Pho to by Ala n Pog ue right-wing record of any member of Congress. In fact, when you lopped in the hundred members of the Senate, he still came out 535th most right-wing and, I think, five or six points to the right of Jesse Helms. So, when you’re over at that kind of rigid ideological position, so that even Jesse Helms is to your left, it’s not surprising that Phil would want to put this as a contest in ideological terms of right versus left.” On the steps of the Capitol. Lloyd Doggett becomes animated when discussing relative ideological positions. “Gramm didn’t think Sen. Lloyd Bentsen was a mainstream Democrat either [in 1976]. The same people that are down here from the Republican party crying great crocodile tears about Sen. Bentsen’s non-selection [as the Vice Presidential nominee] were eager to challenge him as a dangerous extremist when he ran for office against Jim Collins . “I’ve been very pleased to run not claiming I was a ‘fiscal conservative’ but claiming that I was fiscally responsible. I don’t think the term ‘conservative’ has a lot more meaning than the term ‘liberal’ in political discussions in much of Texas. But I do think that the record that I have in state government is one of demonstrating that government can be caring about people and, at the same time, careful about how tax dollars are spent. “The tendency will be, on Mr. Gramm’s part, as his `Massachusetts doesn’t need three senators’ radio ad already suggests, to try to run against everybody, whether it is Ted Kennedy, Howard Metzenbaum, Tip O’Neill, anybody he can find except Lloyd Doggett, and to run against labels instead of my record. The reason he needs to do that, if we’re dealing with the record I’ve established in state government, is that it won’t be one that he can [use to] stir up the fear and hate that he needs in order to generate the money and support to carry the debate in Texas.” The only way to reach the reclining voters of the state is with money and television air-time. During the primary campaign, Doggett was accused of running a “negative” campaign. The fact is, however, that until Doggett began using symbols to characterize his opponents and their positions, he received very little media attention. “The advertising that we did in the spring,” he said, “has to be considered in the context of what we were dealing with at that time. I stand by the words of everything we said in the ads as being a true characterization of my opponent’s record on social security, as contrasted with the claims that were being made. I think that when you are being targeted where you have three or four television ads coming for every one that you put on, then the ads that you put on have to be a little stronger and more memorable. I would like to see our advertising campaign in the fall emphasize more of the positive record that I’ve had, and that’s what I have heard from most people. Some people said that what they wanted was more of a blend, where they had a better story, a more complete story, about what I’ve done rather than just what was wrong with the other guy. And I envision that we will utilize the same people who did the advertising in the spring but that we will try to have a better mixture. At the same time, we do need comparative advertising with Phil based on positive aspects of my work. I’ve been amused, I suppose, by Phil’s contention that what he wanted to do was to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign at the same time that he has blanketed the state with these radio ads that are more negative than anything anyone ran in the spring.” Doggett is convinced that if real issues are discussed matters of the economy and foreign affairs there would be little doubt that he would win. “He [Gramm] has proceeded to pick up issues that have little impact on the lives of ordinary Texans in an attempt to develop as much hate and prejudice as he can and avoid discussion of the record he has had, which has put him at the ideological extreme even of the Republican party. The kinds of issues that I’m trying to talk about in the course of this campaign are the ones that affect the daily lives of the people that I’m visiting with, whether they are small business persons, the working family trying to make ends meet on a budget and to get the kids through school, whatever. I view this campaign as trying to emphasize and concentrate on those issues that people will see will make an immediate difference in their lives.” As we approach Labor Day, the senate campaign of this long hot summer is just beginning to heat up. G. R. IN A RECENT interview with the Observer on the subject of nursing home regulation, Attorney General Jim Mattox used the word “aggressive” a half dozen times in the first two minutes. The thrust of Mattox’s tough talk was that the Office of Attorney General intended to “send a clear signal to the industry and a signal to the Health Department that we were going to take aggressive action toward resolving some of the problems.” “The problems” of nursing homes in Texas, by anyone’s standards, are tough to tackle. Indeed, the state’s problems in this area are almost legendary. There was the incident in Lufkin in 1977, when six aides in the Pine Haven nursing home beat a 76-year-old woman with coat hangers, belts, and a shoe. That summer, the newspapers were filled with grim stories about life at Pine Haven and other “havens” for the elderly. In the fall of 1977 an inspector for the state Health Department began filing reports of harrowing conditions in the THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 Nursing homes in Texas Inching Toward Reform By Dave Denison
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.