You think Gov. Beebe will have an easy time of it in the Senate, given his past years of service? Think again, When it comes to pork The Brotherhood rules, Brummett writes.
As the governor spawned from the Legislature, Beebe confronts a deep and bitter chasm in the very body he once ran, the state Senate.
He's been gone nearly four years. Insurgent senators who never knew him or who knew him and rather resent him have taken control from his fading clique. They've done it by the lure and leverage of uncommon General Improvement Fund riches emanating from the $800 million surplus.
Beebe wants to cut the grocery tax and spend the GIF mostly on statewide needs. He has the general alliance of the more responsible, hardworking and better-intended members of the Senate, people like Jim Argue of Little Rock, Dave Bisbee of Rogers, Shane Broadway of Bryant and Steve Bryles of Blytheville.
The insurgents are, among others, Bob Johnson of Bigelow, Steve Faris of Malvern, Terry Smith of Hot Springs, Randy Laverty of Jasper, Irma Hunter Brown of Little Rock, Tracy Steele of North Little Rock, Gilbert Baker of Conway and Shawn Womack of Mountain Home. And, oh, yes, there's Jack Critcher of Batesville, installed as president pro tem.
They call themselves the Brotherhood and their aim is provincial. They tend to be as detached as Huckabee from the hard detail of public policy. They spend their time, energy and wiles maneuvering to run the Senate and lining up at the GIF trough for equal and robust shares for their full local discretion.