Until the world came crashing in on Waterloo last week, in successive war bulletins from Lebanon and the Caribbean, this conservative midwestern community was consumed with its own economic problems. Today it has been turned upside down, and with it, perhaps, the equation for the 1984 presidential election.
Even before last Sunday's terrorist bomb exploded in the Marine headquarters at Beirut International Airport and Tuesday's U.S. invasion of the tiny Caribbean jewel of Grenada, President Reagan was just holding his own politically in a city that he carried easily in 1980. His lowered standing here was the consequence of the grimmest local economy since the Great Depression, with unemployment doubling in a year.
Now those economic fears have been combined with the tensions of combat in two hemispheres. They have laid the landscape upon which the next presidential election will be contested. It is likely to be a referendum not only on Reagan and his economic policies, but also on his conduct of foreign affairs.
Five Washington Post reporters were in Waterloo when the first news from Lebanon arrived. They were on the last leg of a project examining political attitudes around the country in the year before the 1984 election.
Before the sobering news of last week washed over the residents of this industrial city of 76,000 people set in the middle of the Farm Belt, the reporters already had heard concerns over war and peace mixed with anguish over unemployment, and ambivalence about the president and his Democratic challengers.
Farmers were suffering from high interest rates and low prices. In town, about a fifth of the workers were unemployed. The fear of nuclear war had increased, and a freeze movement had taken root.
But the mounting death toll from Lebanon and the first word from Grenada brought other fears--and some bitter memories--bubbling to the surface.
"If you'd asked me last week, I would have said, yes, Reagan would carry this county," said Harry Slife, a longtime Republican activist and head of Blackhawk Broadcasting Co. "I think all bets are off for the moment. I don't know if it's good or bad for the president on balance.
"Traditionally the tendency is to rally around the president in a time of crisis. I'm not so sure that will happen this time, because the enemy is so difficult to identify and our national interests so hard to define."
Then he added: "Vietnam cost Johnson the presidency. Iran cost Carter the presidency. Maybe Lebanon or this business in Grenada could cost Reagan the presidency. What people are concerned about is the inability of the institution of the presidency to administer foreign affairs."
A Washington Post Poll of Waterloo, completed just as the news of Beirut was breaking, showed that 51 percent of those surveyed approved Reagan's overall handling of the presidency. Another Post poll, taken after the invasion of Grenada but before the president's speech to the nation Thursday night, revealed that his approval rating had fallen to 45 percent.
The second poll also showed sharp movement away from the president and toward his principal Democratic rivals, former vice president Walter F. Mondale and Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio). Nearly everyone who switched toward the Democrats disapproved both of Reagan's handling of Lebanon specifically and foreign affairs generally.
These sudden shifts in mood are natural, given the volatility of events, and they do not add up to any definitive political trend. After Reagan's speech, interviews and national polls suggested growing support for the president. The voters themselves acknowledge their mixed feelings.
When Bob McAvey turned off his TV set Thursday night after watching Reagan's emotional defense of the U.S. position in Beirut and action in Grenada, he felt a mixture of pride and apprehension.
"Pride in the sense that we went into Grenada and rescued Americans," said McAvey, president of the Board of Realtors here and a strong Reagan supporter. "Apprehension in the sense that . . . we could have Marines almost any point on the globe if these kinds of things continue. I don't think that will happen, but the trend seems that way now."
Americans have been buffeted already this year by news of an economic recovery and predictions that it may yet be aborted, by the military buildup in Central America and the Soviet destruction of a Korean Air Lines jet and the continuing debate over deployment of nuclear weapons in western Europe. What else may be coming, no one knows.
But changing attitudes here reinforce the feeling that, in an area of bedrock support for Reagan, the political climate has become more complex and the voters are examining the president's policies even more critically. Almost a year to the day before the 1984 election, this is how it looked from one American city. CHAPTER II CITY & WORLD
The news from Beirut, half a world away, spread slowly through Waterloo last Sunday. Pat Brandhurst, mother of two teen-age sons, brought the word to the congregation of Grace United Methodist Church during the morning prayer. "There is much sorrow today about the Marines who were killed in Lebanon," she said from her pew in the seventh row.
It was the first that the Rev. Bob Ward had heard of the tragedy, and he interrupted the prayer to ask, "How many were killed?"
"The radio said 70," Mrs. Brandhurst replied sadly.
Ward's chin dropped to his chest. "Lord, we need peace," he said. "There is much pain and suffering and evil in the world."
