Empty arms, mostly
We're cheering U.S. Rep. John Boozman for his vote on credit-card reform. How we wish we could embrace him more often! Our arms ache with longing, just about.
Arkansas's only Republican in Congress (and most of his Republican colleagues across the country) last week supported legislation to curtail credit-card companies' abuse of consumers.The Republicans got right only after the companies had committed heinous offenses against the American people, and only after Democrats had submitted legislation so meritorious AND popular that only the politically suicidal among congressional Republicans dared oppose it. (Democrats, including the five in the Arkansas delegation, were united in support of reform. More is expected of them.)
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Republicans didn't have to be strong-armed into behaving constructively, if they would of their own volition support — even initiate — legislation to benefit the American people. Something on the order of a single-payer system of national health care, for example. Those would be Republicans the American people could be proud of.
But most of the time, Boozman and his fellow partisans submit tamely to the noisy extremists who've seized the wheel of their party — Cheneys, Limbaughs, O'Reillys et al. They're a fanatical bunch — courage, determination and a strong sense of morality are needed to resist them. Those qualities could once be found in Republicans. Lou Holtz had his “do-right” rule; he suspended star players for misconduct, and won the big game anyway. Colin Powell is as loyal a Republican and as moral a man as Holtz and evidently fearless. Should Boozman join Powell in attempting to save the Republican Party from its worst element, he'd serve not only the Third District but all of Arkansas and all of America. And he'd have the Times' good opinion, for sure.
City Director Stacy Hurst is squirming with eagerness to get rid of the city park in her district (none of the really top people go there) and developer Jimmy Moses tells the City Board they should cater to the whims of out-of-state industrialists who might, or might not, put a plant in Little Rock. Things do not look good for War Memorial Park. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences wants to buy a portion of the park from the city, to use for parking lots or offices or whatever. If the sale goes through, the rest of the central-city park will soon follow. UAMS and/or commercial developers will want more of the land; the next sale will be easier. People who believe that Little Rock should hang on to and improve its parks, not abandon them, must make their feelings known to the City Board, often and emphatically.