that he will
make the House Appropriations Com
mittee finally take notice of the 23rd
district, he will have to face some
disenchanted voters in a re-election
bid two years down the road if he wins
Wachob seems to consider himself
as an omnipotent personality who will
storm Congress and shake the House
to its roots. The most effective con
gressmen are those with seniority. If
the issue is the ability to draw atten
tion to our district, the choice is
crystal clear: Clinger.for Congress.
One of the most serious problems in
criminal justice is that politicians
often vote on crime policies on the
basis how the votes will look in the
next election rather than on whether
the policies will work.
The important thing is whether the
policies will work. Voting against a
policy that looks “tough” but works
badly might be good for crime control
but is dangerous for a politician. We
have a good example in this elelction.
Bill Wachob is being criticized for
voting against three bills that all
looked “tough” on crime. Despite
thier appearance of being “tough,” it
was well known at the time that each
bill would harm rather than help
The worst of the three bills was
fortunately defeated, but the other
two passed and* have been law for
several years. I don’t think you could
find a single person who is both
politically neutral and knowledgeable
about these laws who would say that
they have had a positive impact on
Most would say the laws have been
somewhat harmful. In our press con
ference, I described why these bills
are harmful to crime control and
The Daily Collegian’s editorial opin
ion is determined by its Board of
Opinion, with the editor holding
final responsibility. Opinions ex
pressed on the editorial pages are
not necessarily those of The Daily
Collegian, Collegian Inc. or The
Pennsylvania State University.
Collegian Inc., publishers of The
Dally Collegian and related publica
tions, is a separate corporate insti
tution from Penn State.
To prove that money talks, let’s look at
divestment. This effort will only succeed
when about 10,000 students decide not to pay
their tuition in protest. Let’s get back on
track. What has caused the economic
squeeze in the 1980 s? The nswer is popula
tion. There are too many people out there
competing for jobs. But the end is in sight.
The working population is decreasing,
and within a few years the job market will
loosen up. And as sure as the sun will rise
tomorrow, campuses across the nation will
again be infected with social activism.
The students are the most powerful force
on campus. We just have to realize our
power lies in our tuition payments. Any
other effort is analagous to banging one’s
head up against a walk
What can be said for the 20 or so activists
now on campus? Although I admire what
they do, their time is not now. By not
realizing this, they are cutting themselves
off from their time and the community. A
person disconnected "in time and place be
haves like an unanchored ship and usually
Tuesday, Oct. 28,1986
©1986 Collegian Inc.
Anita C. Huslin
William G. Landis Jr.
But I’m not writing for the 20 activists
here. I’m writing for all those people fright
ened by the prospects of not having a job
upon graduation. What I’m saying is “ease
A human being is composed of both the
material and the spiritual. Although eco
nomic hard times are a reality, to ignore the
spiritual in pursuit of material gain is to
lead a very unhappy life.
Now if you enjoy engineering or business,
pursue it with all your enthusiasm, but if
you’re in them for economic reasons, get
out. Your mental health is at stake.
Now pfter I’m finished listening to Dy
lan’s “My Back Pages,” I’m going to put on
some Genesis, get out a pair of jams, grab a
wine cooler and just sit back and relax. I
just have to make sure I’ve got some money
or a credit card if I need something.
Brian Metrick is a sophomore majoring in
history and a columnist for The Daily Colle
gian. His column appears every other Tues
The Daily Collegian
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1986
asserted that a vote against these
bills was not being “soft on crime.”
The press ignored these arguments
and portrayed the press conference
as part of the routine “charge-coun
tercharge” of the election campaign.
I felt discouraged about that, and
even more discouraged when I read
my colleague Ed Donovan’s letter in
The Daily Collegian.
I had gone out of my way to have
him read and comment on my
statement before the conference. I
thought he understood what I was
trying to do, but I guess I was wrong.
I have not endorsed Wachob in this
election, but I believe that when a
politician has voted responsibly for
crime control and is being made to
pay a political price for it, criminal
justice experts ought to say so. Other
wise, how will we ever get a decent
criminal justice system?
Thomas J. Bernard
administration of justice
After reading The Daily Collegian
opinion page last week, I feel the
record of Rep. Bill Clinger on educa
tion has been severely misinter
Many believe Clinger has done
nothing but cut federal aid to stu
dents. It is a shame these naive
students, such as the ones writing the
recent opinion letters, do not really
know what Clinger has done for the
students of Penn State.
To start, Clinger has sponsored, co
sponsored and voted for at least five
different bills for education. These
bills have ranged from saving student
aid from Gramm-Rudman Budget
cuts to providing summer jobs to
disadvantaged high school students.
Clinger has also been actively in
volved in obtaining federal appro
priations for Penn State, which has
increased by 30 percent since Clinger
took office. He has fought to maintain
or increase federal aid since coming
to office and the record shows it.
Overall funding is up 23 percent from
1980 with Pell Grants and Guaranteed
Student Loans increasing 37 percent
and 39 percent respectively over that
To re-elect Clinger this November
would only benefit the students of
Penn State in the future. As former
President Ford has stated, “He
(Clinger) has clout, he has influence
in the House. The higher you sit on the
seniority list, the more effective you
To re-elect Clinger to another term
means increased security for the
students of today and tomorrow.
Michael J. Fischer
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courages comments on news coverage,
editorial policy and University affairs.
Letters must be typewritten, double
spaced and no longer than one and one
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than three pages.
Students’ letters should include se
mester standing, major and campus of
the writer. Letters from alumni should
Include the major and year of graduation
of the writer. All writers should provide
their address and phone number for
verification of the letter. Letters should
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Names may be withheld on request.
The Collegian reserves the right to edit
letters for length and to reject letters if
they are libelous or do not conform to
standards of good taste. Because of the
number of letters received, the Collegian
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letters it receives. Letters may also be
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Collegian. All letters received become
the property of Collegian Inc.
Letters and forums from University
Park and. State College: Please deliver
any submissions in person at the office
of The Daily Collegian.
Tuesday, October 28,1986
TALK TO Tl’s MAJOR
PRODUCT & SERVICE
Tl’s technical managers want to
see you. They want to tell you
about the job opportunities in the
many technologies which make
Texas Instruments a leader in elec^
That’s why TI is having a Job
Fair on the Pehn State campus,
October 28 through 30. It gives
the company three days to bring in
key engineers and managers to
meet you. They’ll come from TI
labs and sites to describe programs,
answer questions, and schedule
If you’re a top student, partio
ularly in EE or Computer Science,
this is an event you won’t want to
For more information,
please contact the
Penn State Placement Service.
SIGN UP FOR
INTERVIEWS IF YOU
Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degrees
• Electrical Engineering
• Mechanical Engineering
• Industrial Engineer
• Materials Technoloj
• Computer Science
• MBA with technic
Briefings and sign-u
interviews: 10 a.m. to 5 i
October 28, HUB Ballroc
Interviews (by appoi:
October 29 and 30.
Please bring your resum<
a copy of your transcript or a
An Equal Opportunity
Creating useful produc
and services for you.
The Daily Collci