Republicans are an ungrateful lot. Though Arkansas routinely votes Republican in national races, the party maligns the state at every opportunity.
Agents of the infamous Koch brothers, big Republican money men from Kansas, are flooding Arkansas with letters and television ads promoting Republican candidates, saying that only these can lift the state from the sorry condition in which it now abides. The insults from the Koch group, called Americans for Prosperity, are reminiscent of those the Bushes, I and II, heaped on Arkansans. "The lowest of the low," George H.W. Bush called us at a Republican national convention. Shamefully, the Republican delegates from Arkansas did not walk out.
Gov. Mike Beebe has refuted the Koch machine's trashing of his home state. He cites statistics showing that Arkansas is not a high-tax state, as the Kochs claim, and that taxes have been further reduced since Beebe succeeded a Republican governor. He notes that the recession that cost jobs in Arkansas and every other state was a product of Wall Street, where Republicans rule, and he says it's ironic that the Kochs should be talking about Arkansas job losses after they closed a plywood plant in Crossett that employed 700 Arkansans. (Where the Kochs allow jobs to exist, it is at the lowest possible wage.) Arkansas's unemployment rate is still below the national average, Beebe observed.
Arkansas has made moderate progress under Beebe. But even he will be unable to stop the relapse if Republicans gain a majority in the legislature. It's crucial they do not.