Here’s a fine piece of commentary on Republican legislative meanness. Substitute Arkansas for the state in question, Florida, and it sounds awfully similar.

Julie Houserman (with good illustration support from Andy Marlette) writes in Florida Phoenix about the Florida “Mean Gang.” What’s it done?


* Attacked reproductive rights. Besides legislation, the House speaker referred to pregnant women repeatedly as “the host body.”

* Met with rainmakers at a private club. (1836 anyone?)


* Rammed a huge roadbuilding program through that will benefit construction tycoons.

* Prohibited local ordinances on aesthetic issues.


* Made it harder to qualify for medical coverage for poor people.

* Made it harder to qualify for nutrition (“food stamp”) assistance.

* Encouraged guns in classrooms.

* Defended Confederate stuff.


* Resisted expansion of voter rolls.

You’d almost think there was a factory somewhere turning out this stuff. But this one particularly resonated, given the multiple efforts including a proposed constitutional amendment that MUST be defeated, to make it all but impossible for citizes to initiate law and constitutional amendment by petition.

One chief job of the Mean Gang has been to imperiously propose measures that would hobble citizen efforts to put proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot. The target here seems to be several initiatives in the works, including increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, banning assault weapons and expanding Medicaid for low-income people who need health care.

“They say they are protecting the Constitution. No. They’re protecting the status quo,” Rich Templin, legislative and political director of the Florida AFL-CIO, told The Phoenix. “They’re protecting the process that happens inside this geographically, psychologically remote bubble, that most people can’t access, and that is dominated by wealthy, high-paid lobbyists wearing suits and shoes that most people in this state will never be able to afford.”

Deja vu all over again.