Speculation on Connally’s future Treasury Secretary John Connally appears to have become the Nixon Administration’s chief spokesman on economic policy. Connally has testified before many congressional committees already. More pertinently, he was chosen March 5 to brief the press after a meeting of the “quadriad,” the government’s four top economic planners. Connally’s performance has been so outstanding that there is speculation in Washington that the former Texas governor might become Nixon’s runningmate in 1972. He seems to be making an untraumatic transformation from Democrat to Republican. Some Eastern reporters and some Democrats in congress are referring to Connally as a “former” Democrat. Washington Post reporter David S. Broder, who spent a few days in Austin recently, writes, “Whatever happens, the Texas politicians think John Connally has put himself in the catbird seat for 1972. Which is right where they’d expect him to be, of course.” Broder believes Connally to be one of the three most outstanding politicians – not statesmen, politicians he has known on the national scene. The reporter concluded after his Texas visit, “What Connally wants in the judgment of Barnes and almost every other Texas politician is a chance to run for vice president next year and later for president. And, they feel, he will go to either party that offers that chance.” He quotes Barnes as saying, “If he can’t get what he wants from Nixon, I guarantee you, he’ll cut out of that cabinet . a Democrat. And then it might be interesting.” A new Nadir Absolutely the Worst News Judgment of the Month Award \(and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram for its front page. story on March 10 headlined, “Kennedy Upsets 2 Area P.O.W. Wives.” Upon reading the story one learns that Sen. Edward Kennedy did not even talk to the two women whose husbands are missing American pilots believed to be prisoners in North Vietnam. They passed the senator in a hallway on their way to an appointment with Dale DeHaan, counsel for the subcommittee on refugees, which is chaired by Kennedy. DeHaan gave the women some frank, sensible advise: he told them he thought they would be more effective if they worked quietly through private, international initiatives. DeHaan said the publicity-laden, emotion-drenched 12 The Texas Observer Political intelligence campaign worked up by H. Ross Perot “has not accomplished anything.” The evidence bears DeHaan out. The few American prisoners who have been released* by the North Vietnamese were freed through quiet, private initiatives. The Star-Telegram quoted one of the wives as saying, “DeHaan talked just like a North Vietnamese.” Quote from the story: “As the .wives left the office of the subcommittee on refugees they passed peace signs, posters calling for “End the War Now,” and a postcard saying, “How many must die in a futile war? Give a damn.” Outside t hey admitted their surroundings and the meeting was “very upsetting,”, but one said “it enlightened me to how Kennedy really feels.” Bode Wins Elroy , Bode, an Observer editor-at-large from El Paso, won the Texas Institute of Letters’ 1970 Stanley Walker Journalism Award for “Requiem for a WASP School” \(Obs., The 1969 award went to Greg Olds for his Observer articles on the McCrocklin dissertation. The Austin daily has quoted an unidentified source to the effect that Gov. Preston Smith’s net worth is “around $1 million.” A second source guessed $960,000; a third, $940,000. The governor refused to confirm or deny the estimates of his wealth, but he did say. he has lost money since he first was elected to statewide office in 1962. Governor Smith has been burned in effigy in his home town of Lubbock, no less. According to The Catalyst, approximately 100 Texas Tech students were protesting Smith’s proposed college tuition increase. In addition to setting torch to the governor, the students raised a dollar-sign flag from the Tech flagpole. More than 500 persons, including prominent Texas politicians and civic leaders, were taken into custody Feb. 25 in the largest gambling raid in San Antonio’s history. The New York Times cited an unidentified source as saying several of the individuals taken into custody and later released were those “who run much of Texas politics.” Police Capt. James Despres would not release the names of the men seized. “It simply wouldn’t be fair in view of the fact that they were turned loose,” he said. Why were they turned loose? “My hands are tied,” the captain said. The combination gambling and stag party took place at the San Antonio Homebuilders Association. Everyone except the nude dancers were released after being bussed downtown to police headquarters. Indictments The Hidalgo County Grand Jury returned 12 indictments after taking testimony for several days on the Feb. 6 disorders in Pharr \(Obs., One of those indicted was Deputy Sheriff Bob Johnson, charged with “negligent homicide” in the death of witnesses testified they saw Johnson take careful aim with his pistol. Also charged with a felony was community organizer Efrain Fernandez, who seems to be the principal scapegoat in the police’s attempt to show that picketers against police brutality had intended to provoke a riot all along. The ten remaining indictments were for misdemeanor rioting. All 12 defendants were released on $1000 bail. The grand jury’s report gently criticized the Pharr police and Mayor R. S. Bowe for having neglected to improve their public image during recent years, but the main solution to Pharr’s problems is encouraging the Meskins to stay in school. The grand jury also felt obliged to tell the world Frank Alford was a bad guy for having allowed the Methodist-oWned Valley Community Center to become a meeting place for activists and said such a policy could hardly be called Christian. Alford’s dismissal was recommended last week by the Center’s advisory board of community “leaders,” the lone dissenting vote coming from Stan Ramos, in front of whose barber shop Poncho Flores was killed. Charges against the remainder of the 31 youths arrested the night of the “riot” were dropped. The same day the indictments were released, Federal District Judge Reynaldo Garza said the Pharr parade ordinance, which defines “one or more persons” walking down a public street, was probably unconstitutional, but that he could not set it aside for lack of jurisdiction. He is expected to rule on the 1967 United Farm Workers suit against the Texas Rangers any day now.
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