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

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas voter information for sale on 'dark web'

    Any worry about Kris Kobach's misuse of Arkansas voter information sent to his "election integrity" commission yesterday by Secretary of State Mark Martin is to some degree irrelevant. The data is already for sale cheap, on the "dark web," Mother Jones reports.
    • Jul 28, 2017
  • Recommendations made for sale of Woodruff and Franklin schools

    Little Rock School Superintendent Michael Poore released Thursday his recommendations for sale of the closed Franklin and Woodruff schools to a health clinic and apartment development, respectively.
    • Jul 28, 2017
  • LR's 35th homicide on Col. Glenn; another dead in NLR

    A 31-year-old man was fatally shot Thursday night at the Big Country Chateau Apartments on Col. Glenn Avenue just west of University Avenue. It was the city's 35th homicide of 2017. North Little Rock also reported a homicide early Friday.
    • Jul 28, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.
    • Jul 27, 2017
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • We're No. 1! in vote suppression

    It's not often that Arkansas can claim national leadership, so give Secretary of State Mark Martin credit for something.

    • Jul 13, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

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 Viewed

  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • IBS, you're from Chicago, right? Hillary's from Chicago. Your monomania against Hillary is puzzling and…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • When we had not one but TWO shit candidates running for president, is it really…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • So Gene Lyons says all people who voted for Trump fall into just two categories…

    • on July 27, 2017
 

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