Republicans are handing Democrats a powerful weapon in their increasing opposition to Regnat Populus. Latest among the anti-ethics rogues gallery, the man who will be Speaker of the House if Republicans take over in November, Rep. Terry Rice:
Rep. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, warned attendees against “overreaction,” stating “when we’re talking about cutting out corporate donations, every one of these is put online for you to see.”
“This (donations) is open and transparent. Do we need ethics reform? Yes, we do. But this (ballot initiative) was put together by some well-meaning people that didn’t get all the input they needed. This is all open now for you to see. We need ethics reform, but do we need this?” Rice said.
The answer to that, of course, is yes.
There are some Republicans who are supportive of this, but they are by and large yesterdays Republicans-the Rockefeller family, Hammerschmidt, & Keet. Doyle Webb tried to jump on the me too bandwagon with this, but his party wouldn’t follow. Now, as prominent Democrats-Beebe, Halter, McDaniel, and a host of candidates for the state house and senate-jump in on this, the likes of Darr, Burris, and now Rice and a number of other members of the state legislature line up in opposition. The measures to be placed on the ballot-a ban on lobbyist gives, increasing the cooling off period from 1 to 2 years, and banning direct corporate and union contributions-are expected to overwhelmingly pass. I was out canvassing for the measures yesterday and I was surprised at how many people would actually thank me for being out there doing this. If Republicans are lining up to oppose it, they’re stupider than I thought. Yes, there are some Democrats (remember Sue Madison’s idiotic “tuna fish and crackers” comment?) who are dragging their feet. But for our party, they are the outliers.
This is the perfect thing for Democrats to use to punch their way off the ropes, whether Regnat Populus makes it to the ballot or not. The folks pushing it have made it clear that even if we can’t get this on the ballot (and I’m feeling good about those prospects actually) that it will be pushed legislatively. If it fails there, it will be back for another attempt at the ballot box. It’s not going away, but the sooner we get it done the better.
The DPA has a good amount of money in the bank for these elections. This is the perfect issue. They should seize on it, and run ads on tv and radio beating them like a drum for this. It could be the only way keep the State House after all, so we need to do this and do it right. Republicans have made their bed, now it’s up to Democrat to make sure that the people no about it so they can put them to bed.