John Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yurples unite!
Franks for Lt. Gov.

The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They’re the kind of people who’d stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn’t bother to stop because they’d want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club.                                                                                                                                                 — Dave Barry

Yurples unite! It’s time for Yurple Democrats to announce choices for various political races as candidates’ revelations about themselves allow.

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You remember Yurple Democrats, don’t you? Not true blue. You can also have Yurple Republicans — not right red. Yurple philosophy holds that you can’t trust either party with too much power. That happened to us in national politics in 2000 and put us between Iraq and a hard place.

That’s where state politics is headed also in the November elections with Haley Barbour leading a Mississippi version of the Republican juggernaut that has lost some of its appeal to the rest of the nation’s voters. If sufficient numbers of Mississippi voters wait until after the November 6 General Election to start thinking hard about stuff like whether a “blind trust” can ever really be blind and when is a former tobacco lobbyist really former and would a release of tax returns reveal answers to those questions, we’re going to be locked in with four years of one party in Mississippi having too much power.

Not that the governor is vulnerable, according to all sources except his opponent.

What’s needed to keep the party balance in state politics is election of Democrat Jamie Franks as Lieutenant Governor. With Franks as President of the Senate, Barbour’s power could be better checked. With Barbour’s own man in Senate driver’s seat, watch out.

A reduction of sales tax on groceries may be a good idea. An increase in taxes on cigarettes may be a good idea. A re-evaluation of the state’s entire tax burden may even be a great idea.

But to have these ideas or anything else fairly considered in the state legislature, we cannot give one party too much power. Give them that and they will screw us to the wall!

That’s where Jamie Franks comes in. Mississippi needs Jamie Franks to keep the state legislature in balance and the governor in check.