by Max Brantley
Some odds and ends from the overnight accumulation:
* NON-EXISTENT VOTE FRAUD: The cooked-up Republican claim of "illegals" voting isn't proving out. You'll remember Secretary of State Mark Martin has indicated he might be willing to follow the vote-suppressing Republicans in other states by using an inaccurate federal database to root out supposed illegals on the voting rolls. Experience here would undoubtedly mirror the experience elsewhere — a monumental waste of time to prove the fears are unfounded.
* BUT IF YOU REALLY WANTED SOMETHING TO INVESTIGATE: Try to figure out where and how the Koch Billionaires' Americans for Prosperity is getting and spending money to produce Republican control of the Arkansas legislature. In addition to directly targeting individual legislators with dishonest attack mailers, the group is behind broader advertising attacking Arkansas governance in general. This is a hand-in-glove effort to help the Republican Party tear down Gov. Mike Beebe, whose popularity is being used as a campaign theme of Democrats. The latest ad jabs (one shown on YouTube above) depicts Arkansas — with its constitutionally mandated balanced budget — as wallowing in debt and poorly performing economically. (We do issue bonds with backing revenue pledges for building projects, just like people take out mortgages to buy homes.) The attack isn't sitting well with Beebe. From Talk Business:
After seeing it on TV before coming to the Arkansas Governor’s Quality Award event at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Beebe took to the stage and discussed the ad at length.
“When they trash Arkansas, they’re trashing you,” Beebe strongly emphasized. He spent several minutes talking about the accomplishments of his administration and how the ad did not reflect those achievements.
Afterwards, Beebe tempered his emotions and in a post-banquet interview said, “It trashes the state. It talks about how bad we’re doing as a state when that’s just not true. We’re doing so well educationally. We’re doing well with creating jobs, even though we’ve lost thousands, we’ve created thousands — it doesn’t bother to say anything about that. It doesn’t bother to mention the fact that we’ve cut more taxes than anybody in history, but we’ve done it in a responsible manner.”
When asked again if the ad was inaccurate, Beebe said, “Yeah, I think it’s very misleading. Yeah, absolutely.”
The purchase of Arkansas by a shadowy front group headed by a Rogers woman who won't take questions from people who question her methods is THE story of this election cycle. Ask a Republican candidate if they believe in transparency for AFP's spending. Watch them turn tail and run.
* HEY, COULD BE WORSE: Talk Business-Hendrix poll puts Mitt Romney up 55-34 over Barack Obama in Arkansas. That's not as bad as I figured.
* THE CHICK-FIL-A CHRONICLES: It has become pretty clear that Chick-fil-A was telling a Chicago alderman and other select people one thing while the man who controls the chicken chain was telling people like Mike Huckabee another. Bottom line: they want to continue to use chicken profits to help groups that discriminate against gay people, but they'd prefer that fact not affect their business. Sorry, Mr. Cathy. All people who work and shop at the chicken chain aren't bigots, of course. But its logo has become a symbol for intolerance (see its now almost required proudly advertised use at Republican events, such as Tim Griffin's tailgate party). Most retailers would prefer to be free of any political association.