Arkansas Republicans = One Trick Pony

by Michael Cook ([email protected]) 67 views 

The Arkansas Republic Party has become a victim of its own success.

Republicans finally took control of the State Legislature and what have they spent the majority of their time focused on this session? Guns and abortion.

Last year, the House Republican Caucus released their legislative agenda known as the SIMPLE plan. To their credit, unlike legislative Democrats, they released a detailed plan of when they want to accomplish this session. It’s a horrible agenda that is bad for Arkansas, but nevertheless, it’s a vision.

Now Republicans have a messaging problem since their legislative agenda is being overwhelmed by the topics of guns and abortion. It’s to the point now if you ask the average Arkansan, who doesn’t pay much attention to politics, what they believe has been the focus of the Arkansas GOP, you hear some form or variation of “guns and abortion.”

And then ask the same Arkansan what they wish the State Legislature would focus on and they’ll say “jobs, good schools,” etc. There is a disconnect between the focus of the Arkansas GOP and what voters want them to focus on.

Arkansas Republicans have become a one-trick pony in the eyes of many independent voters. And with the filings of more guns and abortion bills today and last week, it appears the pony will keep doing the same tricks.

Andrew DeMillo with the Associated Press had an insightful column over the weekend on the risks Republicans are taking with their focus on abortion and its implication for Democrats.

From DeMillo’s column:

Even Republican legislative leaders are expressing some weariness with the issue, but are stopping short of opposing any more abortion restrictions. They include House Speaker Davy Carter, who has urged lawmakers to focus on tax cuts and the debate over expanding health care as lawmakers approach what could be the final weeks of the session.

“I’m not focused on that anymore,” Carter, R-Cabot, told reporters when asked about the proposed abortion restrictions. “I’m focused on these other things.”

Carter may want to rightfully focus on other issues, but his one-trick pony caucus can’t seem to learn any other tricks.

I only wish legislative Democrats would get their act together, focus on economic issues and hammer the point home that many GOP bills stick it to the middle-class, but are boondoggles for the wealthy.

Is that too much to ask?