Waterloo, located almost 1,000 miles from any ocean, never has been immune to the concerns of war and peace. The city council passed a nuclear freeze resolution in 1982, an action embraced by Mayor Leo Rooff, a conservative Republican. Citizens for Peace, formed in 1981, claims almost 500 members, including some of the area's most prominent clergy and professionals.
Still, the Revs. Bob and Martha Ward, co-pastors of Grace United Methodist, were surprised to find teen-agers drawing mushroom clouds at the church's youth fellowship meeting Sunday night. "It was amazing to me how many of the youth were focusing on what had happened and how they connected it with nuclear arms," the Rev. Martha Ward said.
Before last Sunday, Waterloo had been preoccupied mostly with its own suffering. It is, almost everyone here says, a place that is "hurting."
The area farm economy has been reeling for two years. Although the drought improved farm prices and the federal payment in kind (PIK) program gave many farmers a new lease on life this fall, "a lot of us are at the end of the road," said Richard Steffen, president of the state National Farmers Organization.
The situation in the city is worse. One of five workers in the area is unemployed, double the national average, double the rate of a year ago. The downtown is full of empty storefronts; 70 percent of residents polled by The Washington Post said they have trouble making ends meet.
"Waterloo is a big, small town that is precariously perched on a one-legged milk stool," said Chris Harshbarger, a young social worker.
That one leg is the John Deere Co., which in Waterloo operates the largest and most modern tractor factory in the world. Once, the factory employed 16,000, paying some of the highest industrial wages in the country. Today, tractor production is at its lowest point since 1933, and the plant employs fewer than 10,000.
Rath Packing Co., the city's second-largest employer, was saved from bankruptcy by an employe takeover in 1978, but still teeters on the brink. Its 1,200 workers have taken a 15 percent pay cut.
When Post reporters arrived in the city Oct. 20 and began asking citizens about the major issues facing the community, the answer was, understandably, "jobs, jobs, jobs." In a Post poll that week, 92 percent of residents questioned identified unemployment as a major problem; 72 percent, the cost of heating oil, gas and electricity; 64 percent, economic problems on the farm, and 63 percent, inflation.
We found much trauma, dozens of stories of human suffering and uncertainty. A few examples:
One cold, rainy night, Jerome and Toni Nie sat disheartened around their dining room table in nearby Gilbertsville, with daughters, Sarah, 4, and Emily, 2. In 1979, they bought the 140-acre farm that Jerome's father and grandfather farmed before him.
Last year, the Nies ran up an interest bill of $32,000. Now the Farmers Home Administration, which holds the loans on the land, wants them to sell out, but they have refused. "They told me I'm young enough to get another job and start over," Jerome said that night. "I told them I'd rather be a statistic. I want to be one of those guys driven out of business."
Dan Smith, 26, a big, beefy ex-honorable mention All-State tackle, struggled to keep control of his daughters, Brandy, 4, and Brooke, 2, at the state unemployment office. He wore a "Mean Green John Deere" baseball cap.
The Mean Green laid him off Nov. 1, four years after he'd left junior college for the lure of a big paycheck. Today he is the family baby sitter. "I got kinda spoiled from John Deere's paycheck," he said. "Now I know I'll never find myself like that again. I've gone to places. They say they want people who are trained. But I can't afford to get trained.
"I'm disgusted, and a little bit mad."
At the senior citizens' center on Seventh Street, people worried about the future of Social Security and how to pay utility bills. Velma Wilson, 77, a retired cook, said her winter utility bills run from $150 to $180 a month. "When you only get $288 a month, like I do, it's pretty hard to get by," she said. "I haven't bought a pair of new shoes for 10 years. I buy everything at Goodwill, and I'm not ashamed of it."
But the striking thing in Waterloo was not what we heard from the down and out. It's what the civic boosters and the captains of business and industry told us.
Gene Meeker, for example, is president of the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, a Reagan man whose job is to put the city in its most favorable light.
"We have not begun to pull out of our recession. We are still down in the doldrums," he said. "There's a lot of alarm, a lot of concern that jobs will not be back . . . . It's a scary situation for a lot of guys who have worked at John Deere and made $25,000 to $35,000 a year and done very well. All of a sudden they are faced with a career change. And what in the world are they going to do?"
Business executives spoke of a widening gap between the haves and have-nots in the community. "My law business has been real good, because I'm doing a lot of Chapter 11 bankruptcies for farmers," one attorney said.
