Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bebee Talks to Farm Bureau

AG Mike Bebee addressed a meeting of the Farm Bureau in Fayetteville yesterday in a move that has strategic consequences in the Governors race....

Click time below for article...

6 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Perhaps Mike Bebee's insertion into the Illinois Water dispute with Oklahoma is pure political theater. Or perhaps he is driven strictly by a desire to help Arkansas poultry farmers. Most likely, he is acting from mixed motives, like the rest of us.

Regardless of motives, it appears so far to be a shrewd move, perhaps the first smart major move in a campaign heretofore plauged with missteps.

Bebee was playing to his strength at the meeting. He was comfortable with the crowd and comfortable with the law. His demeanor was a cross between old actor Robert Mitchum and "The Fonz". He came off as someone who was the "cool guy" in high school.

Overall, I would say that he connected with the crowd. For once his office put him in a position of advocacy for a key group against people outside the state. Prior to that, insightful Republicans legislators had put him in the uncomfortable position of obligating him to issue opinions on subjects that were sure to make at least one group of Arkansans mad at him.

In this case the group he is advocating for, the NWA heavy poultry industry, is normally a Republican leaning group. If he can swing a good portion of them over then he will "turn the flank" of Asa's line. Add that to Bebee's ties to nominally Republican White county, and you have two groups of swing voters that could make the difference in November.

Asa needs to counter with something of his own on this issue in a bid to hold onto the poultry farmers. In addition, he needs to identify potential swing groups on the other side and appeal to them. Property rights has some potential here. Are there any pro-life democratic-leaning voters left?

All of this is contingent on Bebee holding onto all of his Democratic base. Part of that base is composed of people whose top state issue is the environment. AG Bebee was careful to note that he is not for pollution, and that he favors responsible manure management programs.

It will be enough to satisfy most environmentally conscious voters, but that is not the group Bebee needs to hold onto. They are likely to see Bebee's moves as a real turn-off, even as a sell-out to big business. What will they do about it? They may hold their nose and vote for him if there is nowhere else to go.

But there may be another place to go. Rumor has it that former state representative Jim Lendall wants to run on the Green Party ticket. It is unlikely that the Green party could wade through Arkansas' notorious "new party" ballot access laws that federal judges have been declaring unconstitutional for a decade now. If he does though, or more likely if he goes to court and gets the laws thrown out, environmentalists WILL have somewhere else to go. In that case the harder Bebee pushes on the poultry farmer door to get in, the more environmental votes leave out the back through the Green Party door.

10:31 AM, January 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Green Party getting on the ballot is a key for Asa, then did Sen. Gilbert Baker make a mistake when he opposed/killed Holt's bill to make it realistically possible for new parties to get on the ballot?

9:20 PM, January 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gilbert Baker was wrong, not just because it might wind up hurting Asa, but because current ballot access law is unconstitutional and Baker helped squelch an attempt to fix it. That is what is wrong.

It is bigger than whether it helps or hurts one man, it is about the right of people to have equal access to the ballot regardless of who they choose to assocaite with.

Even if this backfires as a political move, Baker is still going to be a whole heap better than the competion, as long as that competition is Jason Willett.

6:24 AM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger terrymcdermott said...

I dont like none of the major candidates for Governor. Halter and Bebee are too liberal. I dont like Asa because of his ties to Homeland Security and the Bush Administration.

9:31 AM, January 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asa's call for socialist "workforce education" and nanny-state "preschool" is another reason not to like him.

11:59 AM, January 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*sigh*

This race is most boring. It looks as though Arkansas has four aimless years ahead of it.

12:09 PM, January 20, 2006  

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