Cloakroom Talk

Endorsing Conner Eldridge for U.S. Senate

Let’s leave the 2016 presidential race a moment. It’ll continue without us. Let’s consider Congress. From an Arkansas view.

Conner Eldridge
Conner Eldridge
Source: Wikipedia

The Republican Party has had majorities in the House and Senate the last two years. The party has worked hard to oppose most of the Democratic president’s agenda for both of his terms. Yet, these bodies for legislation (to pass new laws and fix old ones), have failed to put forward much of their own agenda. What’s the problem? They have over 50 percent representation.

In the nearly eight years of the Obama administration, Congress has overridden a presidential veto once, only weeks ago. Oddly, GOP leaders regret doing so, according to USA Today Sept. 30, “White House: Congress Has ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ after Overriding Obama Veto.

Our federal government runs on checks and balances. The judicial branch needs all nine justices. Every time the Senate advises and consents on a president’s choice, opposition makes its voice heard and sometimes quashes a nominee. Reasonably astute judges always have been approved to fill the Supreme Court bench within few months.

The GOP leadership promises, however, it will continue to blockade even the most respected, middle-of-the-road candidates if a Democratic president nominates them. The Grand Old Party plans similar tactics elsewhere.

Obstruction of the judiciary is irresponsible. Especially if the legislative branch isn’t working on laws itself.

Steve Womack first was elected to represent the Third District (Northwest Arkansas) in 2010. He faces no Democratic opposition, just a Libertarian. Womack likely will keep his House seat, but let’s send him a message, “We are watching you.”

We warn him, not by skipping the marking of this ballot, but voting for the other guy, Steve Isaacson. We must do this even though Isaacson does not care for his party’s Johnson-Weld presidential ticket but supports Donald Trump.

Representative democracy isn’t checkers but more chess.

John Boozman is completing his first six-year term as U.S. senator from Arkansas, following five two-year terms serving our Third District. He has drawn opposition from the state Democratic Party: a confident, young (39) attorney William Conner Eldridge Jr. He was born here in Fayetteville but grew up in east Arkansas. He most recently was U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, earning a reputation as a tough prosecutor.

Eldridge’s positive ads emphasize his good character and imply moderate political stances. His negative marketing vividly show Boozman being more a foot soldier than a leader while enjoying the perks of office and sponsoring essentially no legislation in the Senate.

Details? See their campaign websites:

Let’s return to the chess board. We pawns do have power.

If the Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the presidency next week, a GOP-led House and Senate will not parry legislation back-and-forth till workable compromises are found. The Republican strategy of obstruction will continue, its leaders have announced.

If, however, Democrats won majorities in either house, HRC would not get a free ride. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did not.

While the GOP has managed to present a unified pack (the best thing about Boozman has been his integrity so why is he tacitly endorsing Trump?), Democrats are catty in rivalries and ideologies. See Sanders, Bernie; see emails, campaign; see Rogers, Will: “I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat.”

If Trump wins, the incoming 115th Congress will need energy, new ideas and strength.

Polls and history suggest the incumbent legislator will win. A great turnout for Conner Eldridge — including votes for him by you and me — would give him the victory. Arkansas then will have a fair balance with the other senator, Tom Cotton, a Republican.

A merely good Eldridge tally — thanks to you and me — will give the re-elected optometrist a message, “We are watching you.”

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