Last night in Faulkner County, Deputy Secretary of State Alice Stewart spoke to a local Tea Party group about the just-completed legislative session and about her view of the rise of the Tea Party. The Log Cabin Democrat has the story, and I am sure the entire talk was riveting, what with her references to Mike Huckabee and all, but two specific things jumped out at me while reading the account.
First and foremost was this little nugget (emphasis added):
She spoke mostly about the recently ended legislative session and praised Baker and “the Meeks brothers,” Stephen and David, who were “forces to be reckoned with at the Capitol.”
No, seriously, what the hell is Stewart talking about? How are the Meeks brothers “forces to be reckoned with” when none — as in “NOT A SINGLE ONE” — of the whopping eight total bills on which either of these guys was primary sponsor got passed.
I mean, despite running on how he was going to protect Arkansas from the evils of the federal Affordable Care Act, neither the blatantly unconstitutional HB1053 “Freedom of Choice in Health Care” bill proposed by David, nor his equally asinine HB1983 “HealthCare Freedom of Conscience” bill got anywhere. Likewise, Stephen was such a force of nothing that he couldn’t even get HB1711 “The Arkansas Nighttime Environment Protection Act,” a bill that Democrats should theoretically have embraced, passed.
Oh, let us also not forget that these two “forces” were vocal proponents of the unconstitutional HB1002 “Capital Gains Reduction Act” (failed), of SB113 to prohibit abortion coverage except through a separate policy rider (failed), of SB709 “Healthcare Accountability Act” (failed), and of HB1387 to reduce the income tax rates (failed).
Conversely, they vocally opposed SB359 to maintain certain flouride levels in the public water (passed) and SB892 to strengthen Arkansas’s anti-bullying laws (passed), among many others. In fact, looking through their records for this session, about the only thing of consequence that they co-sponsored that got through were the appropriations bills.
If they are “forces to be reckoned with,” then someone like Rep. John Edwards (D-38, Little Rock), who actually sponsors and co-sponsors bills that become laws, is a one-man juggernaut of law-passing amazingness.
The second pearl of wisdom from Ms. Stewart that caught my eye was:
Reapportionment looms, she said.
“It is critical for the Tea Party to have input in how the (state legislative) lines are drawn so your representative has a chance to be re-elected,” Stewart said.
This is particularly hilarious, in that ironic way that Mark Martin and his staff tend to be, coming on the heels of yesterday’s GOP press release about how “The Board of Apportionment has an opportunity to prove to the people of Arkansas that the redistricting process can be fair,” and “The people of this state deserve Board members willing to reject partisan games and stand up for common sense.”
It’s important to note the disconnect here: the Secretary of State’s office apparently interpreted the GOP statement to mean that Democrats should not be partisan in redistricting, but people who kowtow to the Tea Party should try to make sure that the map protects incumbent Tea Party candidates.
After seeing how anything that wasn’t strongly pro-Republican was labeled “partisan gerrymandering” during the Congressional redistricting, would you really expect someone as partisan as Mark Martin to take any other position?