One of my Google search ticklers happened to turn up a piece in the Daily Beast by Monica Potts, an Arkansas native who’s a fellow at a progressive think tank in Washington and free-lance writer. She reviews last week’s election outcome darkly.
She thinks blue-collar conservatives are in for a surprise, particularly with the private option version of Obamacare hanging in the balance in a state government now controlled by the Republican Party. Along the way, she comments ruefully on Mike Huckabee’s transformation as a populist Republican with a soft spot for immigrants and the needy to a reliable Fox-style commentator.
Potts writes of the difficulty of explaining to Arkansans that WE are the freeloaders — as net importers of federal dollars.
Don’t try to tell that to my fellow Arkansans, though. I’ve never been able to convince them that there aren’t freeloaders in faraway cities they’ve never visited taking their money. Yet if they really cared about nefarious outside forces meddling with the wellbeing of their state, they would have been more suspicious of the campaigns run on behalf of Republicans this year, which were funded by $39.9 million in outside money. This outside, dark money was used to convince the state’s residents that the plans their own elected officials had devised to solve their problems, plans that were working well, were actually bad.
Potts writes that Arkansas had managed over the years to do a little better than some of its Southern brethren because it had a government that cared about people.
Now I’m afraid that’s going by the wayside. Which means the state has now pulled what I like to call a Full Huckabee. Once, Arkansans believed compassion and good citizenship had roles in government. Now, their state politics, like Huckabee’s career, have been taken over by concerns over money, power, and special interests. And as usual, it’s at the expense of its neediest citizens.
We shall see.