Realtors reported hundreds of homes in the $30,000 to $55,000 category remaining unsold, but few available in the 00,000-plus category. "There's been a redistribution of the wealth, and it's all gone to the top," said Lyle W. Taylor, president of Rath Packing and a former union president.
All of this signals a major structural change for the community, a painful lowering of expectations.
"Some people are looking for the American Dream: house, boat, car and so forth. But it has changed. The opportunities aren't there," Walter Cunningham, Iowa's only black principal, said at East High School.
On Monday, the day after a terrorists' suicide truck blew up in Beirut, the phones were buzzing at the Marine Recruiting Station on Mulberry Street. At least four Waterloo-area Marines were part of the Lebanon peace-keeping force, and loved ones were worried.
The Post poll completed before the Beirut bombing revealed deep anxieties over war and peace. Early last week, these concerns broke into the open. When 10 Waterloo residents met with Post reporters Monday night, they were filled with conflicting emotions--fear intermingled with patriotism. All 10, Republicans and Democrats alike, complained that the president had not adequately explained why the Marines were in Lebanon.
"The question is, why are we there?" said Willie Mae Wright, a clerk-typist at John Deere and a candidate for the city council. "What purpose will we serve for being there for all of those young men to lose their lives?"
"I was appalled when they decided to put them there in the first place, really disgusted," said Ray Apel, an accountant unemployed for the last three years. "I was with the Marine Corps 40 years ago on Iwo Jima. When I saw the area they were given to keep peace in, I couldn't imagine a battalion commander in his right mind taking an airfield and setting up in the middle of it. You don't defend those places, you take them. They're prime targets."
American troops, including at least two Marines from Waterloo, invaded the tiny island nation of Grenada eight hours later. The Post repolled Waterloo Wednesday night, finding widespread disapproval.
After Reagan went on television Thursday night, the Post contacted some Waterloo residents interviewed earlier in the week. Many praised the president's delivery and style, but there were again conflicting emotions. The speech reinforced Reagan supporters, but not everyone was a believer.
"He didn't change my mind at all," said Jospeh Lorber, 35, a registered independent who voted for Reagan in 1980. "I find the man makes me nervous. He always has, but my fears have really heightened during the last few days." Chapter III: THE PRESIDENT
The people of Waterloo -- men and women who helped elect Ronald Reagan--feel that their lives and his presidency would be much better if only they could sit him down and tell him just how deeply things are troubling them.
Time and again, as they spoke, the people of Waterloo painted a portrait of the president that, while unsmiling, is still far from grim. Reagan can still reach them--polling and interviews before and after his nationally televised explanation of the U.S. position in Lebanon and action in Grenada showed that. But just as important, the people here believe they can still reach Reagan, still make him understand, show him...and make him care.
Listen to Mayor Rooff, who voted for Reagan in 1980, as he sits in his City Hall office.
"I'd like to have a chance to talk to Ronald Reagan. I'd bend his ear like it's never been bent before. And I guess I would like to take him with me on a little tour of the city and show him our town, what's going on . . . . I want him to see that frustration. I want him to see those fears . . . . I believe Ronald Reagan is a compassionate person and I believe he suffers as much as anyone else with unemployment and with hunger and that kind of thing. And I believe he's convinced that the course he's on is the one to get us out of it, but some people have to suffer.
"But I think also there is a middle ground that we can walk through this transition period so that people don't have to suffer like that. I'm not a high priest and prophet. I don't have those answers. But I think as a common man from a small town that walks with them every day. I think I can tell him some things.
"I guess I'd have to say that Ronald Reagan's doing exactly what he promised in his first campaign, and I guess I'd have to say that, although I don't blame him for it, something went wrong."
Listen to Donald Heisler, 37, who lost his job at John Deere 1 1/2 years ago, talking with Donald White, 31, who still has his job at Deere. They are at The Iron Fireman, a favored gin mill near the plant, where multitudes have gathered to cheer Iowa versus Michigan on Giant Screen TV and sup from the vat of free chili at halftime.
"I'd like to talk to Reagan just once," said Heisler. "I'd tell Reagan whatever it takes to get us back to work--do it . . . . I'll pay $2 for a loaf of bread if that's what it takes to get my job back."
Countered White: "I wouldn't tell Ronald Reagan anything--I'd take him in my truck and take him around town and let him see. Let him go through the soup lines for a couple weeks. Let him live without heat for a couple weeks."
