Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Halter Makes Smooth Move

Lt. Governor elect Bill Halter has chosen former state Democratic State Party Chairman Ron "The Rotwieler" Oliver to be his Chief of Staff. Oliver was known for his savage verbal attacks on Republicans during his tenure as Chairman.

It looks from here like Halter has made a smooth move. There was a lot of tension between Oliver and the current Democratic Chairman Jason Willett. Until the recent election, many Democrats were having second thoughts about their decision to oust Oliver in favor of Willett. Their unease was heightened by Willett's aggressive spending and expansion into NWA. But Willet's big gamble worked. It turned out to be the perfect election cycle to aggressively move into the GOP backyard. Thanks in part to Willett, there is now a lot more patronage for Democrats to pass around, and even Oliver benefits.

Halter actually owes Willett. Willett helped push Halter over the top in what was a close race until the Democratic Party of Arkansas jumped in with both feet with $250,000 worth of pro-Halter, anti-Holt ads. The logical assumption is that Halter is not doing this to betray Willett, but rather to bring both sides of the Democratic party together. Very shrewd if true. In Oliver, he gets a man that has grassroots Democratic connections all over the state. That is something that Halter currently lacks, but needs in a hurry if the rumours are true about a primary challenge to "bluedog" Democrat Mark Pryor in 06.

(continued- click "Wednesday" below and scroll down for rest of story)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Beebe's team is heavy on big business, lobbyists, and legislative operators. This is the kind of team someone would put together who is trying to run the state (albeit with certain interests afforded more than their place at the table.)

Compare that to Halter's hire. Halter is going straight for Democratic Party connections. He is not positioning to "reach out to the center" or govern the state. He is positioning to win a Democratic primary.

7:55 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're so clueless it's shocking.

The Democrats spent money on tv for Bill Halter because Bill Halter raised the money from his cronies in California to pay for said tv ads. Jason Willett couldn't raise enough money on his own to pay his bar tab at Hooters. Go look at the party's reports in a couple of weeks and you'll probably find the truth there.

It's shocking how naive the owners of this blog can be.

9:18 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're an f-ing idiot. anybody who reads this site and excepts the statement made herein to be factually correct are just as dumb as the guy (Moore) who writes this fictitious rubbish.

10:09 PM, November 15, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I see the left-leaning readers of this blog have some rather strong opinions on this issue. Perhaps I have hit a raw nerve or two.

As for 9:18 comments go, you may have a point, but wouldn't there be a legal issue if people from CA who had already maxed out for Halter gave money to the DPA knowing it would be used to benefit Halter? If so, isn't your statement implying that the next report will have evidence that the DPA , Halter, and those donors are guilty of a crime?

Also, you imply that Willett would not have helped Halter on his own, just because it was the only state-wide race he was in danger of losing. That idea, combined with Halter hiring Oliver as his 1st round draft pick has other implications- like a continued rift in the DPA. Do you claim to be a Democratic insider who has knowledge of this, or is this just your best guess ?(either is OK, but if you know some truth on these issues that I and we don't, you could share them with us. That is what the blog is for.)

4:51 AM, November 16, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...


So which of the statements or claims in the article is not "factually correct"?

1. Bill Halter is the Lt. Governor Elect

2. Bill Halter picked Ron Oliver as CoS

3. Ron Oliver is known for savage verbal attacks on Republicans.

4. There was a lot of tension between Oliver and Willett

5. Until recently, many Democrats were having second thoughts about their decision to go with Willett over Oliver as DPA Chairman.

6. Willett spent a lot of money, in part to expand the DPA's reach in NWA

7. Through luck or genius, it turned out to be the perfect election cycle for such a move

8. There is a lot more patronage for Democrats to pass around now.

9. Halter owes Willett because Willett ran the DPA, which ran ads favoring Halter. (Some claim has been made that Halter (perhaps illegally) got him that money from his big donors, even so, Willett had to cooperate in that criminal scenario. That's a favor.)

10. The DPA ran about $250,000 worth of ads that painted Halter in a positive light and his opponent in a negative light.

10. The fact that Oliver has a plum job now would make Oliver more at peace about Willett being DPA chair COMPARED TO A SCENARIO where Oliver had been "frozen out" of the patronage.

11. Oliver has grassroots Democratic connections all over the state.

12. Halter lacks the grassroots connections relative to Oliver.

13. There have been rumors that Halter is considering a primary challenge to Democratic Senator Mark Pryor in 08.

14. Beebe's picks have a focus on policy, big business interests, and legislation.

15. Halter's pick has a background of politcal campaigning.


If you are used to posting on the Arkansas Times you might need to know that we do things a little differently around here. Here, instead of vitriol and emotional outbursts, we use logic and reason to reinforce our points.

For example, when you make the assertion that the statements in my article are "not factually correct", we expect you to take two or three examples of statements and then provide evidence that they are not correct. Since you seem to be a beginner here, I have layed out the claims of the article so that you can decide which ones to make the case against.

I look forward to your reasoned response.


5:10 AM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're wrong in the following respects: Oliver's "grassroots" connections aren't all that great around Arkansas; Willett and Oliver are not "at peace" with each other; and Halter will not run against Pryor. Oliver has always been seen by Arkansas Dems as a LR creature -- his background is pure Pulaski County. Willett and Oliver detest each other and that won't change. Halter won't run against Pryor for the same reason he didn't run against Mike Beebe. Halter may be arrogant, but he's not stupid -- no one in this state, Republican or Democrat, can beat Mark Pryor.

