Wednesday, March 28, 2012

EDITORIAL >> Democrats incognito

Is the Democratic Party in Arkansas still in business? We seldom hear from party officials, who may be lying low until the November elections, when Republicans threaten to take over the state legislature for the first time in memory.

Oh, sure, we get an occasional e-mail from Will Bond, who is chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party. Sometimes the e-mails are a little obscure, such as this one:

“You may have heard that OFA is hosting an office opening party for their new headquarters in North Little Rock, but in case you missed it, we wanted to get you the details so you can make plans to attend,” Bond wrote on Monday.

We read the e-mail a couple of times, wondering what OFA stood for. We looked at the bottom of the email for an explanation of what OFA might mean. Perhaps a footnote might explain it.

But there was no clarification. We checked with the Democratic Party and also Googled OFA: Obama for America.

So there you have it: The email was an invitation for Tuesday’s opening of President Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters at 201 W. Broadway St. in North Little Rock.

We haven’t had a chance to check it out. We don’t know if there’s a big sign out there to re-elect the president or just the letters OFA. Perhaps the windows are boarded up so as not to attract the curious.

Only four years ago, former Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk Pat O’Brien — he, like Will Bond, grew up in Jacksonville — was an Obama delegate to the Democratic convention and helped open his presidential campaign headquarters in Little Rock. That may have one reason he lost his race for secretary of state two years later.

Democrats are more subdued this year. There’s no chance Obama will do any better here than he did in 2008, when Sen. John McCain easily carried Arkansas.

But important issues remain, especially health-care reform, which the Supreme Court could overturn this summer. The Affordable Care Act can benefit Arkansans — we need all the federal subsidies we can grab — but state Democrats, except for Sen. Mark Pryor and a handful of others, are outright opposed or remain silent on the issue. For the latter, it’s sort of like OFA. You can look it up.