Here’s an idea: Less Dick Armey. 

The sexist, homophobic shill for the tobacco industry was in town today to rally the dead-enders to try to create a rump minority large enough to kill a health program that could bring $200 million in aid and comfort to Arkansans with a tax on a product that creates a devastating health burden.

A news release of Armey’s remarks on the jump, canned for the dead-enders’ caucus, gives you the flavor. His rally drew a sparse crowd and plenty of protesters.

Meanwhile, religiowingnut Debbie Pelley is mobilizing her Arkansas troops to bombard potential Republican quislings with e-mail. She seems to think these Republicans are candidates to vote with Beebe — Rick Green (he’s a co-sponsor), Roy Ragland, Robert Dale, Tim Summers, Les Carnine,Jon Woods, Mary Lou Slinkard and Duncan Baird. (Baird and Woods have been quoted in various settings as saying they wouldn’t vote for the tax.)

If Pelley’s right, Rockefeller Republican Awards (remember WR, a truly courageous and principled Republican?) are in order for all of them. Still not ready to roll out a Ray Smith for any of them just yet.

As all expected, Armey refused a challenge to debate Surgeon General Joe Thompson on the merits of the tax and health plan. “Silly gimmick,” he said at his news conference, flanked by the Armey Youth of the Ark. legislature.

PPS: Amusing item on The Arkansas Project about the appearance of former Huckabee aide Jason Brady, now working as a pro-tax lobbyist, waving a sign at Dick Armey.

PPPS: The tobacco tax coalition responds to Armey’s sideshow here. And Speaker Robbie Wills is blogging like crazy. He says Big Tobacco thinks voters are stupid.