HOG BUBBLE: The Razorbacks continued to struggle on the road, getting destroyed by Mizzou last night. Sounds like their NCAA tourney bubble has burst, unless they can win the SEC tournament.
KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE Couldn't help but think of Arkansas when I saw this study finding that state legislators may be off in their perception of the electorate.
Legislators consistently believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. This includes Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. But conservative legislators generally overestimate the conservatism of their constituents by 20 points. “This difference is so large that nearly half of conservative politicians appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than is the most conservative district in the entire country,” Broockman and Skovron write. This finding held up across a range of issues.
MIXED CHEER: Don't miss the latest column from Ernie Dumas, who captures the happiness with a dash of head-slapping our office has been feeling — from Little Rock to New Zealand — about the latest turns in the healthcare debate.
If you followed the tumult over implementing the part of health insurance reform that covers Arkansas's poor working people, the big Republican victory last week must have you fighting contrary impulses, whether to weep or cheer.
Cheer is the right reaction, unless you are one of those taxpayers who frets that the government is spending too much of your money on the freeloading poor who do not earn enough money to buy their own insurance. Then lamentations may be in order. The tax bill for insuring the working poor is going up, not down, thanks to the Republican initiative that Gov. Beebe last week persuaded the Obama administration to accept.
Before commiserating with the weepers, let's explain why, to most people, the Republican legislators have done a good thing, even if for the wrong reason.
Guaranteeing ready access to medical care for up to 250,000 low-income adults next January will be a huge gain for Arkansas, which has one of the unhealthiest populations in the country by every measure, and now that coverage seems nearly assured. Only 10 days ago, it appeared that a minority of the legislature, mostly Republicans, would stand in the way because they had run against "Obamacare" and vowed to block whatever part they could from taking effect in Arkansas.