And talk with two of Reagan's most loyal boosters in the business elite as they hit on the most common frustration of the pro-Reagan set. Wallace Sulentic, 51, president of Waterloo Industries, a large sheet-metal fabricator:
"I'd like him to know that I'm very much for him, but I feel I was misled . . . . I thought he was going to seriously attempt to slash the budget. But the moment he took defense and held it sacrosanct, he put himself in a deep hole. It really griped me the other day when we heard that the Defense Department had issued requisitions totaling $4 billion on the last day of the fiscal year. That's not right. I don't believe in that for a moment."
Robert Molinaro, 54, president of Warren Transport, the large trucking fleet that delivers John Deere's equipment:
"I want to tell him to cut the defict. When he campaigned, it was on the idea that he was going to cut spending and there wouldn't be any sacred cows--but when he got in, defense became a sacred cow . . . . He may tell me we need the B1 and the MX missile and the rest. But I'd say, 'Bull----, Ronnie, you can justify anything you want to justify.' "
Greater Waterloo is a capsule of all the problems that beset Reagan and his presidency: surging unemployment, collapsing industry, crippled farms, doubting campuses, nuclear fears. And all of that was engulfed suddenly by the tidal wave of global warfare that swept down last week, receding but leaving a residue of new tensions and doubts atop the other problems that are still unsolved.
But while the Republican businessmen and conservative blue-collar Democrats who are the heart of this city may have strayed from the Reagan fold, they have not fully lost faith.
They may not like his policies, but that does not mean that they do not like him. That was the message heard in the downtown Chamber of Commerce and the out-of-town farm, the City Hall and even the union hall. It came through, as well, in our Waterloo poll.
Reagan scored well below 50 percent approval--mostly in the 30s, in fact--on his handling of not only foreign affairs, but also military spending, cuts in social programs, farm policy and the deficit. A sizable 57 percent said he cares more about serving upper-income people--the worst figures of his presidency--and 54 percent said that he is unfair to the poor.
Yet 52 percent said they had an overall favorable impression of Reagan. And he won high marks for such personal traits as being a strong leader, sticking to his principles and being honest.
This is Reagan's political strength in Waterloo. For it is far from certain that the voters of 1984 will choose their next president on the basis of his handling of specific issues, rather than on his personal qualities and leadership.
The portrait of Reagan, as sketched by Waterloo, was redrawn and touched up several times over the last week. That was clear from our polling before and after the city felt the shock waves from two war fronts and from reinterviewing people after the president's Thursday night speech.
First, Reagan's political fortunes were rocked by word of the bombing of the Marines in Lebanon and by the invasion of Grenada. Our polls before the incidents and immediately after them--but before Reagan's televised address--made this clear.
People initially disapproved of his handling of Lebanon (39 percent in favor, 55 percent opposed) and felt almost as strongly about his handling of Grenada (39 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed). And politically, Waterloo's undecided voters moved sharply into the Democratic column.
The lengthier interviews after the president's speech made clear that, even in the worst of times here, he could bring at least some of the flock back to the fold.
Before the events in Lebanon and Grenada, the president of the National Bank of Waterloo, R. Scott Fetner, was strong for Reagan, but sharply critical of America's military activities in Lebanon and Central America. Listen to this conservative banker who was big for John B. Connally in 1980:
"I don't think we understand where we are . . . . I'd get out of some of those countries. They've been fighting for 2,000 years before Christ and they'll be fighting for another 2,000 years. I don't like our Marines being there. They ought to bring them home."
And what if El Salvador falls to the communists?
". . . Let the Russians go in there," he said. "It will bleed them to death. If we're stronger, we're going to make it. And if he Reagan said I didn't understand, I'd say maybe so . . . . Maybe that's not my bag, but I run a pretty good bank here and make pretty good money here."
But then Fetner watched Reagan's speech, and afterwards he felt it was proper to have the Marines in Lebanon for now--and he strongly supported the invasion of Grenada. "I got good vibes, good vibes," the white-haired banker said. "He appeared resolved, he appeared calm, he appeared very strong. I was glad to hear that we're not going to go on the offense in Lebanon . . . .and in Grenada, just listening to him, I think we're fortunate he acted." Chapter IV: THE DEMOCRATS
With their ambivalent feelings about President Reagan and their sharp concerns about events in the world and at home, the voters of Black Hawk County are looking more closely than usual at the alternatives the Democratic Party is offering.
