Republicans are no longer a rarity in Arkansas

John Brummett talks about how state lawmakers get paid today. It is problem that the Democrats created 20 years ago and the Republicans will have to correct in 2013.

In the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is an excellent article . The Republicans are going to take over soon and the Blue Arkansas Blog can rant and rave about it all they want but the good ole days for Democrats in Arkansas are over :

How to scare a governor

Show him a two-party system in Arkansas

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LITTLE ROCK — SOME OF us are old enough to remember when Arkansas, like the rest of the South, had only one party (Democratic), one crop (cotton), and one issue always lurking behind all the others.

But the times, they’re not only changing, they done changed. (Linguistic note: The insertion of the auxiliary “done” in a verb form means it’s in the tense known as the Southern Emphatic.)

Cotton long since has been challenged by rice, soybeans and even corn in the old Cotton Kingdom.

Even the race issue ain’t what she used to be, having lost much of its power. The days when an Orval Faubus could pull it out of his sleeve whenever he wanted another term in the Governor’s Mansion seem as far behind us as George Wallace’s time in Alabama, or Lester Maddox’s in Georgia.

These days the demagogues have to settle for unsatisfactory substitutes for the race issue like fear of Hispanic immigrants. The race card itself may be played only rarely, as when a white candidate dares run for office in a largely black constituency. People just don’t seem as scared of the Other as they used to be.

Most upsetting of all, Republicans are no longer a rarity. They could show up anywhere these days. One could be living next door. Some even inhabit state constitutional offices (land commissioner, secretary of state, even lieutenant governor), and comprise most of the state’s congressional delegation. The two-party system has even raised its heads in the state legislature, where Republicans seem to occupy more seats every year. The impertinence of it. Don’t these people know their place?

It’s alarming. Mike Beebe, who’s still governor and still a Democrat, certainly sounds alarmed. “It scares me a little bit . . .” he told a Lions Club at Conway the other day—twice. For he also noted that the state’s House of Representatives was dividing more along party lines than the Senate, “and it scares me.” And it’s not even Halloween yet.

If this state keeps getting more Americanized, the two-party system could become as much a fixture of state politics as it is in Congress. And the benefits of competition might be as widely recognized in politics as they are in business.

How alarming. The governor certainly sounded alarmed. And has reason to be. For where will it all end? At this rate, some of these uppity Republicans in the Ledge might even object when a governor chooses a good ol’ boy as director of higher education whether or not he’s legally qualified. They might even go so far as to ask the state’s attorney general for an opinion that reveals how little the governor really cares about the law he’s supposed to follow.

Now that’s scary.

This article was published today at 4:30 a.m.Editorial, Pages 14 on 10/11/2011

Editorial 14

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