Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Republican victory in Jonesboro proves Obama's enduring value in Arkansas

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 7:23 AM

click to enlarge SO MUCH FOR COATTAILS: Gov. Beebe's support didn't help Steve Rockwell much.
  • SO MUCH FOR COATTAILS: Gov. Beebe's support didn't help Steve Rockwell much.
Tea Party Republican John Cooper's victory over Democrat Steve Rockwell in a special state Senate race in the Jonesboro area yesterday — by a decisive 57-43 margin — means many things, none of them good for people on the Democratic side of the political aisle.

My list:

* Victory in a district long held by Democrats has to be viewed as strong further evidence of an organic shift in Arkansas politics from historic Democratic voting patterns for local offices.

* Running against President Obama is as potent a strategy as it was in 2012 and 2010.

* Gov. Mike Beebe has no coattails.

* Anyone who thinks the Republican Southern strategy of playing on racial fears and prejudices isn't part of the winning equation isn't paying attention.

* The continuation of the private option version of Obama's Medicaid expansion in Arkansas is in deep peril. The one-vote Senate margin was erased by Cooper's election to succeed Bookout, who supported the measure. At least one other pro-Obamacare voter, Sen. Bruce "Fireball" Holland, is being challenged by an anti-Obamacare voter, Rep. Terry Rice, in a Republican primary. Other Republicans are undoubtedly nervous in the coming fiscal session about giving potential Tea Party primary opponents a political club, amply evidenced by Cooper's victory.

* Cooper's victory signifies a significant reactionary segment in the pro-Republican majority. The business of Jonesboro is business. Rockwell is a veteran businessman. Many business interests, particularly the huge health care industry, spoke of the damage that will be done if Cooper's vote upends the private option and massive state budget cutting must follow. Didn't matter. Nor did a personal campaign finance advantage and a vigorous get out the vote campaign by young Democrats.

* State legislative races have been nationalized and it's an evil portent. The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, a national organization, took some of the credit for the victory. It's one of uncountable deep-pocket funded independent political efforts aimed at producing Republican hegemony from the state houses of America to the White House. We'll see them in other Arkansas races this year.

* Rockwell defeated more conservative opponents in the Democratic primary. Given the size of Cooper's victory and the depth of Obama hatred, it might not have mattered, but Rockwell's centrist views on social issues — pro-choice and not ready to beat up on gay people — also were fodder for Republican attacks.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Thursday's open line and news video: Also reclaiming local schools

    The open line and Thursday's news in Arkansas.
    • Aug 27, 2015
  • Judge charged in battery case suspended from bench

    Cabot District Judge Joe O'Bryan, arrested last Friday night for an alleged drunken assault on his girlfriend, should be suspended from the bench while his misdemeanor case is pending, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission decided today. The Commission also confirmed an ongoing investigation against another district judge over using criminal defendants for personal work.
    • Aug 27, 2015
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Hutchinson's dilemma same as Beebe's and his GOP affiliation doesn't help

    Ernest Dumas writes about the difficulties faced by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in matching the achievements of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, even though he, like the majority of the legislature is a Republican. In short, Hutchinson needs Obamacare money, though his party rests on a foundation that hates Obamacare.
  • Visionary Arkansans 2015

    They make an impact.
  • Brantley: South toward home

    A two-week cruise from Vancouver to Alaska was nicely timed for the August heat wave. It dipped into the 40s during my visit to the Hubbard Glacier, loudly "calving" with mighty booms of cracking ice. Here's a brief politically tinged travelogue.
  • New York Times fails again

    If one were of a low and suspicious nature regarding the New York Times' historically inept Washington Bureau, one might suspect yet another example of the "Clinton Rules" — that is, a shaky allegation unsupported by facts.

Most Viewed

  • Ben Carson takes the stage in Little Rock

    Ben Carson is talking to a crowd at the Capitol at the noon hour.
  • Planned Parenthood analysis: Videos deceptively edited

    Planned Parenthood has issued an extensive rebuttal to undercover videos by an anti-abortion group elaborating with some specifics on its allegations from the first that the videos — including some described as "full" videos — were edited to be misleading.
  • Buzzing about Miss Gay Arkansas

    The website BuzzFeed has devoted a serious amount of digital acreage to the recent Miss Gay Arkansas pageant, seemingly an oddity in this rural state except that this pageant has a long history and the first Miss Gay America was from Arkansas.
  • Yes. Let's talk about guns

    The gun lobby has so cowed the American body politic that it has become unacceptable to talk about gun control in the hours after the latest episode of mass gun carnage.But some persist.
  • Attention Little Rock shoppers

    Outlets of Little Rock, the shopping center nearing completion by the Bass Pro Shops at Otter Creek, continues to roll out additions to the list of retailers. Today's announcement says outlets of Brooks Brothers, Asics, G.H. Bass and Levi will be opening, the first for those brands in Arkansas.

Most Recent Comments



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