Many are Democrats who say they want to come home. They have seen their lives or those of their neighbors come apart under the economic policies they helped install with their votes in 1980. Others are Republicans looking for someone else.
Almost every interview confirmed Mondale's status as the early front-runner for the February caucuses here that will open the national battle for the Democratic nomination. But the conversations also showed that support is lukewarm--as tempered in its tone as the degree of optimism many local Democrats feel about their chances of beating Reagan a year from now.
"I voted for Reagan in '80, but I wouldn't vote for the man again," said Donald Heisler, 37, who once thought he had a lifetime of security at the John Deere plant but now is unemployed.
"After Carter had inflated things so goddam bad and you heard what Reagan was going to do, you figured you got to go with it. But now I think it'd be better to have a Democrat in and have inflation go sky-high and at least everyone would have jobs."
But Ray Apel, who at 58 is also unemployed, is not ready to take just any Democratic alternative.
"I'm a Democrat, but a very conservative Democrat," he said at the end of a long conversation during which he was sharply critical of most Reagan policies. I'll vote for John Glenn if he's nominated. But if it's between Mondale and Reagan, I'll vote for Reagan again. Hell, Mondale already told me I'm not a real Democrat."
Black Hawk County has been a good place for real Republicans. In the 1960s and 1970s, the local congressman was Republican H.R. Gross, the famed conservative budget-cutter. In 1982, despite the recession, Democrats lost strength here, failing to match their comeback in other parts of the country.
The Carter-Mondale ticket lost Black Hawk County in both 1976 and 1980, but there was one ray of hope for Democrats in 1980, as County Commissioner Lynn Cutler carried the county in a losing bid for a House seat.
But when Cutler attempted a second run in 1982, she was beaten even in her home county by Rep. Cooper Evans (R-Iowa), a Reagan backer. The blue-collar votes of the rank-and-file union members are what did her in, despite the fact that the union leaders were "terrifically supportive" of Cutler, recalls Karen Kapler, a Cutler aide in that campaign.
Today, Mondale is the overwhelming choice of Black Hawk Democrats. The poll gave him the support of 50 percent of those who said they were likely to vote in the February Democratic caucuses. Glenn was second with 21 percent; former senator George McGovern and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson had 6 percent each; Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.), 4 percent; Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), 3 percent. Separate questions testing Mondale versus Glenn on specific traits were also lopsidedly in Mondale's favor.
Two other candidates--Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.) and former Florida governor Reubin Askew--were virtually blanked in the poll and support for them is now almost invisible in Black Hawk County.
When Waterloo Democrats explain Mondale's strength, they tend to talk about the machine, not the man. Dan Holm, the county Democratic chairman, said Mondale is out front "because of the AFL-CIO support and the likely backing of the teachers. They're both very strong organizationally--especially the teachers. I was a Kennedy supporter in 1980, and I walked into my precinct caucus with 25 other people, and I saw 80 people rounded up by the teachers for Carter-Mondale . If teachers go with Mondale, he'll win, and win big."
Not all labor leaders are so optimistic. Frank Alexander, United Auto Workers district political director, for example, originally favored Glenn, but converted to Mondale after comparing the labor voting records of the two men. He fears many of his fellow union members will not make that switch, despite the pleas of their union leaders.
"Glenn is going to get a lot of support out of our local," he said. "He's going to get a lot of support out of the UAW. He's going to get a lot of support out of the general public because of his hero image."
Mondale has gained his support, as an investment firm ad says, "the old-fashioned way: he earned it." The Post poll showed that among Black Hawk Democrats, he is rated 7-to-1 over Glenn as the "most familiar" candidate. It is a status he achieved, not just as point man for the Carter administration in the 1980 fight with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), but for 12 years before that as a senator from Minnesota.
County Commissioner Rachel Fulton, one of the most influential Black Hawk Democrats and a Kennedy backer in 1980, is supporting Mondale now "because my husband and I encouraged him to run for president 10 years ago." Another Democratic activist praised Mondale's record of support for liberal causes, saying, "He's always been there."
But some Democrats think Mondale has been there too long. Steve Cortright, a young real estate agent, said, "We need some new blood. I'm afraid Reagan might shoot off a missile any day. But Mondale isn't new blood. He's Carter blood, and Hubert Humphrey blood before that."
Many of those we interviewed expressed a hankering for a new face--and, for a time, Hart seemed like the one who might fill the bill. County Chairman Holm was "very impressed with Hart's ideas . . . . But Hart just hasn't established himself here."
