Tuesday, June 01, 2010

EDITORIAL >>Robbie Wills insults voters

The disappointment of the week is state Rep. Robbie Wills of Conway, who sent out a mass flyer across central Arkansas attacking his opponent in the Second District congressional race, state Sen. Joyce Elliott, as an ineffective extremist.

Our impression of Speaker Wills was a progressive lawmaker who was energetic and honorable. He had promised that he would not run a negative campaign against his opponents. He finished a distant second to Elliott in the first primary, which apparently accounts for the game change.

The flyer says Elliott is an extremist who does not support “Arkansas values.” It says she wants to stop hunting, opposes the Second Amendment right to own a gun, wants to outlaw school prayer and favors underage girls having abortions without informing their parents. It said she was one of the most ineffective members of the General Assembly.

A distressed Elliott put out a detailed response yesterday, listing all the pro-hunting bills she had voted for, her 86 percent voting record for the Arkansas Rifle and Pistol Association, the long list of bills that she sponsored and passed in the 2009 legislative session alone, and a detailed discussion of the abortion and school-religion bills that seemed to be the foundation of Wills’ attack. There was only the faintest glimmer of truth in the charges. In her eight years, she has insisted that the health of the mother be a factor in the government’s stance on abortions.

Wills’ flyer is what Elliott — and Wills — should expect in the fall when she or he faces Tim Griffin, who was a cog in the political dirty-tricks operation of the Republican Party and White House before the Bush Justice Department tried to sneak him into the nonpartisan U. S. attorney’s office. We didn’t expect it of Robbie Wills, but we should not be surprised that political desperation knows no limits.