As Hutchinsons go (not far enough, in our opinion), we'd considered Donna relatively inoffensive, perhaps a cut above her relations. Now it appears we've been too generous in our estimation of the state representative from Bella Vista. This is a mistake we've made before with Republican legislators, striving as we do to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe one day we'll be able to see them at first glance as they really are, and not as we'd like them to be – that is, responsible, well-informed, truthful. We're slowly catching on that any one of those qualities will get a person thrown out of the modern Republican/Tea Party.
Over Gov. Mike Beebe's objections, the legislature this year approved $35 million in tax cuts, mostly initiated by Republicans. Republicans of the past, the kind who could balance a checkbook, knew that if you reduce government income, government outgo will have to shrink too. Sure enough, the Department of Human Services has announced that it must cut in half the state's payments to foster parents who care for children with behavior and emotional problems. (These children have no lobbyists, unlike the corporate interests the tax-cutters aim to please.)
Fearing the blame that she and her colleagues deserve, Hutchinson has accused the governor, who'd tried to protect DHS and other worthy state programs from the tax-cutters, of being the guilty party. Michele Bachmann could not have been more reckless or cynical. Governor Beebe noted as much in his near-perfect response:
"Rep. Hutchinson's comments are the worst kind of demagoguery and represent one of the most troubling issues we face in politics today: There are too many politicians at all levels of government who campaign for and vote for tax cuts, who then want to run and hide, or blame someone else, when the inevitable spending cuts follow."
The politicians he spoke of have their journalistic enablers, we confess. Commentators in the national media refuse to admit that the Republican effort to destroy Medicare is an effort to destroy Medicare, and they attack those who let the truth slip out. When Republican congressmen propose to reduce funding for programs that fight infant mortality in poor countries, TV correspondents bristle at the suggestion that children kept alive by these programs will die without them.
Actions have consequences. There is no free lunch. Representative Hutchinson has yet to learn these simple lessons. We, on the other hand, along with Governor Beebe, now know painfully well the sort of dirty business that right-wing lawmakers indulge in. How to get them to stop is the question.