Cranston was another candidate who came to town early, but his strong identification with the nuclear freeze issue has tended to keep his activist support alive longer than Hart's. Jackson's potential is hard to gauge.
When all is said and done, here as elsewhere it is Glenn who poses the main threat to Mondale--if the campaign materializes. Said Mondale supporter Fulton, "I hear continually from my Republican friends that 'You're out of your mind not to run Glenn; he could win.' " But she said Glenn has no organization, to her knowledge.
Actually, Glenn has the nucleus of an organization in Black Hawk County, but it is an eclectic group of individuals who have never worked together and have no clear direction to prepare for the caucuses.
But as the Democrats gird to fight each other in the caucuses, the ultimate test they face is to win back fellow Democrats like Jerome Nie, a farmer who voted for Reagan in 1980 and remains true to him today--even as he sits on the farm that he is about to lose to foreclosure.
"Could anyone else do any better than Reagan?" Nie asked. "I guess I don't believe him all the time, but I'm going to stick with him until I see something better." Chapter V: THE COMING YEAR
At the University of Northern Iowa, across the river separating Waterloo from its sister city of Cedar Falls, historian Richard Newell was talking about the qualities he would like to see in a president.
"We need a president who will keep his powder dry, but seek every opportunity for accommodation, especially in arms control," he said. "We need a president who will keep the balance between government planning and intervention and the need for holding down bureaucratic interference."
That desire for balance, for a "mixed approach," as Newell later put it, exists not only among people in this quiet community. It also exists among their fellow citizens in the country beyond That, coupled with a hunger for security and stability, and a need to feel reassured about the future, are the dominant impressions that emerge from our travels sampling opinions throughout the nation this year.
The word from Waterloo is no different from that in any of the places we have visited. That fact carries political significance for the 1984 presidential election, for every community The Post has examined in the past months--whether in Illinois, New Hampshire, California, Texas or here in Iowa--was chosen specifically because it represented a Reagan stronghold. Our reporting from these places suggests that the country has changed. Certainly, the tone is markedly different from that of the 1980 presidential election and even that of last fall's congressional elections.
The soaring hopes for a great economic boom that carried Reagan into the White House three years ago are gone. The sense of bleak despair over the economy as the recession hit so many communities last fall, resulting in the big Democratic comeback in the statehouses and the House of Representatives, also has dissipated. Today, a more sober, tempered attitude about the future exists. Everywhere, among businessmen and blue-collar workers, Democrats and Republicans, people recognize that the country is in a difficult transition. No one expects magic formulas from the next president. No one expects the future to be easy, either.
Running through our interviews here are a number of oft-repeated words. Besides "balance," the words "sensible," "fair," and "realistic" are principal among them. They are commonly expressed elsewhere, too.
Here, as in the other places visited, there is a consensus about the need to moderate defense spending, to reduce deficits, to practice tough fiscal policies but to couple them with compassionate governmental action to help people who are newly suffering. And a consensus exists about the need to exercise great caution in world affairs.
Here, as elsewhere, the memory of Vietnam remains strong. That concern has been heightened by last week's grim news from Lebanon and Grenada.
What Waterloo has to say about America today is the same message we heard in other communities. For the president, it would break down into something like this: Be pragmatic. Be compassionate. Be sensible. Be realistic. Be cautious. And something else: Be prepared to ask us to sacrifice--all of us--because we are ready to do so.
Perhaps one person here put it best.
"People see we have problems and the solutions are not easy," said Dave Tiffany, a Waterloo native who happens to be working for John Glenn. "But they think the burden should be shared equally . . . .
"People want a sensible program for farmers to get adequate income, labor to have a decent income, but still allow our products to be competitive. The president is going to have to get labor, farmers, business and management to sit down and say what sacrifices each of you is going to make to get the whole system to work right." CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, The John Deere factory is still the largest employer, but its work force has declined from 16,000 to less than 10,000. The Nies ran up an interest bill of $32,000 on the family farm last year, and the government wants them to sell out. Photos by John McDonnell -- The Washington Post; Map, Waterloo. By Dave Cook -- The Washington Post; Chart, City Profile; Picture 3, Waterloo, a "big, small town" where unemployment is double the national average, is "hurting." residents say. The farm economy is reeling and some of its largest employers have cut work forces and wages. By John McDonnell -- The Washington Post