McNamara: Let Him Talk


To the Editors of The Crimson:

This fall, as in many years past, students return to the bastion of liberal liberal-arts education that is Harvard University. Most of them accept, even take for granted, the right to freedom of speech guaranteed there under the First Amendment. They champion liberal thought and government by electing supposedly free-thinking politicians to represent them.

Unfortunately, these politicians sometimes disregard the rights of their supporters--failing to inform them of their positions on the issues. As the November 2nd election approaches. Tip O'Neil continues to refuse to debate his opponent. Frank McNamara. As a concerned voter, I want to exercise my right to hear each candidate's position on the issues.

Many Massachusetts voters have been well trained to vote for Tip O'Neil year after year without re-examining his stand on the issues or his voting record. Yet, in this time of economic and political instability, it is important to re-evaluate what Tip O'Neill really stands for. In a district where voter registration is 8-to-1 Democratic, surely Tip has nothing to fear from newcomer Frank McNamara '69. Why, then, is an experienced 69-year-old politician who has debated the President on national television afraid to debate a 34-year-old Boston lawyer on his home turf?

I can suggest several reasons. The last man to run against Tip got only 22 percent of the popular vote. Yet in 1980 Carter beat Reagan here by less than 2-to-1. Something is happening in Tip's district and the crafty old politician can feel it in his bones. You see, if Tip did debate Frank McNamara, perhaps the predominately conservative Democrats of the district would realize that tired Tip still represents the machine-style politics of the old Democratic Party. Tip's political style is to play shell games with the money of society's productive members and pay for the exercise through inflation.


McNamara himself once believed in the same political games Tip advocates. But his four years at Harvard with Democrats who ridiculed the U.S. and its political system turned him toward the Republicans. McNamara points out that Tip knows better than most how to redistribute wealth but he doesn't know how to create it. Not surprising, considering that only five months out of Tip's 69 years were spent in the private sector.

All McNamara wants from Tip O'Neill is a chance to debate on the issues, to let the voters choose a winner based on accurate information--not habit. Frank McNamara wants to help put America on a diet that will unclog her financial arteries and restore her to health. He wants to cut the fat out of government. Most of all, however, Frank McNamara simply wants an opportunity to provide the voters with a clear alternative. Should McNamara be given this chance, I have to wonder whether Tip's electoral fears will be confirmed come November 2. Susan Vaughan '85   Winthrop House