A Patty wagon?
I enjoyed Bob Lancaster's latest take on Southern words, especially ones with the added “t.” One not mentioned by Mr. Lancaster, but my personal favorite, is the word “hearst,” a coach used to carry the deceased. Even Carl Childers, after dispatching Doyle Hargraves with a lawnmower blade, told the 911 operator to send an ambulance and a “hearst.”
It was very magnanimous of the Arkansas Times to give space to a notorious Republican like Clint Reed. The space was well used; it was a good article. I suppose from your point of view, a hand extended to the minority party, that might help that party recover some of its lost position, will help make the game more interesting.
I find it interesting that Mr. Reed echoed the same theme that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has sounded recently, that the Republican Party needs to be less stringent in whom they welcome [and keep in] the party. But while the D-G has also advocated for ILLEGAL ALIENS, and has mocked those who work to secure our borders from ALL illegal ALIENS, Clint Reed just skipped across the issue, throwing Hispanics in with independent voters, women, and young voters. (Of course, not all illegals are Hispanic; and not all Hispanics are illegal.)
Mr. Reed and the D-G are probably both right, with Mr. Reed having, I think, the better of it. So maybe we're not speaking of being all things to all people, but rather accepting that there are some core values within the Republican ethos that when emphasized can minimize less important issues, and allow within the Party an agreement to disagree.
All Republicans support the U.S. Constitution as written; not as a “living document.” Republicans believe that the First and Second Amendments are crucial to the difference of being a servant of the state; or the state being the servant of the people. Republicans believe that they govern best who govern least. Republicans believe that we were blessed by divine providence to provide hope, shelter and charity to a world plagued by war, hunger, ignorance and disease.
Now let the fight begin.
Term limits fan
Perhaps one of the most vocal foes of the Term Limits Amendment, passed overwhelmingly by Arkansas voters in 1992, was Max Brantley. I know, I conducted a number of editorial board visits with Max. He objected because of some silly notion that in Arkansas the ballot box was the only term limiting mechanism voters needed to retire his entrenched Democrat buddies. The voters disagreed, placing the amendment into the Arkansas Constitution with nearly a 2-1 margin.
Politicians, after only a few terms in office, believe they acquire some manifest destiny to serve into antiquity. Consequently, they have challenged voter mandated term limits in every legislative session since 1993. Their most recent failure came in 2006, when their wormy attempt to extend their stays in office failed miserably as their “one of three” constitutional amendments was offered to voters. It was thumped overwhelmingly, gaining only 30 percent of the general election vote.
Those of us who were at the center of the 1992 term limits effort had only one non-partisan dream: Nurture never-before-seen competition at Arkansas's ballot boxes.
Hooray! The retirement of Shane Broadway, term limited as of 2010 is producing such a result. No less than five, yes that's right Max, five hopefuls are considering running for Broadway's seat. Even aspiring Dawn Creekmore is considering a move of her residency to qualify.
No more is the legislature a collection of Max's entrenched friends and story sources. In the Arkansas Senate, every eight years we have new blood. In the House of Representatives, it's every six. What's the take away? Competition baby.
And, please resist the temptation to talk about new blood destroying all of that institutional memory in the legislature. When our highly experienced House of Representatives passed the now bemoaned and beleaguered Arkansas School Funding Formula, there was more than 100 years of collective experience on the Education Committee. So, as they say in lower Arkansas, that dog won't hunt.
Health option needed
We truly need an option for public health care. And I will support any plan that our president decides that is good for us. The insurance companies today are in need of a change as well as the car companies. I feel now is the time.
North Little Rock
Unhappy with Lincoln
“The bubble has burst,” U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln was recently quoted as saying in kicking off her 2010 re-election campaign. Let's certainly hope so.
Apparently 800 or so people kicked in nearly $800,000 to help Lincoln be re-elected. Not bad. I'm sure most out-of-work Americans wish they could round up that many wealthy friends to do the same for them. I don't know about most Arkansans, but if you can pony up an average of $1,000 for a meal for a senator to be re-elected, what does that say about your motives and your concerns about legitimate worthy causes? If I had $1,000 to give away, I'd send it to my local Boys and Girls Club.
Obviously, starting two years in advance, Lincoln won't get a lot done in the Senate. Which might be okay, given that she's done nothing in the previous decade, except vote for the Iraq war and bail out corrupt financial institutions.
By the way, this letter is from a registered Democrat, who only hopes that either a serious opponent from the party emerges, or that Doyle Webb and the Republicans can offer a viable candidate to challenge Lincoln in 2010, which they couldn't do against Mark Pryor last year.
Tax cut economics
Ernest Dumas's history of tax cuts and the economy in the Feb. 19 Times is interesting but deeply flawed. While admitting that economists never agree on the causes of business cycles, he then goes on to cite what he sees as a pattern indicating, apparently, that tax increases are good for the economy.
An example of the shortcomings of his analysis: Hoover and Mellon did enact tax cuts in the 1920s and kept public spending down, and this coincided with a record economic boom. The “long” recession Mr. Dumas speaks of in the mid-1920s was actually remarkably short as recessions go.
Although Mr. Dumas is quick to point out that Hoover and Mellon cut taxes in the 1920s, he fails to mention that it was the very same Hoover and Mellon, not Roosevelt, who initially advocated and succeeded in raising taxes, quite drastically, in 1932. Roosevelt merely prolonged the unfortunate Hoover-Mellon policy. Some economists, primarily those of the Austrian School, believe the recession of the 1930s was prolonged by the Roosevelt administration's Keynesian attempts to “stimulate” the economy similar to the Obama administration's attempts today.
Mr. Dumas totally omits the 1960s in his analysis, perhaps because the darling of the political Left, John Kennedy, implemented sweeping tax reductions and sparked an economic expansion that would last the balance of the decade.
Perhaps what Mr. Dumas was trying to point out is that tax cuts alone cannot be counted on to produce a strong economy. One must also reduce spending and borrowing and keep a tight control of the money supply, conditions which have rarely, if ever, coexisted in recent American history.