PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! We’re proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUM P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC is a candidate for a personality-driven cam paign. Krueger had to be defined by issues. Issues, in this campaign, Bob Krueger never quite had. He began with a budget-scrubbing pitch, borrowing a page from John Sharp’s Against the Grain audit reports, then promised to cut his own salary 20 percent to do his part in cutting the budget; then he took a few swipes at tobacco companies receiving tax subsidies for creating health problems; then, in the end, he settled in on health care. On health care, Paul Wellstone he was not. Unlike the Minnesota Senator who is sponsoring comprehensive health-care reforms, Krueger talked about caps on prescription drug prices but never staked out a position likely to engage the 59 percent of those whom, in the week prior to his election, told New. York Times pollsters they would be willing to pay new taxes “even over and above new taxes to reduce the deficit if those taxes could be used to buy the country a health-care reform package.” There are more than five million uninsured or underinsured Texans to whom real health care reform might have appealed, but Krueger found the message too late and had too little to say about it. Why did Krueger fail to address the hottest kitchen-table issue in politics? Asked about health care while he was campaigning in El Paso, Krueger told the Observer he could not commit to any health care package until he knew what it included. Since he didti’t know what President Clinton’s health-care reform package was, he couldn’t endorse it. At the time the basics of the President’s working plan had been laid out in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Could he vote for that health-care reform package? Kreuger answered that he felt like he would support “some healthcare plan.” In other words, he wasn’t exactly staking it out as his issue. The Krueger campaign did, however, employ Shipley, whose political consulting business last year earned more than $150,000 representing the Texas Medical Association, Humana Health Care Plans and the Texas Health Care Association, according to reports filed with the Ethics Commission. Shipley dismissed the question about potential conflict of interest between legislative and campaign clients, responding that he does not do lobbying but strategic consulting. “Does that mean that someone who does work for the Trial Lawyers or for labor can’t advise a candidate?” Shipley asked. He added that Republican consultant Karl Rove consults for the tobacco industry as well as Republican candidates. And no one raises questions about conflicts of interest. \(The tobacco industry that it was the Texas Medical Association that he worked for, not the American Medical Association, which is involved in lobbying on a national health care issues. Also advising the Krueger campaign was Jack Martin of the Austin office of Public Strategies, at the same time that Joseph O’Neill of Public Strategies Washington, D.C, office was one of the lobbying heavyweights on the North American Free Trade Agreement Nation, O’Neill’s small firm earned $455,771 representing the government of Mexico’s interest before the Congress. Krueger never had much to say about. NAFTA, either, although in El Paso he told Mexican reporters he favored a side agreement on the environment to supplement the treaty negotiated by the Bush and Salinas administrations. Yet NAFTA is clearly an issue that has aroused the interest of the blue-collar voters who make up an important bloc of the Democrats’ base vote. In the end, in an issue-driven campaign that couldn’t define its issues, Krueger couldn’t get voters to the polls. His 567,000 votes represented less than 50 percent of the core Democratic vote. Conventional wisdom is that Republicans turn out for special elections while Democrats require a turnout of at least 30 percent to have an impact. On June 5, the turnout was 20.5 percent of the state’s 8.5 million registered voters. Krueger carried only 14 of the state’s 254 counties even Democratic bulwarks such as El Paso, Jefferson and Travis counties voted for Hutchison and he did not win in a single metropolitan area. If this election wasn’t a wake-up call for Democrats in Texas, then they’re not asleep. They’re dead. L.D. No Sacred Cows One thing is certain: Kay Bailey Hutchison was sent to Washington with a mandate to cut government spending. The only problem for Texas is that the Democratic majority in the Senate will be glad to accommodate her, starting with the two of the biggest porkbarrel projects in the nation: the superconducting supercollider near Waxahachie and the space station project based at the Johnson Space Center near Houston. Hutchison said her first priority is to fight higher taxes as well as military base closings, such as the Dallas Naval Air Station, Kelly Air Force Base and the home port and naval air station near Corpus Christi. “I am not prepared to vote for tax increases,” Hutchison said at a news conference in Dallas the day after her victory. “I think Congress needs to perform on cutting the budget before it looks at any other options.” Dave McNeely of the Austin AmericanStatesman noted that Robert Byrd, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, already dislikes Texas’ new senior Senator, Phil Gramm, for his habitual demagoguery about wasteful spending while he claims credit for every government program with an investment in Texas. “If Byrd had his way, Texas wouldn’t get a penny,” Blaine Bull, who served as legislative director in Lloyd Bentsen’s Senate office, was quoted. Texas still has considerable clout in its House delegation, including several committee chairs and key members of the House Appropriations Committee. It also has Bentsen as Treasury Secretary, a key economic adviser to the President, and former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Governor Ann Richards also has a few markers she can call in on Capitol Hill. But with only a year until Kay Hutchison has to stand for re-election and with Gramm gearing for a run for President in 1996, Democrats in Washington have to ask themselves why they should break their backs to preserve pork-barrel spending in Texas so Gramm and Hutchison can claim credit for the local jobs and then come home to blast Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Congress for ordering the tax to pay for it. And Congress may well ask why we should spend billions for exotic science projects when we cannot afford to provide basic health care for our citizens. Texas voters the one-fifth who turned out to vote on June 5 as well as those who apparently did not think it was worth their time should be careful what they ask for. They may yet get it. J.C. 4 JUNE 18, 1993
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