Page 6


Krueger.. . from page 5 elections. Volunteers in New Braunfels cranked out additional notes to people Krueger had met on campaign trips. Harlan’s fall campaign actually cost more than Krueger’s, but the Republican couldn’t counter the momentum Krueger achieved in the spring and early summer. The November vote percentages were Krueger 53, Harlan 45. Krueger finally had his national office, but there was a catch. The three elections cost $362,053. His staff hadn’t raised half that much, and the campaign was left with a debt of $206,000. Krueger’s had been the most expensive race for Congress in the United States in 1974. When a campaign goes into debt, the most straightforward thing a politician can do is put up collateral for all his bank loans. Krueger’s loans were obtained both by his family and by wealthy supporters. Bob, his mother, and cousin Jack Krueger had arranged loans totaling $56,000. One individual supporter, L. D. Brinkman, personally loaned the campaign $55,000. Brinkman, head of Giffen Industries \(a conglomerate built around Kerrville, where he met Krueger early in the campaign. The Krueger family eventually responded to his generosity by purchasing more than 6,000 shares of Giffen Industries stock. Notes for the rest of the campaign debt were signed by oilmen, car dealers, builders, bankers and professional men living in the 21st District, who were good for chunks ranging in size from $5,000 to $25,000. The obligations accruing from all this generosity would pose an interesting problem as Krueger began his career in public life. John Pouland drives too fast. A heavy snow which began during a stop at the Lampasas stock show continues as we travel on to Waco. Planes are grounded, and several stops have to be cancelled. As Pouland crosses icy bridges at 90 miles an hour, Bob Krueger remains calm but asks him to at least use the windshield wipers occasionally. The interview progresses somehow, despite the wind whistling through: the station wagon and the candidate’s laryngitis. Krueger doesn’t just answer questions, he tries to gain his listener’s approval. His explanations pile one on top of another until their sheer weight wins agreement. Krueger is a man of some precision. He has an unerring instinct for the center of contrary arguments. He manages to make sense of picking Gandhi and Churchill as personal heroes, even though the men were bitter opponents. 14 MARCH 17, 1978 He calls the recent farmers’ strike a “positive” action, but he won’t endorse full parity because farmers “don’t want welfare and subsidy.” He thinks the United States has a right to interfere in European elections to oppose “totalitarian” leftist candidates, but he wants Washington to open diplomatic relations with Cuba. He respects nonviolence but says he will support the Pentagon until other nations disarm first. Something Krueger will not qualify is his disdain for government regulatory agencies. His faith in unrestrained capitalism harks back to the previous century. It all begins to sound very British fair play and free trade. Benjamin Disraeli springs to mind. Krueger arrived in Washington early in 1975 as one of 75 new members elected to the House of Representatives in the reform wave which followed Watergate. He bought a Capitol Hill townhouse for $165,000 and settled in for a long stay. Coming from a district with more cattle than people, Krueger sought a place on the agriculture committee but lost out to Rep. Jack Hightower of Vernon. House Speaker Carl Albert, whose Rhodes scholarship had made him a fellow Oxonian, took Krueger under his wing and advised him to serve instead on the interstate and foreign commerce committee. The new freshman class, the largest in congressional history, first made its presence felt by challenging the ironclad seniority system. Many committee chairmen were soon under open threat, and Texans Wright Patman and Bob Poage were ousted as heads of their committees. Krueger bucked the reform trend among House freshmen and voted in favor of Patman, Poage and other senior members. Once the Congress began considering legislation, he put even more distance between himself and most of the new, mostly progressive members. Con gressional Quarterly would ultimately rank Krueger as the eighth most conservative freshman in the 94th Congress. Over the next three years, Krueger established a consistent voting pattern as an economic conservative with occasional liberal stands on selected social issues. He sided with the liberals on legislation to prolong the life of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and extend its application to Texas, and on the admission of women to the service academies. He voted for strip-mining regulation and an end to the ban on political activity imposed long ago on federal workers. He also stood with the liberals by opposing a total prohibition against the use of Medicaid funds for abortions. But while he has shown such flashes of liberal inclination, the great majority of his votes show him to be a die-hard defender of the status quo, and basically a reactionary on economic and military issues. The congressman from New Braunfels voted with the conservatives on food stamp cutbacks, delays in enforcement of auto pollution regulations, relaxation of air pollution standards in cities, cuts in solar energy research, high military budgets, construction of the B-1 bomber and development of the neutron bomb, arms sales to foreign dictatorships, agribusiness subsidies, and opposition to consumer protection measures, strong lobby disclosure, open records bills, and job programs. Krueger’s record on labor has been mixed. He voted against common situs picketing and attempts to repeal rightto-work provisions, and for a reform in the labor laws to guarantee labor and management equal time prior to union representation elections. He supported the increase in the minimum wage to $2.65, but voted for delays and the denial of the same rate to teenagers. Choosing sides Floor votes in the House are only a partial reflection of a politician’s work. What really counts is skill in writing legislation and guiding bills toward final approval. Regardless of conservative or liberal beliefs, a representative may choose to work for the public interest or for special interests. Krueger has embraced big business. It was a logical choice for someone with his background, huge campaign debts, and ambition to run in expensive races for even higher office. The petroleum industry was the first to engage Krueger’s services. An intern from Harvard dived into research on oil and gas laws and helped prepare his first major proposals. Krueger joined the efforts to save the oil depletion allowance. With support from President Gerald Ford, he also mustered a surprisingly