Political Women in the News A good many women in business or
politics don't like being in the news—-
at least not as women. They wish to
be recognized and judged on deeds
and ability as persons, not singled out
for any special comment because of
Fair enough. But with women rightly gaining more and more prominence
in many fields, it may be quite a
while before there's escape from a
special spotlight for those who rise in
any arena traditionally dominated by
Take Bella Abzug, the former Democratic New York City Congress
member who to the astonishment of
just about everybody, including Bella,
was fired by President Carter as
co-chairman of his National Advisory
Committee on Women.
Bella, who wears a hat so much that
some might not recognize her without
one, is so independent that by one
account she ignored in Congress the
rule that members never wear hats
while on the floor.
The fact Abzug held a woman's job
made her discharge particularly
newsworthy. The event attracted even
more attention because, as a militant
worker for women's rights, she
became an immediate rallying point
for women of like views.
Women In public life certainly have
a point, though, when they note that
they shouldn't and can't be stereotyped. The newest and, indeed, the
only woman in the U.S. Senate has yet
to be fitted into any particular mold
or category by colleagues and
observers. She is Nancy Landon Kas-
sebaum of Kansas.
But whether she seeks it or not,
and friends are convinced she doesn't.
Sen. Kassebaum is likely to receive
more notice than most members of
that august body. And not because she
is the daughter of 1936 Republican
presidential candidate Alf Landon,
who is vigorous and active at 91. It's
said she "seldom took his advice
during her successful campaign."
Indeed, slender, 5 foot 2 Kassebaum
came to Washington with a background of independence in word and
deed that astonished friend and foe
during her campaign. As reported in
an AP account from Kansas, she:
• Disavowed the label "feminist"
and failed to win endorsement from
the Kansas Women's Political Caucus
after she opposed extension of the
ratification deadline for the Equal
• Opposed parity farm prices supported by her opponent. (But one state
farm leader said, "I think I admired
her more for taking that stand than if
she'd said what we came to hear."
• Was in the basement of her home
ironing her sons' shirts when Barbara
Walters telephoned her campaign
headquarters election night to say
Kassebaum had been declared the
winner by ABC.
• Enjoys sudden political status, but
says she'd still be home tending to
domestic chores if she and her husband hadn't separated in 1975. At that
point, she took three of their four
children—the eldest was in college—
and went to work at Washington for
Kansas Sen, James Pearson. After
Pearson decided in October 1977 to
retire, she decided to run herself.
A reader writes: "How can you say
that recognition of Red China 'had to
come sometime,' as you did a few
weeks ago, after having mentioned
time and again what a 'great job' is
being done by the people of
A good question, but no problem.
The people of Taiwan have indeed
done a great job, but many of the
island's admirers, including this one,
have recognized that the situation vis
a vis Mainland China probably
wouldn't continue Indefinitely. The hope and belief has been that
Taiwan's interests should be protected
in every possible way in connection
with any change in U.S. policy, specifically a change involving recognition of the People's Republic of
U.S. representatives appear to be
working at doing just that and the
current Peking leadership has shown
moderation up to now in its approach.
It's true, however, that as "a part of
China"—even with special status—
Taiwan certainly will not enjoy the
freedom it has had.
Meantime, considerable restraint
seems apparent. Taiwan, said President Carter, is being given one year's
notice of termination of the U.S.Taiwan treaty "in accordance with
the treaty's own provisions."
He conceded that the United States
and China did not agree on the point
that the U.S. would continue to sell
defensive weapons to Taiwan. However, he said, the Chinese "went
ahead with normalization"
Ground rules for further steps will
certainly be reviewed during the coming White House visit of Vice Premier
Note: It's a time, said one commentator, when "strange things are
happening ail around." He was referring to the invitation extended Richard Nixon to the White House dinner
for Teng, and asked "Who'd have
thought it, considering what candidate
Carter was saying about Nixon in his
The fact is Teng had expressed a
desire to see Nixon. But President
Carter also supported the invitation as
appropriate considering Nixon's primary involvement in getting the
United States' back on a speaking
acquaintance with Peking in 1972.
Saying a Mouthful
Nomination for "understatement of
the year to-date":
"I believe the nation agrees with me
that we must restrain federal spending.' '—President Carter.
Miller recently retired as chairman
of the board of directors of Gannett
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