Looking for a preview of future wrangling between the state’s Democratic Governor and legislative Republicans?
This week’s public addresses between Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and the House Republican leadership offer a glimpse.
Beebe used his weekly megaphone to underscore a week-long debate first reported by Talk Business. On Monday night, Beebe teed off on an Americans for Prosperity TV ad that he said was “trashing” Arkansas.
The ad cites a number of statistics about the Arkansas economy, and Beebe’s contention is that it was “misleading.”
In his address, the Governor cited a number of rising statistics for Arkansas before re-addressing the AFP ad.
“Unfortunately, not everyone wants Arkansas to look good in the eyes of others,” said Beebe. “A political action group calling themselves Americans for Prosperity has created a misleading ad attacking Arkansas and is paying to run that ad on Arkansas television stations. It portrays Arkansas as a state moving backward and driving people away. Despite bipartisan tax cuts of more than $1.2 billion dollars over the past six years, this ad instead makes a false claim of ‘higher taxes’ in Arkansas.”
Beebe questioned the group’s motives.
“Why would any group spend money trying to trash Arkansas’s image? I can’t answer that,” he said before concluding that he hoped this was “only a minor distraction to most Arkansans.”
House Minority Leader Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) used his party’s weekly radio address to question the Governor’s statements on the ad from earlier in the week.
“The advertisement in question has one very simple theme: We can do better in Arkansas. As House Republicans, we believe we can make Arkansas a better place to live, work and raise a family through responsibly spending the people’s money, lowering taxes, and strengthening economic and educational freedoms in order to create sustainable private sector jobs that can be filled by Arkansans,” Westerman said.
“One wonders why someone would be opposed to accomplishing this in Arkansas. Given the recent public push back by the Beebe administration over this television ad and its theme, we are left to wonder why the other side doesn’t feel we can improve our state,” he added.
Westerman said Beebe’s reaction to the ad by saying it was a personal attack on the people of Arkansas is “insulting.”
“When someone claims legitimate criticism is ‘trashing’ Arkansans, one should consider whether they themselves are ‘trashing’ our people by selling them short and believing they are unable to handle it when someone says Arkansas can do better,” Westerman said. “Our state’s image is not defined by a television commercial. Instead, it is defined by the actions of our leaders and their temperament in handling challenges.”