Favorite

Rough start 

Milligan off to rocky start

Dennis Milligan, the Bryant businessman who’s the new chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, is off to a rocky start.

He began with distrust in his own ranks. In early interviews, he emphasized a desire to focus the party on fiscal issues — cutting taxes, making government more efficient. These were code words. He, and other Republicans, think the party isn’t going to expand its reach in Arkansas unless it can be seen as something more than a small circus tent of Northwest Arkansas zealots, consumed with outlawing abortion, oppressing gay people and turning immigrants away.

His “moderation” drew a predictable attack from the Jim Holt wing of the Republican Party. Milligan didn’t exactly stand tall. He quickly proclaimed that he abhors homosexuality and gay union just as much as the good Shiite Republicans do. On immigration, he ducked. He said, according to an interview published Sunday in the Democrat-Gazette, that immigration was an issue between Congress and the president. (In today’s Republican Party, this might pass for courage. At least he didn’t cater to the wall-builders.)

But the Sunday interview in the Democrat-Gazette earned Milligan instant national blog and cable TV notoriety on another issue. He said, according to the article, that he’s “150 percent” behind Bush on the war in Iraq. Then he said:

“At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country.”

We “need” another U.S. attack to appreciate the war in Iraq? Milligan defenders say he merely misspoke, that he meant something else. Perhaps. Charitably, let’s assume he was being only stupid, not crassly political. He still earns no credit for what his defenders THINK he was trying to say.

Suppose Milligan meant to say the country had been spared terrorist attacks because of the invasion of Iraq. Suppose he meant the war provides continuing insurance. He’s misguided. Plotters continue to probe the country for weaknesses. Arrests in a plot to blow up a New York airport were made just last weekend. There’s abundant evidence, not just in Iraq, that the war has made the world a far more dangerous place for Americans. It has clearly diminished our standing among even our strongest admirers.

Another terrorist attack in the U.S. would achieve a result precisely opposite that which Milligan envisions. Still more people would conclude that Bush’s war was a terrible idea, poorly executed. Another attack would be still more proof of the futility of pre-emptive war as a tool of peace.

Milligan would do best to stick to fiscal issues. But he’ll need a little fine-tuning there, too. His call for more state tax cuts rings hollow after the gigantic tax cut pushed through by the Democratic governor and legislature. His call for more highway construction is an apple-pie/motherhood idea — until he’s forced to talk about which taxes he’d raise to do the work. He wants government to spend more efficiently on education. If that’s so, which inefficient school districts would he close and which athletic powerhouses does he propose to pare down?

Welcome to the arena, Mr. Milligan.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More on LRSD tax

    When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a Walton Foundation-paid lobbyist, long devoted critics of the Little Rock School District, lead the messaging for a quarter-billion dollars in new tax debt for the district, it is cause for caution.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Better dust off your history books, Runner. The Soviets invaded Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Yugoslavia,…

    • on January 21, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Weakening NATO, the military alliance that has brought stability and prosperity to the west since…

    • on January 21, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Good one, Al. Hell hath no fury, and all that happy horse-shit. I hope Gene…

    • on January 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation