Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The problem with Democrats

Posted By on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 7:43 AM

DUMB OR DELUSIONAL? Sen. Larry Teague makes nice in a war.
  • DUMB OR DELUSIONAL? Sen. Larry Teague makes nice in a war.
A Stephens Media report on how election outcomes could affect the 2013 legislature provides a crystal-clear example of why the Democratic Party is in peril.

Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville, Senate president pro tem-elect, said Arkansas lawmakers have traditionally worked in a bipartisan manner. He said he does not expect that to change regardless of how the November election turns out.

Spoken like a man who got some Republican votes for Senate president and who'll be as useless as teats on a boar hog if the majority switches next year. In short: If he really believes what he said, he's an imbecile or delusional. Democrats, because they are so diverse ideologically, HAVE been prone to compromise and deal-making at times. Party discipline is non-existent. The strict Republican dogma is bright-letter stuff and brooks no compromise. Bipartisanship isn't in the platform. Teague's channeling of Neville Chamberlain gains him nothing in the final days of a bitter war for legislative control.

Indeed, in the same Stephens article, Republican are much clearer, differing only in emphasis, about the sea change they and any sentient being should expect if they rise to power.

Their own party platform endorses a radical change in taxation, favoring a crippling reduction in income taxes which can be paid only through dramatic reduction in support of education, health care, prisons and pubic safety.

They will rubberstamp every piece of legislation possible to end the availability of abortion in Arkansas — no matter how dire the medical emergency facing a woman — and they'll do all in their power to stamp out distribution of birth control pills and condoms.

To the extent possible, they will take statutory steps to encourage religion in public institutions, from daycare to public schools.

They will take all possible steps to punish those in sexual minorities.

They are hungering to stiffen parole and refill prisons that they won't provide enough money to operate.

Public schools will resegregate. Teachers will be devalued. School choice — vouchers for private schools and charter schools — will reign supreme. Years later, we'll learn as every other state has that "choice" is a shell game that produces few student winners, many losers and a windfall for con artists.

Polluters need not fear stronger regulation, already lax, particularly in the Fayetteville shale.

Every step possible will be taken to block implementation of federal health care legislation. The legislasture will reject expansion of Medicaid. This will refuse billions in additional federal money and worsen the deficit in existing Medicaid programs while crippling the medical economy. Nursing home care for the elderly will be reduced dramatically. Local hospitals and medical providers will be forced out of business. UAMS, already in perilous shape, will be thrown into a death spiral. Arkansas Children's Hospital's huge dependence on Medicaid will have to be affected.

The flipside is practiced rhetoric for any Republican: Tough times require tough choices and sometimes bitter medicine.

Republican legislators and voters will tell you this directly, even those who'll suffer. Remember the unfortunate fellow from Paragould who turned up at a Koch elect-Republicans bus tour the other day? He has a low-level state job with good state benefits, plus eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, earned income tax credit and child care deductions, all targeted by national Republicans for reduction or elimination. He says he just can't vote for Democrats anymore. Too much government spending. He doesn't expect bipartisanship for his vote and he will not be disappointed, though what the hell he'll do when the results trickle down on him is anybody's guess. Make the rounds of local churches for daily alms, I guess.

Fame for the state, more like infamy, will accompany this changeover. Arkansas will become a regular source of national headlines for fodder from the most extreme in the new majority — the Jon Hubbards, Loy Mauchs and Charlie Fuquas. But at least they'll provide some comic relief, albeit the blackest form of humor.

Bipartisanship? If the Republican majority takes over it will be a cramdown — a blitzkrieg to employ one of Mauch's favorite literary devices — held up only occasionally by Democrats wielding the 75 percent fiscal vote requirement to slow the express train temporarily. Gov. Mike Beebe might as well get his golf clubs ready for the Searcy Country Club. He won't have much governing to do.

Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (18)

Showing 1-18 of 18

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-18 of 18

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Suspect identified in Texas shooting at Muhammad cartoon contest

    Dallas Morning News has comprehensive coverage on the shooting of two men outside a Muhammad cartoon contest held in a Garland, Texas, public school building. The FBI reportedly has confirmed that one of the men killed was Elton Simpson of Arizona, who'd previously been investigated for terrorism ties.
    • May 4, 2015
  • Piranha caught in Lake Bentonville; not to worry

    A piranha was caught last week in Lake Bentonville, KATV reports, but a state Game and Fish Commission spokesman says it's no cause for alarm.
    • May 4, 2015
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • UPDATE: State Board of Education to hold special meeting concerning LRSD waiver

    Something's up. The State Board of Education has announced a special meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. The lone agenda item concerns a request for a waiver of state law regarding the Little Rock School District.
  • Mike Huckabee is running for president

    That other man from Hope makes his announcement.
  • Here comes Huck

    God is telling him: "Run Huck, Run!"
  • City steps up police presence in Centennial Park

    The Little Rock Police Department has assigned an extra patrol to the Centennial Park area after a complaint by a property owner got Mayor Mark Stodola's attention. Paul Dodds, who lives on West 17th Street and Park and whose company Urban Frontier LLC has fixed up 10 properties for sale and rent and owns several more, emailed Stodola, the city board of directors and the police chief on Sunday. Stodola today directed City Manager Bruce Moore to increase "directed patrols" in the park area and "have Entergy light this place up like it is daytime. With summer break upon us we need to stifle this activity before it gets worse."
  • Cotton's tactics on Iran bill backfire

    Sen. Tom Cotton's unforced error ends up sinking GOP strategy on Iran bill. Cotton apparently getting comfortable with the idea of being Ted Cruz 2.0.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation