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Yarborough may face health issue It’s politically interesting that Sen. Ralph Yarborough’s Senate health subcommittee will be holding hearings on a national health insurance program late this spring. This will make it difficult for his opposition for re-election to continue to ignore his advocacy of national health insurance. Presumably the standard attacks against “socialized medicine” have not yet been mounted against him by either Bentsen or Bush because they recognize that medicare and exasperations with doctors have turned public opinion around on this issue. An AP series on national health care quotes Yarborough that its enactment could come as early as 1972 or 1973. It is thus a central consideration in Yarborough’s re-election, since as chairman of the health subcommittee he holds the most powerful congressional position of any present advocate of the program except Majority Whip Edward Kennedy. A report reaches the Observer, hearsay in nature but from responsible, conservative, wealthy sources, that ex-Gov. John Connally convened two fund-raising mealtime gatherings in Houston. Twenty persons attended each on successive days. Each paid the price of attending, $20,000, reportedly in cash. However, after raising $400,000 in this and Bentsen have had difficulty raising more money in Houston. At each luncheon, one or two people stood up and told Connally that if Bentsen lost, they would back Bush. Bernard Rapoport, the Waco insurance executive, is doing the principal fund-raising for Senator Yarborough. He conveys aistress, especially with national labor organizations. However, one gathers from the people in the Yarborough campaign that a heavy last three weeks of television programming is in the works. Benton Musselwhite believes that the Yarborough campaign will be, as to its programming, quite behind Bentsen’s three weeks before the election, but that the Yarborough campaign will “peak out” better, as a technical matter, than Bentsen ‘s. Bentsen attack expected Yarborough’s side is bracing for an expected last-days attack of some kind. They don’t know what to expect, but they expect something. They feel the Billy Sol Estes-$50,000 charge used in the 1964 campaign is too old and won’t hurt. 12 The Texas Observer Political intelligence Arouna the state, Bentsen billboards are, as frequent as Coke and Pepsi signs. There can not have been a heavier saturation billboard campaign than this before in Texas. Yarborough is also stating on the stump that Bentsen is spending $1.2 million for television alone. A political spokesman for the important Houston law firm, Fulbright, Crooker, which has many large corporate clients, told the Yarborough forces, before Lt. Gov. Ben i3 arnes made it clear that he would not oppose Yarborough, that they were for Yarborough. The general interpretation of this event is that the firm was concerned that if Lloyd Bentsen,. Jr., won, the lawfirm of Vinson, Elkins, in which Bentsen’s close friend John Connally is now a moving force, would get too much access to political influence. Vinson, Elkins also has many large corporate clients. Now, however, Fulbright, Crooker, whose clients include Bentsen interests, are standing quiet. Overheard at a conservative gathering by a Yarborough person: frank argument from Bentsen partisans that Bush people should support Bentsen because if Bentsen is nominated, liberals will back Bush against him. Governor’s race close Republicans were pleased when a poll they commissioned in March showed Gov. Preston Smith with 50% of the vote, 23% undecided, and GOP candidate Paul Eggers with 37%. They were jubilant when word leaked out of a Democratic poll showing Smith and Eggers with 38% each. Smith denied the existence of the Democratic poll. Voter registration hit a new high of 4,150,645 in Texas this spring. More than a million of those registered this year have never voted before. Almost half of the registered voters live in the state’s eight most populus counties: Harris, Dallas, Bexar, Tarrant, Travis, Jefferson, El Paso, and Nueces. In 1968, a presidential year, 4,073,567 Texans registered. Harold K. Dudley, formerly Gov. Preston Smith’s top aide, has been kicked downstairs where he will head the state’s drug abuse program under the Criminal Justice Council. Although Dudley’s new job originally was budgeted at $18,000 a year, he will continue to draw the $26,500 salary he received as Smith’s executive assistant. The governor appointed Otice Green, a Lubbock public relations man, to take Dudley’s place. Dudley apparently was unable to provide the executive office with the necessary cohesion and leadership. One columnist described the governor’s office under Dudley as “a busload of yahoos rolling down the road with everyone waving out the back windows, and nobody coming to the front of the bus until it bumps into something.” Political observers have pointed to Governor Smith’s abortive call for a referendum on bussing as one example of an executive decision that should have been hashed out among top echelon staff members. Instead Smith proceeded on the recommendation of one aid, and was flatly turned down by his own State Democratic Executive Committee. Smith and his staff have provided the state with remarkably little leadership during the last year and a half, but the governor has appointed more committees, commissions, and task forces than anyone before him. There is Goals for Texas, a long range plan with ten general categories; Texas Communities for Tomorrow, which is studying ways to revitalize small towns; the federally funded Criminal Justice Council; and governor’s committees on human relations and the status of women. Smith has individual staff people assigned to traffic safety, housing, Mexican-American affairs, water conservation and development, vocational education, manpower planning, children and youth, early childhood development, comprehensive health planning. And the list could go on and on. But as San Antonio Express News columnist Jon Ford pointed out recently, “For all the path finding, precious little attention is being given state revenue sources which ultimately must be stretched to meet the infinitely imaginative number of old and new demands. What happens when all the study recommendations are in? A lot of them will be out-of-date before they appear in the state budget document if equal industry isn’t devoted to the all-supporting tax structure.” Politicians and pot Smith, Eggers, and Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes are late arrivals on the drug abuse bandwagon. Now that they all have climbed on, Barnes is making the greater mileage out of the issue.