Republican Sen. Bruce Holland,
trying to hold his seat against a challenge from Rep. Terry Rice
, is following in the footsteps of Rep. John Burris
, Rep. Duncan Baird
and other Republicans who supported the private option version of Obamacare adopted by the legislature and now face opposition as a result. He's claiming he opposed Obamacare. He didn't. He and the others took Obamacare Medicaid expansion money and ran with it (for which I happen to be grateful), but privatized a part of the Medicaid system and added some other window-dressing to make it friendlier to conservatives. It's still Obamacare. Terry Rice was a "no" all the way. Should he beat Holland — and a few other legislative dominoes fall — Arkansas could be heading for a budget cataclysm in 2015.
Holland owns the private option vote in his mailer, it's true. But a "push back" against President Obama? It's hard for Holland to claim that when Obama has been fulsome in his praise of the Arkansas method of adopting his signature legislative initiative.
Holland is having it both ways.
4th District Republican congressional candidate Bruce Westerman,
on the other hand, can fairly claim to be an opponent, even if he did sign on originally as a sponsor of Obamacare implementation through the private option. It happens that Holland and Westerman used the same firm for their mailers. So you have mailers with the same message from two politicians with diametrically opposite votes. Nobody said consistency counted in political consulting.