[sixties-l] "A Liberal Critique: Bashing Bush's Cabinet Nominees"

From: William M. Mandel (wmmmandel@earthlink.net)
Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 00:43:32 EST

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    [The subject-line above ran over a story in the daily Tribune of San
    Luis Obispo on Jan. 13th reporting a talk of mine that seems to stand
    up well as the days go by:
        "Activist William Mandel told a gathering at Cal Poly Friday that
    liberals will weather the George W. Bush presidency if they can block
    the appointments of several cabinet nominees."
        "Mandel was a vocal opponent of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s and has
    been involved in high-profile civil rights battles since that time. He
    also was a radio talk show host in Berkeley from 1958 to 1995.
        "On Friday night, Mandel addressed a crowd of about 80 people --
    diverse in age and ethnicity -- as a precursor to a speech he will give
    Sunday at the annual SLO Arts Council Martin Luther King celebration in
    Pismo Beach. But where that talk will focus on civil rights and King's
    message, Mandel's speech Friday addressed how liberals will survive the
    next four years.
        "Though Mandel was critical of how Bush won the election, the
    84-year-old said he is more worried about some of the president-elect's
    cabinet choices.
        "'There are no liberals among the cabinet nominations, and there are
    five people who are simply intolerable,' Mandel said. His list includes
    attorney general nominee John Ashcroft, interior secretary nominee Gale
    Norton, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who is the Environmental
    Protection Agency nominee, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, the nominee to
    head the Department of Health and Human Services, and ousted labor
    nominee Linda Chavez.
        "The fact that Chavez withdrew her name after a scandal with an
    undocumented worker is good, Mandel said, in that it proves that Bush
    will work within the confines of the country's democracy.
        "'There was some question as to how extreme Bush would be,' Mandel
    said. 'I am a good deal less pessimistic today than I was when the
    Supreme Court selected Bush for the presidency.'
        "Mandel said liberals now must set their sights on Ashcroft, who he
    called 'the worst kind of bad news.'
        "'This is a man with just about a zero record on women's rights, who
    is totally against abortion and whose record on civil rights could not
    be worse.'
        "Mandel said he is heartened by a coalition of more than 200
    national organizations -- including the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club and the
    National Organization for Women -- opposing Ashcroft's appointment.
    Beyond Bush's cabinet, THE COALITION SHOULD REMAIN TOGETHER TO BRING A
    CANDIDATE TO THE WHITE HOUSE WHO WILL AFFECT CHANGE, MANDEL SAID.
        "'IF THE COALITION...CAN HOLD TOGETHER ON THE RANGE OF ISSUES IT
    REPRESENTS, WE COULD BE ON OUR WAY TO A COALITION FOR A PRESIDENTIAL
    CANDIDATE WHO WILL BRING ABOUT CHANGE. THIS, TO ME, IS THE FOUR-YEAR
    GOAL." [emphasis added]
        (For the full range of my views on public issues, and the lifetime
    of civic experience on which they are based, see my autobiography,
    Saying No To Power, published by Creative Arts, Berkeley, 1999).



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