by Max Brantley
But there he goes again.
Thanks to Michael Cook for picking up a response from Burris to Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, a Republican, who's been criticial of Burris' arbitrary state budget cut proposal because of an impact on law enforcement, including the state Crime Lab. We mentioned Montgomery's criticism on Facebook earlier. He's elaborated in an interview with the local newspaper.
“What you have is bureaucrats who have hit the panic button.”
“That’s politics at its best,” Montgomery said. “’I’m going to pick a magic number — 3 percent — and leave the dirty work of what to actually cut to someone else.’”
There's one Republican in Arkansas, at least, who knows **** from Shinola.
Interesting that Burris thinks a lawman is a panicked bureaucrat and his crime-fighting needs, like officer training and swift forensic work by the Crime Lab, worthless. But Burris and other Republicans have gone silent on the $3 million that has piled up without a penny spent in five years in a fund for prosecutors' multi-county drug task forces, one of the more dubious enterprises in the "War on Drugs," except for the booty it produces for law agencies. It's apparently safe to dump on local sheriffs when they complain about real public services. A $3 million slush fund for the War on Drugs? That's OK. And Burris said there's nothing arbitrary about his budget gimmick.
UPDATE: Burris says his use of the word bureaucrats referred to state agency heads, not sheriffs such as Montgomery. That helps only a tiny bit. Budget cuts affect a range of people from forest firefighters to case workers to lawyers to forensic scientists. Characterizing them as paper pushers is a useful political tactic, but demeaning. And even the paper pushers have worth. They pay bills and oversee the procedures intended to, among others, guard against fraud and ensure delivery of needed services. That's the irony I'm driving at. For Burris, it's high principle that motivates him to work full-time at government on the taxpayers' dime. But he would demean others who do the same by sneering out words like "bureaucrat." A little more respect for all is in order.