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Steve Brawner


One State’s creative, chaotic conservatism

If I were to tell you that a state legislature this year passed a six-cent gas tax increase. abolished the death penalty, and voted to let young illegal immigrants brought by their parents to America obtain a driver’s license, what state would you guess that would be? California? Massachusetts? Maybe Colorado?

Huckabee’s debt approach not serious enough

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee made some headlines this past week when it came to light that he had made a joke about transgender people during a February speech. He said that, given the chance in high school, he “would have found my feminine side” so he could take showers with the girls in P.E. This was newsworthy, apparently, because of the attention surrounding Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner.

To keep the republic, leadership needed

As Benjamin Franklin was leaving Independence Hall at the end of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him if the delegates had created a republic or a monarchy. According to notes written by Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Arkansas seeks place in nonstop campaign

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that legislators will be returning to Little Rock for a special session May 26. The main reason will be to pass a bond issue to help Lockheed Martin compete for a contract to produce the military’s new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the replacement for the Humvee, in Camden.

Huckabee the Anti-Romney

I didn’t think that former Gov. Mike Huckabee was in the first tier of presidential hopefuls when he started talking about running. I probably had him at the bottom of the middle tier – somewhere around former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Can one person make a difference?

Political professionals are often cynical people, so it was surprising to hear lobbyist and Republican consultant Bill Vickery make this idealistic statement during a recent banquet speech: “There has also never been a time in American politics where one individual can have more of an impact than right at this very moment.”

Common Core test survives battle

The latest battle over the Common Core was fought Wednesday in the Senate Education Committee, where Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, presented a bill that would remove Arkansas not from the Common Core, but from the new PARCC assessment that students take as part of the Common Core. The result is that Arkansas is still part of PARCC.

Tough task for health care task force

Sixteen legislators will spend the next 22 months trying to figure out how to do what no one has been able to figure out so far – cost-effectively provide health care to lower-income people without growing government and making more people dependent upon it.

Captain Legislature’s unneeded rescue

Arkansas is now a Republican state, and there is a strain in Republicanism (and in the Democratic Party, and in human nature in general) that seeks to assert power. It has already happened once in a big way this legislative session. Legislators should resist the temptation to do it again.

Whether terrorists should rot?

“In my opinion the only problem with Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now. We should be sending more terrorists there for further interrogation to keep this country safe. As far as I’m concerned every last one of them can rot in hell, but as long as they don’t do that then they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.”