by Max Brantley
Can't be too careful with a 70 percent approval rating and one of the neediest states in the country when it comes to medical coverage. Gov. Mike Beebe's first obligation is to himself in an election year. So, naturally, he throws in with Republican thugs and Democratic cowards and says he, too, would have opposed health legislation. Unfunded mandates, see.
If he's going to go this far, I don't know why he doesn't agree with Secure Arkansas, Jim Keet and the rest of the teabagging rabble and pull a Jim Johnson/Bruce Bennett/Orval Faubus. Call a special session, propose some interposition legislation, get a constitutional amendment drive going on interposition and, heck, he could even one up Gunner DeLay. How? Easy. Call out the National Guard if the feds try to provide better health insurance coverage in Arkansas. It's just wrong to let sick and poor people have insurance. It's just wrong to set up insurance exchanges. It's just wrong to give businesses tax credits. It's just wrong to expand coverage of kids.
Maybe Beebe could station some state militia, too, at those unkempt human development centers. They could bar entry to any feds who'd dare try to enter with the idea of improving conditions for disabled people housed there. What do they know about anything? And I think we're going to need some troops over at Children and Family Services, too.
To show his good faith, Beebe could join the teabaggers planning a rally Wednesday in support of a nullification amendment at Dustin McDaniel's office. Nullification. How sweet the sound. It's too bad Justice Jim didn't last a few more weeks to see it flower once again.
UPDATE: I should mention that Beebe did say he would obey the federal law. He's just not happy about it. Also, McDaniel told Channel 7 he wouldn't sue because the suit was a loser and mostly politics.
UPDATE II: On reflection, perhaps I went all Limbaugh on a typically nuanced declaration by Mike Beebe attempting to slide around a difficult issue and saying even some reasonable things in the process. But here's the thing: This battle is now about salesmanship. The Democrats have done a noble and historic thing. It can be improved on and made better over the years, with 95 percent of America now covered. But that won't happen if Republicans ride this to an electoral tidal wave in November. It behooves good Democrats -- Beebe is one -- to start selling the good in this and stop lending aid and comfort to the enemy. The National Republican campaign organization is busily sending Beebe's statement today to newspapers all over the country. It irks me. I react. Perhpas overreact. But not without some reason.