Arkansas Legislature

Everyone to Wills: Stop Whining! (Updated!)

Robert "Robbie" Wills
Robert "Robbie" Wills

The reviews are in, and Arkansas House Speaker Robert “Robbie” Wills recent complaining about a “lack of decorum” from Arkansas House Republicans is a flop!

To summarize, during last week’s debate over the tobacco tax hike in the House, some Republicans got a little rowdy during a speech by a Democratic member, laughing and hooting and even heckling a bit. (Rep. Mark Martin apologized for having done so.) Wills won the vote, and then, the very picture of magnanimity in victory, took to his blog where he whined and complained about how the Republicans behaved. Boo, Republicans!

But the consensus is that Wills should just take his victory gracefully and stow the complaints. A review of the landscape:

John Brummett:

Republicans are long-suffering and hapless in Arkansas, unable to latch on to the prevailing conservatism to make significant inroads. We remain largely a one-party and nominally Democratic culture, which causes our political process to resemble a street party that everyone gets invited to except three or four of those “odd” families. To then rebuke the uninvited odd for staring out their windows longingly seems quite nearly cruel.

Zack Stovall (new guy on scene at Arkansas News Bureau):

For someone who holds the House of Representatives to such a high standard, and is the head of that very House, he certainly has not walked the walk. (features response from Wills in comments section)

Max Brantley:

His remonstrance about decorum added an unflattering note of pettiness to what was an enormous victory.

And the Arkansas Project’s own resident blogging legislator Dan Greenberg weighed in here with a spirited defense of the GOP’s response, dubbing Wills a “sore winner.”

I tell ya, this guy, Wills, he’s a real piece of work. I mean, you never would have seen Benny Petrus acting like this. Now Petrus, THERE was a Speaker of the House.

Update: A decorous Wills offers a mea culpa: “rehashing the episode on this website in the manner I did was not helpful, and it won’t happen again.”

Update to the Update: Yes, I’m aware that for some reason the link to Wills’ original blog post that started all this fooferaw is no long working, for whatever reason. Fear not! I’ve salvaged it here!

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The Arkansas Project