Favorite

Unconventional wisdom 

Not until the national pundits told us, after the election, did we know that the conventional wisdom had been that Sen. Blanche Lincoln would lose to Bill Halter, what with him having all that labor support. Whoever heard of a labor-backed candidate losing in Arkansas?

Really, everybody who lives here has heard of it, though some seemed to forget, or pretend to forget, in their eagerness to present a big-money, big-business incumbent senator as an underdog against a lieutenant governor relying on the janitors' union to lift him into higher office. Besides the intangible advantages of incumbency, Lincoln was the candidate who had more money and more "outside" money — raking it in from agribusiness, industrial polluters, and the like. The towering gullibility of some Arkansas voters causes them to see these corporate interests as friendlier than their neighbors down the street who've joined a union, or thought about it. Corporations and the politicians they elect promote this fiction, and have succeeded in keeping Arkansas workers underpaid and demoralized, believing they dare not associate with organized labor lest bad go to worse.

Arkansas politicians understand. Bill Clinton saw that the sure way to help Lincoln was to belabor labor. David Pryor lost a U.S. Senate race with labor support, and won after he became a labor baiter. If there's a next time for Bill Halter, he'll be warning us against out-of-state union bosses.

Out-of-state pundits do not have a monopoly on political error. Native sages cherish the belief that Arkansas is a populist state, despite its right-to-work-law, its regressive tax system, its unelected regulators and its virtually spotless record of kicking the butts of such populist-type candidates and populist-type issues as come before it, Halter being the latest. Arkansas never had a Huey Long. We've had politicians who talked about defending the common man from the elite, Jeff Davises and Orval Faubuses and Jim Johnsons, but their real game was racism, not populism.

Now, the Senate race offers the usual range of selection. No populist or union-friendly candidates here, just Lincoln, a sometimes well-intentioned middle-of-the-roader, and John Boozman, way to the right and shockingly partisan, but also so dull that even his fellow reactionaries might not turn out on election day. That's probably Lincoln's best hope.

The choice is even starker in the Second District congressional race, where it's pretty much Van Helsing vs. Dracula. Joyce Elliott would be a fit successor to Vic Snyder, and Tim Griffin would be a fit agent of Karl Rove. Griffin is alleged to have worked in the George Bush campaign to keep black people from even voting. To find one running against him must be deeply painful, poor fellow.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

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 »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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

  • Can't afford to gut ACA

    The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • I am very glad to see a lot of women running for government positions in…

    • on September 19, 2017
 

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