Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The World Turned Upside Down in Brummett vs. Murphy


What crazy times we live in. Liberal columnist John Brummett just penned a column pounding on long-time Republican contributor Madison Murphy. Murphy Oil is a billion dollar company. You may remember them from the Murphy Promise program, where every graduate of the El Dorado school system is given a full ride to college.

You may be saying "Mark, what's unusual about Brummett using his column to attack people who support Republicans? Its what he DOES!" True enough, but in this case Brummett is calling Murphy out for not being conservative enough. The issue is the number of state owned vehicles in the highway department. It turns out virtually every employee has one. Governor Beebe has asked for a review to make sure this level of spending is justified. Murphy, who was appointed to the highway commission by Gov. Huckabee and is now the chairman, told the Governor that they need them all.

In a personal note on this story, in another lifetime I knew Madison Murphy. We all change. I was young and too full of myself. Murphy was so libertarian that he once told me that he believed almost all roads should be privately owned. Like I said, we all change.

Actually, recalling Chairman Murphy's former views on highways points to a common tactic of big-government politicians of all stripes (of which Mike Huckabee is one). Take someone who may be opposed to a given program and put them in charge of it. Do it under the guise of you wanting them to "clean it up." Once its THEIR program, they decide it is not so bad anymore- and become ardent supporters of its expansion. Former education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote on this phenomenon back in the Reagan administration.

While there is lot's more I could say, and have said, about the way the Highway Commission does business, I have a day job to get to. I know much of the brouhaha is Brummett backing Gov. Beebe against an independent highway commission which dares to be independent, but I am still amazed at this little part of the world turned upside down.

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