Politics Is 'Noble Profession,' Says Illinois Senator at IOP

By March 1980, conservative candidate Phillip M. Crane was trailing far behind Ronald Reagan and George Bush in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. But State Sen. Mark Q. Rhoads (R-III.), campaign manager for Crane in Illinois, stayed with his candidate until the end.

According to Rhoads, who is spending this semester at Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP), personal friendship and loyalty prevented him leaving Crane mid-way through the unsuccessful presidential bid.

Most people and universities "think that nice people don't want to become involved with politics," Rhoads says. But, he adds, politics is "a good and noble profession."

He says the IOP "is dedicated to that same idea. Unfortunately, Harvard is one of the only places where I've found this attitude."

The IOP, which was established a decade and a half ago, is designed to foster an understanding of politics at the University.

At Harvard, Rhoads, who is a member of the Illinois Economic and Fiscal commission and the founder of the state's Conservative Union, plans to study Article 5 of the United States Constitution, which has been the subject of national debate in recent years. Opponents of abortion and forced school busing have invoked Article 5, which outlines procedure for constitutional conventions, in their attempt to enact constitutional curbs on such practices.

In the constitutional convention held in 1787, the Articles of Confederation were supposed to be revised, but "they ended up being scrapped," Rhoads says. "People fear that if there is another convention, the same thing could happen with this Constitution."

Rhoads says a new convention should be called only if Congress enacts clear guidelines beforehand and if only one issue is selected for discussion. His list of possible Constitutional topics includes statehood for the District of Columbia, the Equal Rights Amendment and the Human Rights Amendment

A 1971 graduate of Loyola University in Chicago Rhoads describes himself as a "token conservative President Reagan "is doing a good job, he says "But we will have to keep up the pressure on him so he doesn't go the way of Ford and Nixon in diluting his principles.