Commentator Interview: Herman Badillo (Vol. 46, Issue 6)
A recent addition to the YU faculty is former Congressman and Deputy Mayor Herman Badillo, In order to give an insight into the man and his ideas, Commentator presents the following interview.
Commentator: What prompted you to come to Yeshiva? Have you taught in any other school before and do you plan to make a career of teaching politics?
Herman Badillo: No, I don't foresee a career in teaching politics. I have taught at Fordham for the past ten years. I am an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education there. I have also taught at the New School. I received a call from Dr, Blank and I agreed to teach this one course.
C.: Besides giving a seminar at YU what are you currently involved in?
HB: Basically practicing law. I’m still teaching at Fordham and I have a television program on Tuesday evenings on Channel 11 at 10:30. I also run 30-50 miles a week in Van Cortlandt Park.
C.: Do you favor a registration and do you foresee the need for a draft? Do you favor the draft for women?
H.B.: I oppose registration, I oppose the draft and obviously that includes women as well as men.
C.: With many YU students being professionally oriented, do you favor affirmative action programs at graduate schools?
C.: On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you rate the job President Carter has done till now?
H.B.: I'm not supporting President Carter, and I think if President Carter gets the Democratic nomination, he will lose. The basic problem is that young people, blacks, and Hispanics, among others are very much turned off against President Carter, and therefore, I think a Republican candidate would win. I don’t think President Carter can get out the normal Democratic vote. On the other hand, I think that Senator Kennedy is able to inspire and stimulate precisely these groups — the normal Democratic majority and therefore I am supporting Senator Kenedy,
C.: In your opinion was President Carter’s decision to admit the Shah the correct thing to do?
HB: No, I think it was a very bad decision and he was warned so by the American Embassy in Iran, as he himself concedes
C.: What do you think are Kennedy's chances for becoming President and do you think Chappaquidick and the reports of his love liaisons have affected him in the polls?
H.B.: I think more than his personal problems, that Carter has benefitted from the international crisis because people tend to support the President in times of crisis, I don’t think it’s a personal support of Carter, nor a personal rejection of Kennedy.
C: Do you favor a boycott of the Olympics?
H.B: I don't think that that kind of thing is really going to be effective in making any kind of difference by the Soviet Union in its attitudes. I think it's all part of a serious attempt by Carter in an election year to try to bring about a renewal of the cold war and foe that reason I am opposed to it.
C.: New York is becoming unavailable because the middle class is moving out because of crime. Is Mayor Koch adequately combatting crime?
H.B.: No, Mayor Koch is also polarizing the city by creating a very serious position between the middle class and the poor and that is going to increase crime and hostility.
C.: What are your political aspirations?
H.B.: I don’t have any political aspirations because I can't get elected. I feel that I’m perceived as a Puerto Rican who is interested in helping the poor and that doesn’t get me much support in a city where most of the voters are middle class. On the.other hand, I don't intend to change my point of view in order to get elected.
C.: What are your first impressions of YU students?
H.B.: I think that they are very alert and very interested in what's going on in this country, but ask me at the end of the semester.