Busting the Boomlet: Why Nunn Isn't the One

By Corn, David; Morley, Jefferson | The Nation, May 21, 1988 | Go to article overview

Busting the Boomlet: Why Nunn Isn't the One


Corn, David, Morley, Jefferson, The Nation


Instead of "What does Jesse Jackson want?" the operative political question of the 1988 presidential campaign may now be, "What doesn't Jesse Jackson want?" One thing Jesse Jackson may not want-and may well be able to prevent -is Senator Sam Nunn serving as Michael Dukakis's running mate.

Nunn and Jackson are the polar opposites of the Democratic Party. Jackson advocates expanding the party's base and distinguishing it from the Republicans. Nunn, the Democrat from Georgia who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the great white hope of the party's small but vocal conservative faction. Nunn counsels that the Democrats' chances of capturing the White House in 1988 depend on winning back white male voters in the South and on closing the perceived difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Nunn, a current sweetheart of the Great Mentioner, is enjoying a vice-presidential boomlet, as Dukakis appears the likely nominee. Nunn has the blessings of many inside-the-beltway journalists and other regulars of the conventional-wisdom crowd. He has hinted that he might be interested in the number-two spot-if he could be Secretary of Defense as well. Thus far, Jackson has been carefully noncommittal on the subject of the vice presidency, for himself or anyone else.

Nunn would bring to the Democratic ticket a voting record that is remarkably pro-Reagan. According to Congressional Quarterly's annual analysis, Nunn ranks as one of Reagan's most reliable votes among Democrats. During the Reagan years, his "presidential support" rating has ranged from 58 to 70 percent. In 1985 he edged out Howell Heflin for the dubious honor of the most consistent Democratic supporter of Reagan in the Senate. Nunn never provided much campaign help to other Democrats in Congress until the 1986 Senate elections -when, according to Georgia political observers, Nunn's operatives were gearing up for a possible presidential race.

In the past year, Nunn has won much praise for his successful challenge to the Reagan Administration's campaign to dump the "strict" reading of the 1972 antiballistic missile treaty and substitute its own implausible interpretation. By doing so, Nunn complicated the Administration's effort to proceed with certain Star Wars tests. But the glow created by that accomplishment has led many observers to overlook the rest of Nunn's record and classify him-erroneously -as some kind of moderate.

In fact, save for the ABM reinterpretation fight, Nunn is an outright Boll Weevil conservative, whose much-heralded "moderation" is a phenomenon of the Reagan years, during which the political spectrum shifted to the right. Nunn, who supported George Wallace in 1972, earned his Washington reputation in the late 1970s by proposing to revive the draft and build the neutron bomb. In 1977 he led the rightwing fight against Paul Warnke, President Jimmy Carter's arms control negotiator. (Which is perhaps why Carter, in a not-so-subtle slap at his fellow Georgian, has been touting Jackson as a strong vice-presidential nominee.)

Last year Nunn opposed a Democratic initiative to cut Star Wars funding from $4.5 billion to $3.7 billion. He voted against a moratorium on antisatellite weapons. He opposed a measure that would have compelled the Administration to stick to the limitations of the SALT II agreement. He has also backed the MX missile, cast a deciding vote in favor of chemical weapons and supported military aid to the contras. In 1986 he was one of eight Democrats to vote against a plus-inflation-only limit on the Pentagon's budget. He has not been a consistent supporter of Senate measures involving sanctions against South Africa, either.

Nunn's reputation as a moderate is the result of a few highly publicized occasions when he tried to split the difference between the Reagan Administration and Democratic positions. For example, he agreed to vote for contra aid in 1985 on the condition that the Administration place the contras under "civilian" control, curb their human rights abuses and establish a university for them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Busting the Boomlet: Why Nunn Isn't the One
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.