The Texas OBSERVER e The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1978 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 70, No. 5 March 17, 1978 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR EDITOR.AT LARGE Jim Hightower Lawrence Walsh Linda Rocawich Ronnie Dugger ASSISTANT EDITORS: Colin Hunter, Teresa Acosta, Vicki Vaughan PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Lee, Susan Reid STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margaret Watson, Bob Sindennann, Cathy Stevens, Debbie Wormser, Margot Beutler, Leah Miller, Connie Lar son. David Guarino, Beth Epstein, Beverly Palmer, Harris Worcester, Gerald McLeod, Larry Zinn, Janie Leigh Frank, Katherine Sicard CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Ray Reece, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Luther Sperberg, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Sonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph Yarborough, Laura Richardson, Eric Hartman, Tim Mahoney, John Spragens Jr. BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olafson, Alice Einbree, Ricky Cruz A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and con tents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal offree voices. Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $30. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Editorial and Business Offices: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Focusing By Pat Black Two cars stop in front of a frame house in a quiet West Austin neighborhood. The stillness of the hour before dawn blunts the sting of the cold weather. Four young men are met at the door by Tom Henderson, who is dressed in a bright red bathrobe. Henderson offers to make a pot of coffee, but the visitors have been wrenched out of sleep too early and are wary of shocking their bodies any more than necessary right now. No coffee. The host pads back and forth from the kitchen to the spare bedroom to see if Bob Krueger will be able to face the day’s outing despite a cold and less than four hours’ rest. We will go. Krueger emerges and greets everyone. He and the young men about to leave with him have on jeans, cowboy boots, and heavy coats. The battered gray station wagon is loaded, and three men drive off. The two others follow in a compact. There is still no sign of the rising sun. A group more typical of Texas would be leaving on a deer hunt. But these men are off on a hunting trip of their ownthe quarry is a seat in the United States Senate. By now, most Texans know Bob Krueger as the young congressman from New Braunfels whose attempts to free the oil and gas industry of government regulation have won him a measure of national prominence which, in turn, has become the base for an assault on Republican Senator John Tower’s office. Krueger is touted as a new star of New South politics, and by his own admission he is working his way steadily toward a try for the White House. The task at hand is not to figure out who Bob Krueger is, but what he is. Many Southern liberals have been persuaded to support candidates like KruegerJimmy Carter comes to mindbecause their New South moderation on civil rights seems to promise more progressive leadership than that provided by the embarrassing Bourbon politicians the South has sent to Washington for the past hundred years. In Bob Krueger’s case, however, it is a false promisebehind his personal charm and just underneath the measured gracefulness of his campaign rhetoric, there stands a moderate-conservative on social issues and a bedrock conservative on economic issues. The path to politics Krueger’s family settled near New Braunfels in the 1840s as part of a wave of German immigrants who came to the Texas Hill Country. Over the course of several generations, members of the family made the transition from small farmers to prosperous businessmen. Brothers Arlon and Ben Krueger opened a Buick dealership in New Braunfels in 1928 and kept adding franchises until they had an exclusive hold on General Motors products sold in the town. The brothers reportedly became wealthy through sharp trading in the used car market during World War II. Arlon Krueger married Faye Leifeste in 1929. Her father had been the school superintendent in Comal County, and she had taught in elementary schools before her marriage. The Kruegers first had a daughter, Arlene, and Bob, their second child and only son, was born in 1935. Following the custom of old Hill Country families, Bob grew up speaking both German and English. Several childhood 2 MARCH 17, 1978
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.