AR-Land Comm: Thurston Proving Little In Tilt Against Bryant

27 Jul

We’ve noted here several times in recent weeks that the state’s GOP seems to completely lack any intellectual leadership within its ranks.  Likewise, we’ve opined that Arkansas Republicans are woefully bad at disseminating any substantive policy proposals, and they continually fail (or refuse) to offer any general reasons to vote for them other than their “conservative credentials” (which, oddly, tend to include ideas that have no bearing on the particular job role they’re trying to fill).

Well, expect us to continue this trend until we’re given a reason otherwise. In fact, since we’ve called out many of the worst offenders already, expect us to conduct follow-ups to see if the message is getting across: you must offer actual ideas and proposals on how you would run the office to be considered a serious candidate.

Today, we give you a repeat offender: AR-Land Comm candidate John Thurston, challenger to this year’s political sensation of sorts, the young, ideas-driven, and primary-battle-tested L.J. Bryant. Thurston is currently staff member at the Agape Baptist Church in WLR, which is certainly an honest enough gig, but that is hardly the kind of job one holds for over a decade before suddenly concluding that he is the person best suited to run a state office and be in charge of handling large streams of tax revenue.

Nevertheless, even though he may be lacking in some experience, we are fully aware that political outsiders can sometimes bring a fresh perspective to an office and shake things up a little. No doubt Thurston is out there on the trail giving voters reasons to vote for him and getting this message heard by thousands more in this state through traditional media outlet interviews and by promoting his campaign through today’s political ground zero, the campaign’s official website. You’d think that, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

Forget for a moment just how aesthetically unpleasant that header is. That’s not important. It’s about the ideas, remember. So let’s see where I can find out a little bit about this guy’s background and what he’s out there promoting.

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  • “Core Values” for someone wanting to be the person in charge overseeing disposition of delinquent tax property:

    If you remember, Matt did a post on this part of the website several weeks ago, and Thurston has made no changes to the Power Point list of “Nothing To Do With This Job.” Even for a generic “talking-point Republican” this is extremely generic and irrelevant.

    Oh, well. No doubt Thurston’s blog holds the key to what I’m looking for as Joe McInterestedvoter. I’ll just copy and paste some of the text below for our readers.

    First Post!
    04/10/2010 10 Comment(s)
    Hello Everyone! Welcome to my Blog! I appreciate everyone’s support as I’m launching out into the deep and running for Arkansas’ Commissioner of State Lands. Thanks for stopping by my website! John Thurston.

    Wait, you mean that’s it?!? You face nothing in the terms of a primary election and have had over three months to add something anything — to your website, yet you have done nothing at all?  How can that be?  Why have a website at all?  It’s hard for me to believe that your job is so pressing you couldn’t type something up yourself, assuming you lack volunteers to do it on your behalf.

    How about social media? Anything there? Hey, a Facebook page. What do you say there?

    Hello everyone, I’m new to all this facebook stuff. Most of you won’t believe what I’m up to now. I’m running for State Land Commissioner. What the heck is that about? I’m looking forward to a good race, and God’s will be done.

    You do realize you’re running for state office and not the 11th grade class treasurer, right? Nothing substantive here, either — not even any links — but at least you admit you’re a social networking novice from the onset.

    Ok, Mr. Thurston, I’m frustrated. You’re sure not making it easy to define your campaign, other than “lacking substance or any real depths of knowledge or even curiousity about the position you tend to fill.” I did manage to hear a short portion of your interview on the Dave Elswick radio show recently — it must’ve been the “tired talking points” portion, where Dave chats with some low-level, uninformed Republican — so I know you’re out there.

    Surely I can find a decent quote to leave our readers with. Ah ha! Finally, an answer to what qualifies you for office from the Times Record Online:

    “I’m an Arkansas citizen,” the 37-year-old said. “Do I need to be a Realtor? Do I need to be a lawyer? Do I need to be a tax collector? Or do I need to be a professional politician? To be honest, I am none of those. I am a U.S. born Arkansas citizen. I know right from wrong and I know how to walk in the highest level of integrity.”

    Ok, maybe “qualifies you” was taken a bit too literally. I hadn’t really considered your citizenship, to be honest. Then again, I’m a Kool-Aid drinkin’ Obama voter, so what do I know? I am pleased to know that you know how to walk, however.

    Thurston goes on:

    “This office is an oversight position,” he said. “There are buyers guides, rules, regulations and laws governing the sales of tax delinquent lands. All these things are already in place in this office. Probably the majority of you people are competent to run that office.”

