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THE SEVEN DWARFS, you will remember, was what one observer called the Democratic Presidential candidates just about the time they arrived in Corpus Christi for last June’s LULAC national convention. And each candidate who spoke in the Bayfront Convention Center stated, as if it were an article of faith, his opposition to aid to the contras in Nicaragua. Michael Dukakis, who arrived with his state campaign directoF Ty Fain, was unequivocal in his statement on the contra war. Delivering most of his speech to the League of United Latin American Citizens in Spanish, Dukakis spoke of a year studying abroad, in Peru. Una faccia, una razza,” Dukakis said, even slipping into Italian. “One face, one race” a statement of Mediterranean and Hispanic solidarity. And then a few lines about quotidian life in a Third World country. Listening to him speak then, one could sense that by living a year in the life of a Peruvian family, Dukakis somehow came to understand the consequences of our transnationals’ foreign policy. That he had seen the Americas from down under. That was last year. Two weeks after the Atlanta convention, the contra question was again before the Senate. And with the Washington insider’s stature that Lloyd Bentsen brings to the ticket also comes his commitment to the contra war. That Senators Christopher Dodd and Ted Kennedy signed on with the initial Democratic compromise package suggests a partisan maneuver designed, in part, to make things easier for the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee. Bentsen can now vote for $27 million to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical supplies for the contras and still avoid supporting the more muscular Republican package with its $20 million for weapons. That Republican Senator Lowell Weicker who regularly opposes contra aid would support neither party’s proposal also suggests that the Democratic version was just another tailor-made suit for our state’s senior Senator. Joining Weicker in opposition to all forms of contra aid were Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Brock Adams of Washington. A source in Dodd’s office described the initial Democratic proposal as an attempt to head off the Republicans, who always weigh in with something more lethal. He also observed that contra aid is no longer news: don’t know if you’ve seen any of the East Coast papers today, but the story is buried. And when you try to talk to Nightline, or any of the network morningnews people, they laugh you off.” The Congress, he said, is close to accepting that Central America is a problem to be inherited by the next administration. And what will Lloyd Bentsen bring to that administration? To avoid unfavorable comparison with George Bush who as VicePresident was either standing firmly with Ronald Reagan, or out of the loop Bentsen almost has to go his own way until November. So during the campaign one unfortunate variable in the equation of Democratic image-making will be calculated in the loss of life in Central America. But come January, should the Democrats win, what effect will Vice-President Lloyd Bentsen have on a new Democratic Central American policy? And would a President Michael Dukakis seek the counsel of his former Lieutenant Governor, Senator John Kerry, and other New Englanders like Dodd Democratic Leadership Council, repudiated at the polls, take its place in the executive office. “Bentsen’s voting record is closer to the Republicans that the Democrats,” San Antonio Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez said, upon hearing of Dukakis’s VicePresidential selection. Any compromise between Bentsen’s Central American policy and the one outlined by Dukakis in Corpus Christi last summer will only mean Lower Intensity Warfare. And that’s not exactly what the majority of Democrats voted for in the primaries last spring. L.D. Helen Farabee’s Agenda NCLUDED IN THE EULOGY that Ernesto Cortes, Jr. delivered at an Austin memorial service for Helen Farabee was a passage that might have come from the agenda of the state’s Industrial Areas Foundation that Cortes directs. “We must make it possible for all of the children of Texas to receive a quality education, competent and decent health care. We must insure that our elderly population receives sensitive and adequate resources. If we are to be true to her memory we must maintain a tradition of compassion and give all of Texas’s families an opportunity to live and work in a dignified manner.” And that, it seems, is the way it should r _ THE TEX AS server AUGUST 19, 1988 VOLUME 80. No. 16 FEATURES Bentsen’s Background By Joe Conason and James Ridgeway 4 Politics and Symbols By Dave Denison 6 The Race Is On By Dave Denison 11 Who Built Houston? By Joe Feagin 12 Democratic Currents By Barbara Belejack 17 Making Waves By Terry Fit; Patrick DEPARTMENTS 19 Editorial 3 Political Intelligence Afterword The Sun Also Sets By Louis Dubose 20 23 have been. Helen Farabee’s public life was dedicated to the execution of a social services agenda in a state never known for generosity to its unemployed, elderly, poor, and dispossessed. “She understood profoundly,” Cortes said, “the dignity and power of the poor and working people being their own advocates if they only had the conceptual tools and effective strategies.” Mrs. Farabee served as president of the Texas Mental Health Association from 1972-1974 and again 1985. Working with Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby she helped create the Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Agency. In 1985 she also coordinated much of the organizational and lobbying effort by which an indigent health care bill was passed. “Without Helen Farabee, there would have been no indigent health care plan,” Lt. Goy. Bill Hobby said after the 1985 legislative session. At the time of her death from respiratory failure in Austin, Farabee, 53, was director of public policy for the Benedictine Health Resource Center in Austin. Mrs. Farabee’s husband is former state Senator Ray Farabee of Wichita Falls. To him, their two sons, and an extended family of constituents that has benefited from Mrs. Farabee’s public service, we express our condolences. L.D., D.D. EDITORIALS Democratic Contradictions THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3