WE'VE COME A LONG WAY

A summary of views, commentary and sometimes comedy compiled by The Harvard Crimson editorial staff.

The picture in yesterdays papers of Vice President Al Gore '69 with the drug smuggler Jorge Cabrera is one of the most sickening to be printed in recent years. While Gore provides a favorable grin, the fat and smug Cabrera laughs uncontrollably at the big joke that our national leadership has become.

Now not only are candidates for our highest public offices at the mercy of corporate and union behemoths, wealthy bankers, lawyers and Hollywood types who seek the influence and favor of the United States government, they have to be considerate of the criminal element as well.

This matter is no joke. Congressional investigators quoted in The New York Times contend that Cabrera's money was solicited by a Democratic fundraiser--in Havana. And, these sources say, Cabrera had a wallet photo of himself with none other than chief dictator Castro at the time of his most recent arrest, in which he was charged with smuggling 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the country through the Florida Keys.

We really have come a long way from the "Just Say No" campaign. And for all the fun we would like to make of Nancy Reagan as a parrot-headed teetotaler, at least her husband wasn't hanging with drug smugglers at Miami fundraisers. Whether Gore knew of Cabrera's nefarious background, it is clear that he should have. If he is to have any shot at capturing the White House in 2000, he had better make it his business to clean up campaign finance legislation so that candidates don't have to consort with the likes of scummy Cabrera.