Favorite

Berry's legacy 

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Marion Berry's vote was the strangest of all in the Arkansas congressional delegation. What was he afraid of? He's not seeking re-election; he didn't need to worry about the insurance companies and the Tea Baggers punishing him politically if he supported health-care reform. His weak excuse about the abortion provision of the bill collapsed when the leading pro-life Democrats, people with stronger anti-abortion records than Berry, and more anti-abortion constituents, accepted the abortion clause. (And when Berry's colleague, Vic Snyder, provided documentation to the House that the language of the reform bill concerning abortion complies with the current federal law.)

Still, Berry voted against the greatest advance in health care since Medicare, though he's elected from a congressional
district that needs this advance as much as any in the country. This will be the defining vote of Marion Berry's congressional career. He chose to be remembered as deficient in compassion and courage. Weird.

Snyder, who's also not seeking re-election, has many bold votes on his record. His opposition to the invasion of Iraq, an incursion still squandering lives and treasure, comes immediately to mind. But he'll be remembered also as the only Arkansan in the House to vote for health-care reform. He'll give more good service to his district, his state and his country before his term ends in January.

The realization that we'll lose Vic Snyder and keep Mike Ross is almost too painful to bear. Like Berry, Ross represents a district whose residents desperately need better health care. Like Berry, he didn't let that sway him. He said he was voting the way his constituents wanted. That may not be true – many people who think they're against reform find otherwise when the details are explained to them. But in any case, government by public-opinion poll is a poor way to run a country. As President Obama told Congress, sometimes a legislator needs to do what's right, even if it's unpopular. That requires a legislator to think for himself. Ross can't or won't.

The fourth Arkansan in the House, Rep. John Boozman, did what he always does – gave blind obedience to the Republican Party's leadership. John Boehner casts John Boozman's vote as surely as Antonin Scalia casts Clarence Thomas'. And Boehner's not interested in what's good for Arkansas. Or America, for that matter. Today's Republicans support or oppose legislation solely on the basis of what they think will be good for the party in the next election. Patriotism runs a poor second to factionalism.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Event Calendar

« »

April

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  

Most Viewed

  • Intracity tourism

    The issues that tug at my heartstrings are neighborhood stigma and neighborhood segregation, which are so prevalent in Little Rock. In my opinion, the solution to those problems is "intracity tourism."
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.
  • Forget the hairdo

    As the 2018 races begin to heat up, we see more and more women running for office. And as more women run, we will see more of the seemingly endless critiques of their appearances.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: O'Reilly's fall

    • O'Reilly should run for president. He's already cleared one major hurdle by proving he's a…

    • on April 27, 2017
  • Re: Intracity tourism

    • I love being a tourist in my own backyard. One of the advantages of being…

    • on April 27, 2017
 

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