by Max Brantley
It's open. Final words:
* READ THIS COLUMN: Absolutely splendid column by Bruce Bartlett in the New York Times about how the wealthy would have you believe they are hurting the most and so government should cut spending on poor people. See, poor folks are used to hard times, so they don't feel them so badly as a rich guy getting a smaller Wall Street bonus this year. Bartlett, a conservative former Reagan and Bush aide, also said:
I’m still waiting for the growth Republicans promised under George W. Bush after they cut the top federal income tax rate to 35 percent from 39.6 percent, the top rate on qualified dividends to 15 percent from 35 percent and the top rate on capital gains to 15 percent from 20 percent. All of these actions significantly lowered taxes for the rich without raising economic growth at all. Why will more tax cuts for these same people do any good now?
* SO MANY HYPOCRITES SO LITTLE SPACE: I'm late on noting this, but the D-G had fulsome coverage this morning of a river shipping conference at Fort Smith. Republican Land Commissioner John Thurston led this assembly, for reasons not wholly clear, and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack and Tim Griffin and Sen. John Boozman were ballyhooed guests. Uh, fellows. Did anybody tell you guys that the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System exists and is improved almost wholly on earmarks? You know, those turrible things that Republicans have vowed to rid from the federal spending process? Thurston's endorsement of stimulus spending also was a touch ironic. He must not have checked first with the Kochs to have his remarks vetted.
* LIMBAUGH IS NOT ALONE: A Daily Beast columnist does a pretty good job here of rounding up sexist and misogynistic remarks by liberal commentators. Chris Matthews has a particularly sorry record. Bill Maher is coarser. It is no defense of them, however, to say none holds a candle to Limbaugh in political influence. And you have to consider Limbaugh's extended attack on Sandra Fluke for what it was — a coordinated and Republican-supported effort to blunt an issue of the party's own making — the attack on availability of contraception and the man-only congressional panel at which Fluke's testimony was denied. What he said was far more important in the context than juvenile and ugly japing by Matthews and Maher and Olbermann, however repugnant. Republicans' reluctance to repudiate Rush says it all. And don't get Josh Marshall started on Limbaugh v. Ed Schultz, whoever he is.
* LET THERE BE DEBATES: Democratic 1st District congressional candidates Gary Latanich and Scott Ellington are ready to debate. What about state Rep. Clark Hall? Mr. Hall?
UPDATE FROM CLARK HALL (you decipher):
"This race is first and foremost about creating job opportunities and increasing economic development for the people of Arkansas's First Congressional District. Any forum that doesn't encompass the full spectrum of ideas to move the district forward is an idle exercise. If and when we can get all candidates on one stage, I will be there. Until then, I will be focused on talking to voters one on one and advancing the ideas that solve the problems facing the First Congressional District."
* DEMOCRATIC PARTY SAYS NO TO FRED SMITH: If former state representative Fred Smith of somewhere in the area of the Arkansas or Mississippi Delta expects to run for state legislature as a Democrat this year, the convicted felon is going to have to successfully sue the Democratic Party for the right to do it. The party notified him today it would not allow him to compete for its nomination. The party refunded Smith's filing fee. Possible problem: The secretary of state's office exhibited some initial reluctance today in following the Democratic Party's wishes on who its own candidates should be. Mark Martin and Co. seemed for a time to be reluctant to follow the party's wishes not to put the felon on the ballot. Not sure yet how that played out.
* TWEET WATCH: Republican Rep. Nate Bell of Mena sent out this message today on Twitter.
I've been selected as Convo Leader for US Poultry & Egg Assoc. W/US Farm&Ranch Alliance. I'm proud to be national voice for family farms.
I've asked Bell what that means exactly, but he hasn't responded. I guess it could be a volunteer position at a convention. But I'm curious if "national voice" means a paid position for the industry. Any poultry and egg people out there have a clue?
UPDATE: Bell never responded to my question directly (and complained that I'd asked to his Twitter followers), but he posted a tweet that suggests his roll as "voice" is a voluntary one.
* REPUBLICANS JUST CAN'T QUIT BASHING WOMEN: Now comes a Wisconsin Republican legislator with a bill to declare single motherhood a contributing factor in child abuse and neglect. Check the link. This isn't the sponsor's first ride on the crazy train.
* VOTE FOR THE LIBRARY: The proposal to rededicate Little Rock library millage to produce additional revenue without raising taxes is on the ballot March 13. Early voting began today. I think the library only wants its supporters to know, frankly. UPDATE: 37 people voted today.
* SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT ARRESTED IN DRUNKEN DOMESTIC FRACAS: Channel 4 reports on Mountain Pine happenings.