by Max Brantley
You've heard of The Brotherhood, the ruling clique in the state Senate?
Well I ran into The Otherhood today at lunch. That would be members of the minority that favored Sen. Dave Bisbee for president pro tem and for chairmanship of Joint Budget, but was outvoted on the latter 21-14.
The Otherhood reminded me of some basic legislative math, which I'm embarrassed to say hadn't occurred to me earlier in writing about the contentiousness, present and future.
If the subject of Senate debate is money -- and isn't it usually? -- 21 votes aren't enough. It takes 27 to pass an appropriation. The suggestion already seems to be that some members of The Brotherhood think some members of The Otherhood can be bought for a bigger share of the surplus. Maybe not.
And speaking of that alluring $843 million surplus and future surpluses: Gov.-elect Mike Beebe at his Capitol news conference today allowed as how he'd certainly favor a return to the days when governors had more control over spending accumulated surpluses and that he continued to favor using that money for "state" projects. As opposed to local pork, in other words, the process favored by legislators. But with many legislators looking on, he also allowed as how governors don't always get what they want. Will he get more than the previous one? You have to like his chances.