By Conduit for Action
The political left has a new tactic to sell its agenda in Arkansas. They needed a new tactic because identifying as a Democrat isn’t going to work in most parts of Arkansas.
The left’s new tactic is the creation of an organization with the name “Common Ground.” Common Ground is being sold to you as reaching across both political aisles for solutions. Nice name, but Common Ground is just the left reaching across to others on the left.
To try to get you to think Common Ground embraces conservatives (other than supposed extremists) it features two board members who ran as Republicans and served as leaders in the Arkansas legislature. But who are these two board members and what do they really stand for? Here is who they are:
- Senator Jim Hendren, former President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas Senate, who left the Republican party when he realized no one considered him to be a Republican anymore and Republicans would not support his fantasy of running for Governor on the Republican ticket. Hendren now identifies as an Independent and continues to vote with the Democrats.
- Davy Carter, a banker, and former Speaker of the House who derailed Republican legislators in 2013 and 2014.
It has been several years since Davy Carter’s controversial stint as Speaker of the House. We need to reintroduce him to you.
Davy Carter might be a swell person as a neighbor; we don’t know. But that is not the point. The point is to recall Carter’s actions as a legislator. When you see his actions you will also see Common Ground is just the left embracing the left.
Davy Carter became Speaker of the House despite nearly all Republican members of the Arkansas House of Representatives voting against him.
With the 2012 elections the Republican Party had just become the majority party in the House of Representatives but Republicans only had a one vote majority. Governor Mike Beebe (D) hatched a masterful plan to sabotage the Republican majority and get the legislature to adopt key parts of his Democrat agenda. Beebe picked Davy Carter to be the face of his agenda and got every Democrat in the House of Representatives to vote for Carter to be Speaker. That meant Carter only needed a few Republican votes. Carter only managed to get two other Republicans to vote for him which was enough to give Carter and the Democrats the win in the Speaker race. Carter rewarded the two Republicans with committee chairmanships.
The big payback to Governor Beebe in the 2013 legislative session was passage of a huge growth of state government, Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas. Obamacare Medicaid expansion is controversial because it primarily covers able bodied working age adults who don’t work. Years later several states still refuse to adopt the Obamacare program. Prior to Carter’s election as Speaker, the Obamacare program appeared to have no chance of passing in Arkansas. Carter was only able to deliver less than a third of the Republican votes in the House but that was enough for it to pass when combined with Democrat votes. Many of the Republicans who voted for the program had been appointed by Carter to committee chairmanships or vice chairmanships or appointed to serve on special House committees.
Later during the 2013 session, Carter worked to stop the Republicans who were still working on legislation on social issues. Carter went to three House committees (Judiciary, Public Health, and Revenue & Tax) to implore the committee members to quit working on legislation pertaining to social issues and get working on fiscal issues.[i] Carter’s plea had nothing to do with needing the House of Representatives to focus more on fiscal issues and everything to do with trying to derail social conservatives.
- First, work on social issues in committees in no way interfered with work on the budget. The Joint Budget Committee, which handles the budget bills, meets much earlier in the day and therefore its deliberations were not impacted by other committees.
- Second, the House of Representatives sets aside special times for budget bills to be the priority which means debate on non-budget bills does not interfere with passage of budget bills.
- Third, once a budget bill gets to the floor there is usually little debate and, in fact, many budget bills are grouped together and passed in a bundle with only one vote taken for the entire bundle.
We suspect Governor Beebe was just tired of seeing Republican legislation on social issues like abortion and gun rights and wanted Carter to stop it.
With Carter being the highest-ranking Republican in the legislature in 2013-2014 you might have thought he would have worked to elect more Republicans so the party could expand on the one vote majority. Nope. Carter didn’t even try to posture as a Republican anymore. He made the news by actively supporting some Democrats against Republican challengers.[ii]
Left wing pundits in the media started talking about the possibility of Carter being a candidate for Governor in 2014 but, like Senator Jim Hendren, his stint in leadership would have kept him from having any credibility in a Republican Primary. Running as a Democrat would not have been any better an option for Carter because a Democrat wasn’t going to win.
THE “COMMON GROUND” LEFT
Despite slick marketing, “Common Ground” is just the Democrat left. It will claim it is looking for common ground in recruiting the most big government, woke candidates possible to run in the Republican primary against actual conservatives.
This same kind of effort by the left is underway in other Republican states under other names.
Common Ground’s effort today is no different than when Democrat Governor Beebe picked Davy Carter to sabotage the Republican Party in 2013-2014 and be the face of Beebe’s Democrat agenda.
Please share this with your friends so they will not be fooled by any Common Ground supported candidates and share this with potential Republican candidates so they will not be embarrassed by associating with the Common Ground left.
[i] Talk Business Arkansas’ Top 10 State Legislators, 4/14/013
[ii] Speaker of the House Davy Carter Democrat Rep. James McLean against Linda Collins (R) in a Senate race and supported Rep. Harold Copenhaver against Brandt Smith (R) in a House Race.