by Max Brantley
The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is busy barraging news outlets with attacks on front-runners for Democratic congressional nominations. They figure, I guess, they can help a weaker candidate win or, if nothing else, start the fall campaign early.
The GOP isn't exactly fastidious in providing ample context on many issues, as you might expect. Just the same, I think the organization rounded up a pretty good list of hits on Tim "Hang 'em High" Wooldridge, who faces Chad Causey in the June 8 runoff for 1st District.
Sensing a momentum shift as third-place primary finisher David Cook endorsed his runoff opponent, Tim Wooldridge launched remarkably personal attacks on Chad Causey last week.
First, Wooldridge attacked Causey for being too young.
“Wooldridge said he thinks his combination of experiences, including being a father and husband, will trump Causey. ‘My opponent isn’t married and doesn’t have kids,’ Wooldridge said. ‘I’ve changed diapers and put training wheels on a bike.’” (George Jared, “Wooldridge, Causey work toward runoff,” Paxton News Bureau, 5/22/10)
It’s true that Causey’s young – he was just a teenager in the mid-1990s. But at least he wasn’t voting in favor of higher taxes on our troops, like Wooldridge was at the time:
“Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wooldridge defends a vote against increasing a tax exemption for military service members as necessary during tight budgetary times…That is being targeted in a new television ad by Wooldridge's rival for the party's lieutenant governor nomination, Bill Halter…The ad cites Wooldridge's vote in 2005 against a proposal to raise the amount of military pay exempt from state income taxes from $6,000 to $9,000. The ad also cited measures Wooldridge unsuccessfully proposed in 1993 and 1995 to cut the salaries of state employees while they are on National Guard duty.” (Andrew DeMillo, “Democrats blast at each other in Ark. Lt. Gov. runoff,” Associated Press, 6/9/06)
Then, Wooldridge attacked Causey for having “lived off the government” and not having “had real-life jobs.”
“As the primary season closes June 8, Wooldridge said he hopes voters choose someone like them — him. ‘I haven’t lived off the government for the last 10 years, I’ve had real-life jobs,’ he said.” (George Jared, “Wooldridge, Causey work toward runoff,” Paxton News Bureau, 5/22/10)
In 16-year politician Tim Wooldridge’s world, being a highly-paid lobbyist qualifies as a “real-life job.”
“An unsuccessful Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor last year, former Sen. Tim Wooldridge of Paragould, has joined a lobbying firm with clients including the Arkansas Forest & Paper Council, Georgia Pacific Corp. and Deltic Timber.” (“Ex-Sen. Wooldridge joins lobbying firm,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/23/07)
“Every taxpayer was excited to learn last week that Arkansas had landed exactly what it needed most, another highly paid lobbyist. And they will get to pay his salary, opening at $150,000 a year, and the expenses of his office, maybe another $100,000. Oh, the presidents and chancellors of the state-supported universities will insist that the expense of the new Arkansas Association of Public Universities and its executive director will not come from the tax funds appropriated by the state to operate the institutions but from other sources…Institutions keep separate funds precisely for such accounting ruses, but it all comes from the same pot. Tim Wooldridge of Paragould, a state senator until he ran for lieutenant governor last year and lost, got the job. He needed work.” (EDITORIAL, “What we need: more lobbyists,” Arkansas Leader, 7/25/07)
And repeatedly voting to raise his own pay as a lawmaker somehow doesn’t qualify as having “lived off the government.”