    So, in just two statements within  a larger story on the race, you say that a complete lack of experience in areas related to this job is of no consequence and that the position pretty much runs itself and that anybody could do it.

    In other news, Monty Davenport just called and said that’s a really absurd and reckless statement, John.


    6 Responses to “AR-Land Comm: Thurston Proving Little In Tilt Against Bryant”

    1. Skywalker July 27, 2010 at 10:16 am #

      I’m not one for dropping labels on people, but this guy appears to be a complete loser. I’m a conservative who supported Bryant in the primary (my wife voted for him, though I voted GOP), and I will definitely vote for him in the fall.


    2. Matt July 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

      @Skywalker: I am consistently impressed by your willingness to put reality/thought/personal ideology ahead of party affiliation. Jeff and I endeavor to do the same, which has actually drawn criticism from people who think we should fall in line behind Ross/Lincoln, so it’s refreshing to see it from the other side of the political aisle as well.


    3. Blake July 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

      Hilarious again.

      I’m comparing your response to @Skywalker with your post below wringing hands over Beebe’s status vs. Keet with Lendall in the mix. Kind of sounds like you are “falling in line” behind Beebe. Maybe I should dare you to put your analytical skills into drawing major distinctions between Beebe and Keet (or a generic Mid-America conservative). Start with how they would have voted on health care and move into the Governor’s disinterest in putting a fair tax on shale gas production or addressing the related environmental disaster. The Beeb is no D.C. Morrison, but his credentials place him much farther right than I want to vote.


    4. Matt July 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

      @Blake: My concern over Lendall in the race is not because I am “falling in line” behind Beebe; it’s because, if the race is as close as recent polls show, Lendall could theoretically swing the race into Keet’s favor. Do I wish Beebe were more liberal/progressive? Of course. But just because he isn’t my ideal governor doesn’t mean that I want him to lose to Jim Keet.

      I don’t even disagree that Beebe and Keet are similar on a number of issues. (That goes back to “do I wish he were more liberal/progressive.”) Blanche Lincoln shit on the liberal half of her party during the primary and has made no real effort to win us back. Mike Ross has gone out of his way to oppose Obama after years of embracing Bush’s policies. Beebe, however, while not liberal, has done his job fairly well, even in this liberal’s view (his statements about healthcare notwithstanding), and he is some % less conservative than his opponent. Throw in Keet’s tenuous grasp of economics (see, e.g., his statement about leasing a plane) and the fact that I don’t think Lendall has a shot in hell, and I’m voting for Beebe not because I am falling in line with the party but because I think he’s the better of the two viable choices and he hasn’t given me a huge reason (a la Blanche or Ross) not to vote for him.


    5. Blake July 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

      By your reasoning, you should not have voted for Obama, because he didn’t have a chance in hell to win in Arkansas. Not a viable choice. Lost by 200,000+ votes. I’ll assume you voted that way because you liked his candidacy and wanted his percentage to be as high as possible in his losing effort.

      You are aware that Beebe has yet to throw more than a rhetorical bone to the left, while serving the far right quite nicely. You also know that in the state House, Lendall took a swipe at making some sensible liberal legislation happen, like encouraging bike helmets for kids, medical marijuana, etc., and the Democrats in his own caucus shut him down.

      When we all vote for Beebe out of fear that a center-right Republican might win we are endorsing a center-right candidate. This signals the Democratic Party of Arkansas to be more conservative in policymaking and governance, which is disastrous (see the last 10 years in America).

      Down the pipe you have Shane Broadway and Dustin McDaniel taking cues, looking at what it takes to get elected Gov. here. Look at Broadway’s conservative voting record recently. He was all a-twitter about the Rogers Chamber of Commerce the other day.

      McDaniel? One small twist of fate from answering phones in a conservative think-tank somewhere. Rebekah Kennedy is the better choice.. See the 2006 debate where she screwed McDaniel into the ground with actual liberal arguments while he made sure to mention the “business interests” in every circular non-answer. Sorry but the Dems lost me a while back. I think “conservatives” are dangerously out of touch with reality I don’t vote for them in public office.

      Well at least there’s Joyce Elliott.
      Cheers, nice blog.


    6. Blake July 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

      I maybe put words in your mouth on Beebe’s governance. I personally can’t point to anything that distinguishes him from a Republican. He manipulates the legislature in the interests of Oil and Gas industry allies, won’t outright support gay adoption, jealously attempts to sabotage Halter on the lottery, I just can’t point to any legitimate “good job” statistics for the guy. He does have an amazing control of the legislature, but to what end?


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