Dems: what Kennedy wants
Washington — Buoyed by his five final-day primary victories, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is determined to make the road to political reconciliation with Jimmy Carter one that will place heavy -- but not impossible -- demands on the President.
The senator thinks that his showing in the primaries has earned him the right to put a liberal stamp on the Democratic National Convention and on the party platform. Mr. Kennedy claims the big states he carried -- Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and California -- are the heart of the Democratic Party.
The Monitor has learned from sources close to the senator that his "bottom line" requirements for the platform include a philosophical theme that is "clearly Kennedy." This theme would be expressed in the following planks:
* An assertion of party intentions to give assistance to those at the bottom of the income ladder -- including a specific government jobs program of large proportions.
* A commitment to go ahead immediately with a national health program that reflects the Kennedy proposal -- legislation that would require $30 billion to $ 40 billion in federal expenditures over the next few years.
* Support of a foreign policy that would apply a strict interpretation of the War Powers Act. It would call for a specific assertion of intent that the President seek the counsel and support of Congress before undertaking any initiative abroad involving the use of the military.
* Support of an energy policy that would limit consumption of oil by reducing supply rather than by price.
* Commitments to cities and minorities beyond those that the President has thus far provided -- and in line with Senator Kennedy's desires.
However, even though the senator did win five of the last eight primaries, including major ones in California and New Jersey, he still has no intention of making his demands too steep for rapprochement.
Kennedy sources say he is not likely "to push Carter to the wall" on proposals for wage-price controls and a big gasoline tax. The President already has said he would not accept those proposals.
Publicly, the senator still is "talking tough," as though he would be willing to risk tearing the party apart at the convention.
But, as a source close to the senator says: "Ted is a good Democrat. He'll stop short of wrecking the party."
Added a Kennedy worker June 4:
"Carter has an edge of some 700 or so delegates. That's an awfully big bulge. How is Kennedy going o get enough of those Carter supporters to vote for a rules change that would unpledge all the delegates on the first ballot?"
President Carter and Mr. Kennedy polled about an equal number of votes -- about 1.5 million each -- in the final eight primaries.
In addition to his other victories, the senator won is South Dakota, Rhode Island, and New Mexico. Mr. Carter won in Ohio, West Virginia, and Montana.
Mr. Carter ended up winning 23 of the 34 Democratic primaries, with Senator Kennedy taking the rest. The President's total of delegates, according to United Press International, now has reached 1,962 -- with 1,666 needed to nominate. Mr. Kennedy now has 1,212 delegates.
US Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland, the former four-term congressman from Minnesota, told reporters over breakfast June 4 that he though Senator Kennedy would "make peace at the convention. . . ."