Intimidation and enticement: $2 Billion reasons
Guest Article by David Ferguson
I want to thank Conduit for Action for posting my comments. I could not remain silent.
The editors at Arkansas Business put a target on the back of Senator Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers if she does not vote the way they want – for continuation of the big government program Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Arkansas Business noted that Senator Bledsoe’s son, Dr. Greg Bledsoe, is the Arkansas Surgeon General and her husband, Dr. James Bledsoe, came out of retirement to work for the Health Department.
The fine editors at Arkansas Business don’t think qualifications should matter in state employment, instead they propose a crony government where the Governor should threaten the jobs of both doctors if Senator Bledsoe doesn’t vote for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (currently called “Private Option” and proposed to be renamed “Arkansas Works”).
Here is what Arkansas Business had to say:
“As far as we know, the Drs. Bledsoe, James and Greg, are perfectly qualified. But if Sen. Bledsoe votes — in effect — to blow a $100 million hole in the governor’s budget, his administration ought to consider applying the principle of last hired, first fired.”[i]
Arkansas Business wants to incite intimidation and retribution against Senator Bledsoe, but I think Senator Bledsoe should be recognized for being prepared to vote her principles and for her bravery. In publicly saying “No” to continuation of the expanded Obamacare she must have known her decision could be against her family’s interest.
I respect both conservatives and liberals who stand up for what they believe. We need more politicians who are principled (whether conservative or liberal). We already have too many lemmings who automatically fall in line with the big money interests and with whoever is governor, regardless of whether the Governor is Democrat or Republican.
Senator Bledsoe has been through the pressure before, but apparently “Arkansas Works” proponents have no qualms about upping the ante by threatening her family’s livelihood in order to keep Arkansas as an expanded Obamacare state.
I know Senator Bledsoe and her husband to be good and sincere people. Their family is in my prayers.
The rest of the legislators are is in my prayers too, both those “For” and “Against” expanded Obamacare, and, yes, even those weak willed lemmings who are only interested in their own power, prestige, and pocketbooks.
* * * * *
The pressure from big money and big government for Arkansas to adopt and continue expanded Obamacare has been tremendous. Why? Because they want a slice of a $2 billion pie that taxpayers and their children will pay in the form of the federal debt and state funds.
Legislators are always under pressure, but when they start talking about intimidation – the pressure must really be bad. Lets revisit some statements and actions of legislators concerning the passage and funding of expanded Obamacare in 2013 and 2014.
- State Senator Alan Clark was on the Paul Harrell Program and he talked about the intimidation of the past and the likelihood of the same tactics being used during the upcoming Special Session and Fiscal Session. “Pray for us.” Clark said. Senator Clark referred to intimidation, blackmail and bribery in 2013 and 2014 and worried about the freshmen legislators who have never been through this kind of pressure before. Listen to these two clips from the Paul Harrell Show. The full interview may be heard at http://www.paulharrell.com/archive/ 3-21-16 Hr 1.
Senator Alan Clark on the Paul Harrell Program – Audio Clip 1
Senator Alan Clark on the Paul Harrell Program – Audio Clip 2
- State Rep. Nate Bell made the intimidation public during the 2013 Regular Session when he took to the House floor to say legislators had been intimidated and received threats against their families, livelihoods, and reputations if they didn’t support the private option. Bell spoke of legislators being brought to tears because of the threats. Listen to Representative Bell’s statement:
Rep Nate Bell 2013 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly[ii]
- State Rep. Richard Womack talked to the Arkansas Project and had this to say:“A lobbyist asked me if I would consider changing my vote [on the private option] for $20,000-$30,000 in my campaign account, as soon as they could put it in there legally, and two elections unopposed.”[iii]
- State Rep. Bruce Westerman (now a Congressman) gave a speech opposing the private option in which he closed by asking his colleagues who planned to vote for the private option despite it being against their convictions – “Is this vote worth thirty pieces of silver?” Watch the video of his speech which was posted on YouTube by the Arkansas Project:
- State Senator Jane English succumbed to pressure in the 2014 Fiscal Session to become the deciding vote in the Senate to continue expanded Obamacare. She traded her vote for funding for an agency program that she admitted she had not been able to get governors to listen to until her vote was needed. Concerning the program English wanted in return for her vote, Governor Mike Beebe said, “Jane has been trying to do that for a long time. Nobody ever listened to her, she told me. She said the previous governor [Republican Mike Huckabee] didn’t listen to her.”[iv]
Rumors are rampant about other deals being made to try to pass “Arkansas Works” – such as land deals and business deals. Only time will tell whether there is any truth to the rumors.
If the editors of Arkansas Business are any indication, don’t expect expanded Obamacare supporters to play any nicer in 2016. In the words of Senator Alan Clark, “When you talk about $2 billion people get really serious.”
[ii] From House of Representative video library April 16, 2013