Your larger point -- maybe your larger theme, I should say -- is correct. The Arkansas Democrat party is a big tent with multiple factions. You have your Willette - Berry - McDaniel faction, centered in northeast Arkansas. You have your Halter - Oliver - Suskie faction, centered in Little Rock. You have factions in the Senate, factions in the House. These factions tend to center on personalities. For years in the 1970s and 1980s you have your Bumpers men, your Clinton men, and your Pryor men. Now you have your Beebe men and your Halter men, your Mike Ross men, even your McDaniel men.

These sorts of factions in big-tent parties are inevitable, even healthy, as long as the overall loyalty to party isn't drowned out by the factionalism. It certainly wasn't this past election, though in certain circles it came close with regard to Halter, who is still resented by many in the Democratic Party.

Parties like the Arkansas GOP, who have been pounded the last two election cycles, cannot afford factionalism. They need to stay together and unified. That's why it wasn't good when you had the incumbent governor Huckabee barely tolerating Holt and not even mentioning DeLay. When all a party has are a few extreme grassroots true believers, and a bunch of in-fighting, the party-goers do stupid stuff, like pin their election-year hopes on an expected revulsion and fear of photos of two men kissing each other.

6:31 AM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Mark M said...

OK, that was a good answer. I admit my knowledge of the Dem. side of things is limited. Here now is my reasoned response to your reasons which were...

"Oliver's "grassroots" connections aren't all that great around Arkansas; Willett and Oliver are not "at peace" with each other; and Halter will not run against Pryor. "

1) You may or not be right about Oliver's grassroots, but they were good enough to make chairman, and Halter has been gone for 27 years.

2) I am not disputing your claim that Willett and Oliver hate each other. It is just that the patronage makes via Halter makes the Oliver faction happier than if he had been frozen out. Maybe that is not right, maybe Oliver will still use his position as COS for Halter to get the chair back. I said COMPARED TO a scenario where Oliver is frozen out of the patronage.

Now the possiblity, or even probablilty, that you are right opens up other interesting possiblities! Why would Halter hire a guy that would hack off the DPA Chairman who had just helped him?

3) As for the Pryor rumours- it is true that there are rumours. Pryor is too centrist for many in the DPA, you can read it on Arktimes almost any week. It was rumored that Halter has already sent a staffer to go through Pryor's record. The rumour was he was shopping it, and I was not the one who started it.

I am still mulling over the other main (and new) point in your post. Not that my interest is defending the GOP.

11:07 AM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moore: again you demonstrate you are an idiot. there is no longer a rift between willett and oliver. they have moved beyond that. and the same goes for any rift between halter and berry. that's what happens in a primary. they are all on board together now which is partly the reason why they Democrats all won.

there are no rumors (except the one you're trying to put out) that halter is considering a run against pryor. and your assertions that anything illegal or improper happened are incorrect.

if you want some truth: you are a hack with no talent and obviously lacking judgement and inside knowledge.

you desperately try to be relevant by running this shabby website that i enjoy reading for the shear joy of pointing out how ridiculous the statements you make on here are.

keep on blogging people. there are a few people who read this - not that it'll make any difference for you.

12:34 PM, November 16, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I don't know which anonoymous poster to believe, if any, 6:31 claims the opposite of what you claim about Oliver and Willett, if you are not the same bipolar individual.

I read with my own eyes the rumours about Halter op-researching Pryor, so I know you are wrong on that one too.

As for the "assertions" that Democrats are doing something illegal or improper, anonymous 9:18 was the one who initially suggested that individuals loyal to Halter donated to the DPA with the knowledge that the money would be spent by the party to help Halter. That is indeed illegal, if the combined totals for any of those donors exceeded the $2,000 limit.

As for evaluations of me and my writing abilities, you have every right to your opinion. I choose not to comment on my own abilities. I will leave that to others.

3:40 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so let me comment. you are a delusional ego-driven know-nothing.

7:27 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, what happened to all that liberal compassion and tolerance?

4:27 AM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

I am afraid the introduction of a couple of DPA types on this blog has not exactly elevated the debate. I think we got spoiled a bit by our in-house liberal Rob Starr. He can at least string a chain of facts together into a logical argument, and usually remained fairly civil. Unfortunately those don't seem to be traits that many of his leftist cohorts share.

Their approach to debate seems to be to make a series of unsupported one sentence assertions and then add a heavy dose of ugly personal attack to anyone who questions their version of reality.

6:50 AM, November 17, 2006  
Blogger Mr. Toast said...

Compassion and tolerance are reserved for those who remain preoccupied with sports, entertainment, and/or immoral lifestyles: the enabler class. Those who awake from their pleasure-induced hypnosis and begin directing their attention and criticisms toward the socialist State are afforded no such luxuries.

7:28 AM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

liberal compassion? when responding to this website which promotes hatred and rumors?

that's laughable.

this site deserves all the negative feedback it gets because it slanders anybody or anybody elses lifestle that is different from theirs.

10:17 AM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you make Toast's point. "Tolerance" and "Compassion" are reserved for those who kow-tow to your party line. Anyone with different viewpoints is savaged mercilessly. It is OK it hate them, because they are "haters"! Irrational!

And the "rumours" were from posts on the Arktimes website. So why don't you go attack them? Hypocrite!

10:51 AM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from Brummett's column today- "After he'd expressed his discontent with me, he went into a brief rant about U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's performance.

He said Pryor better be careful, acting the way he was acting in the Senate. The man claimed that the junior senator might find himself facing a Democratic primary in 2008. He wasn't particularly happy with Pryor's voting record or his endorsement of Sen. Joe Lieberman's independent candidacy for the Connecticut U.S. Senate seat. "

I guess these guys are gonna go bad mouth Brummett now for name-calling, right?

5:48 AM, November 19, 2006  

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