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tea-party-and-GOP-establishmentBut the Republican party continues to think so.  Some Republicans would say that Mitch McConnell’s success in “crushing” the tea party in the primaries pretty much guarantees that moderate Republicans will turn the U.S. Senate red, also giving serious coat-tails to Republicans on the ballot in newly red states like Arkansas.

But not so fast.  Since 2010, when Arkansas overturned 138 years of straight Democrat party rule, the private option “experiment” — and now other odd GOP behavior — is turning off more and more of those same voters who put those Republicans into power.

We’ve talked about the problems with the private option before.  But now, past House Speaker Davy Carter (R) just endorsed three Democrats in legislative races against fellow Republicans:

On September 14, Carter tweeted



Also last week, Democrat Harold Copenhaver’s Facebook profile sported this Carter endorsement:


Sure, Carter is term limited and no longer the Speaker.  But you’ll remember the end-run he pulled when he ousted Speaker-Designate Terry Rice (accomplished with what had to be Democrat support in the secret ballot vote).

Then he went on to work to pull in the required (few) Republican votes Democrat Governor Mike Beebe needed to put Arkansas into its private option Obamacare “experiment” — not what conservative voters expected from the first Speaker of a Republican-controlled Arkansas House of Representatives.

It doesn’t help any that our next Republican Speaker of the House, Jeremy Gillam, says

I’m not going to be out campaigning against my colleagues.

We’ve got several open seats and some primaries that are just Republican primaries, so I think there are plenty of things to keep me busy in planning the House and getting ready and moving forward in the next session that I won’t have to be out campaigning against my fellow colleagues.

So we turned Arkansas red after 138 years and now we have GOP “leaders” endorsing Democrats over fellow Republicans!  It’s disappointing at best and leaves the voter base discouraged and confused.

When conservative politicos turned to the Republican Party, RPA Chair Doyle Webb blandly responded that “endorsements really mean nothing; they only have control over us if we allow them to distract us.”  So apparently he does understand this behavior is at least a distraction to the voters.

After 2010 the GOP had a great opportunity to really make a difference in Arkansas politics. Instead many Republicans in Arkansas have alienated the very voters that put them into office.  If the GOP fails to keep its majority in Arkansas this November, the GOP may wish that McConnell’s coat-tails were stronger than those of the private option.

Who will they blame?  Not “the tea party” — we aren’t the problem!