by Max Brantley
I meant to mention earlier the fine interview and profile Seth Blomeley did in the Sunday Democrat-Gazette with the paranoid Jeannie Burlsworth, who's leading Secure Arkansas, which has mounted an initiative drive to put further limits on services the state can provide to unauthorized immigrants.
Now comes Bill Gwatney, chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, to make a little sport of some of Burlsworth's bizarre theories espoused in that article, including the supposed plans for a Mexican-U.S. superhighway headed straight for a Kansas City colonized by Mexican federales. Burlsworth is being advised by a former insider for Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson, so Gwatney put two and two together.
The sum, according to Gwatney's addition: Wackos = Republican Party of Arkansas.
(In truth, a few key RPA officials have lately been trying to sidestep the immigration issue, but this is still fair satire. Xenophobia runs deep in the GOP.)
Who knew Democrats had a sense of humor? Read on the jump.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEWS RELEASE
AR GOP CONSIDERING KANSAS CITY MEXICAN REAL ESTATE?
The Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA) was asked today to explain its close ties to a radical, fringe group called “Secure Arkansas” which claimed recently that a large section of Kansas City will soon become the sovereign territory of Mexico.
Recent revelations of the extreme beliefs of the organization Secure Arkansas and its ties to the RPA left mainstream Arkansans to wonder if the RPA really considers Kansas City future Mexican real estate.
“I’m curious about how anyone believes Kansas City is going to wind up as Mexican real estate. Do they think the Mexican military is ready to invade? Do they think some potential Mexican Customs House is a foothold for an invasion? Do they have the plans, or have they created some kind of far-fetched conspiracy theory?” Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Bill Gwatney said of comments by the chairperson of Secure Arkansas in Sunday’s Democrat-Gazette. “More than that, why is the RPA supporting these beliefs? They seem to think that Mr. Stewart is a keen legal mind, yet he has chosen to align himself with people who believe that Arrowhead Stadium will soon be bulldozed to make way for a tri-national superhighway.”
Jeannie Burlsworth, organizer of the Secure Arkansas campaign, fretted about the U.S. turning over part of Kansas City to become “sovereign Mexican territory” as part of a U.S., Canadian, and Mexican merger to create a superhighway between the three countries, “10 football fields wide,” in Sunday’s Democrat-Gazette.
Despite the group’s outlandish fears of a Mexican land snatch in Midwest America, the RPA has seen fit to support their efforts by sharing the Party’s general counsel, Chris Stewart, with the campaign. According to Secure Arkansas’s financial disclosures, the group paid Stewart a retainer fee in April for his work. Stewart’s previous efforts include his work as political director for failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson. Hutchinson dramatically decreased immigration enforcement actions when he was appointed by President Bush as Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security.
By using the same attorney as Secure Arkansas, the RPA suggests that they endorse this fringe element’s paranoid beliefs. This is something they may want to explain to mainstream Arkansans. Here are the DPA’s questions for the RPA: 1) Does the RPA agree with the Secure Arkansas Campaign’s belief that the Mexican government will soon occupy Kansas City? 2) If not, does the RPA plan to sever its ties with Secure Arkansas either by distancing themselves from Mr. Stewart or by Mr. Stewart disavowing the organization?
Neither Stewart nor any other representative of the Arkansas Republican Party has yet refuted the belief of Secure Arkansas campaign’s chairperson that Kansas City will soon become Mexican sovereign property or the idea of a tri-national superhighway merger.
“I don’t think this is the kind of mindset Arkansans want setting public policy. If the Republican Party believes the people of this state deserve better than laws based on the opinions of a paranoid few, then they should cut all ties with the Secure Arkansas campaign,” Gwatney added.