The battle that is currently raging in Little Rock over House Minority Leader John Burris‘ outrageous proposed budget cuts of $21 million is a win for the Republican caucus, no matter how you slice it. While I do think we need much larger cuts, and I suspect the caucus agrees, they had to make a judgement call about how much they thought they could realistically get passed. I get that. Time will tell if their $21 million was close to that mark. But regardless, we will be getting some cuts, and that is a victory for the GOP, and more importantly, the taxpayers.
The victory goes much deeper, however. Not only are taxpayers winning & Republicans gaining some favor, but state Democrats are being exposed, showing themselves to be more interested in smearing, attacking, accusing Republicans of wanting to fire people than actually moving our state forward. Oh, and blocking compromise and real progress, all the while accusing Republicans of being obstructionists.
(Before you know it, they’ll be accusing John Burris [pictured right] of wanting to ‘starve grandmas‘ and ‘throw them off a cliff.’ And by the way, these attacks will never stop, so Republicans better not cave now or they will lose all of the ground they have gained.)
An example of these tactics was uncovered by The Tolbert Report earlier today: Tolbert acquired two text messages, probably using mind control, from Democrat House Speaker Robert Moore (pictured left). The texts were reportedly intended for Governor Beebe‘s chief of staff, but fell into the wrong hands. Here’s one of the texts:
Hearing from members …. They don’t want budget amended. They don’t want JB to get any leverage out of this. If Gov finds 1 m they will say DFA should have found it earlier and they will play it as poor budgeting. Want us to stay firm with JBC RSA. Thanks.
“JB” is John Burris. I think the rest of the message is pretty self-explanatory: state Democrats are the ones who are unwilling to compromise.
And as Dan Greenberg said last week at The Arkansas Project, it’s understandable:
In the minds of Arkansas Democrats, that’s how it’s supposed to work. It’s like this: when the Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Generals, the Washington Generals are supposed to lose.
But things are changing in the legislature. Republicans aren’t going down without a fight, and fight they should.
Another victory in this battle for Republicans is that their mettle is being tested. They want to be the majority party this time next year, and this is their audition. Right now they’re showing the people of Arkansas that they are willing to work for reforms, even in the face of immense pressure from the majority of the legislature, the governor, and the media.
As long as Republicans don’t change course or snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they’ll come out on top at the end of this session, and perhaps in November as well.