Brummett: Where are the Statesmen today?

Max Brantley noted this morning on his Arkansas Times Blog:

John Brummett washes his hands of every single member of the six-man Arkansas congressional delegation for their total default on solutions for the country’s financial ills.

The state that produced Mills, McClellan, Bumpers, Fulbright, Clinton and other large Washington figures “has now shipped six empty suits to Washington, D.C., where filled ones are desperately needed.”

John Brummett in his article is critical of six Arkansans in Arkanasas. He asserts:

U.S. Sen. John Boozman — He was elected to be a mere head of cattle available for herding by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Yet all of a sudden he has found a proposal by McConnell potentially objectionable.

Boozman was last seen scratching his head with his hoof, having strayed to the side of the herd.

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford — This old filer of personal bankruptcy because he had a little unwanted balance on a credit card says we can leave the debt ceiling where it is and, as of Aug. 2, start paying only on our debt and for the military and for Social Security and for Medicare, simply letting the rest — farmer subsidies, veteran’s benefits, law enforcement, disaster assistance, you name it — go.

If only we could let him go.

U. S. Rep. Tim Griffin — He was last heard from saying he and other tea party types think it’s time to do something big. Defaulting on debt and ruining the domestic and global economies … that would do it.

A head of cattle himself, he is herded by Paul Ryan, last seen at a high-dollar eatery on Capitol Hill enjoying a $360 bottle of pinot noir with a couple of anti-government types who appreciated his efforts to switch the burden of health care costs from government to sick old people.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack — Otherwise nondescript, he wanted to reduce the deficit by taking away Obama’s TelePrompTer.

U.S. Mike Ross — He used to be a leader of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats. But then most of them got beat last year by undisguised Republicans.

So there you have the sad story of how one small needy state once known for producing uncommon national political prominence has now shipped six empty suits to Washington, D.C., where filled ones are desperately needed.


I know that many times we glorify the past and it is true that Arkansas had some very powerful men representing our State in the past. However, they were all Democrats and now almost all of them are conservative Republicans.

We need for our men in Washington to make the hard choices. You will notice above the comment by Brummett that many of the blue dog Democrats that Mike Ross associated with the past have been defeated. He is in a pretty lonely group right now. Mark Pryor is still sticking to the old methods by traveling the state and saying that the Republicans will discontine the Social Security checks. Actually it was President Obama that suggested that the other day even though Social Socurity currently has the payroll taxes coming in to pay all their bills.

We need some statesmen that will cut when we need to cut. Take a look at this fine suggestion below.

Debt-Limit Deal: $500 Billion Cut Option

Posted by Chris Edwards

Charles Krauthammer is absolutely right that Republicans must call President Obama’s bluff on the debt-limit vote. I suggested that the House GOP pass $2 trillion in cuts tied to a $2 trillion debt increase, thus handing the matter over to the Senate and the president and refusing to budge.

Krauthammer has the same idea, but with $500 billion in cuts and a $500 billion debt increase. That would certainly be better than Senator McConnell’s chicken-out plan, and it would have the advantage of being so modest in size that I think it would ultimately get large support in the Senate from moderates.

The cuts–small “trims” really–could be taken right from Obama’s own Fiscal Commission report. The table below illustrates how modest and limited are the reforms needed to hit $500 billion in savings over 10 years. Indeed, the data from the commission only covers a nine-year period and includes just some of the proposed entitlement savings.

Obama Fiscal Commission Entitlement Trims $Billions
Trim Health Care Subsidies
Reduce subsidies for medical education $60
Expand Medicare cost sharing $110
Enact tort reform $17
Reduce Medicaid tax gaming $44
Reform Tricare $38
Trim Social Security Growth
Increase benefits by chained CPI $89
Trim Growth in Other Entitlements
Increase other entitlements by chained CPI $43
Reform federal retirement benefits $73
Reduce farm subsidies $10
Reduce student loan interest subsidies $43
Total Trims, 2012-2020 $527

It would be blindingly obvious to most voters that Obama would be responsible for a debt default if he couldn’t bring himself to sign such modest cuts that were proposed by his own fiscal commission. Then, when the government runs up against the debt limit again five months from now, the GOP should have another package of cuts ready to be passed. This next time they could perhaps focus on discretionary program terminations, some of which I’ve proposed here.

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