"Reagan is doing a lot more for the ADA as its enemy than he used to do as a member," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Saturday night at the Mayflower to thunderous applause.
Frank's statement, touching a raw nerve in the 500 dining members of the Americans for Democratic Action expressed the pervasive chagrin and determination at the 34th annual ADA convention.
"We're needed more now than ever before," said newly elected ADA president, the Rev. Robert F. Drinan. He said he wasn't worried about any reaction the pope might have to this election -- he was compelled to resign from Congress when Pope John Paul II forbade priests from holding public office -- because he has recieved the support of the Jesuit priests he works with at Georgetown University. ("Thanks to the pope for making Father Drinan available to us," Winn Newman said later in a post-dessert banquet speech. "Now he'll have a better tool to further his cause.")
Leon Schull, national director of ADA since 1964, and Patsy T. Mink, outgoing ADA president, faithfully came to denounce and inspire where appropriate.
"The truth is, the ADA has been galvanized by Reagan's victory," said Schull. "I am damned angry and really distraught about the buildup of military power and the simple-minded attack on 50 years of social progress."
"We didn't work hard enough," Mink said, with some regret. "We kept talking about the possibility of Reagan's election, but we never thought the consequences would be so bad.