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In over his head

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No job is so small that it's not too big for somebody. Political scientists had thought it virtually impossible for any occupant to embarrass the office of lieutenant governor, the office itself being something of an embarrassment, serving no real purpose. "Like tits on a boar," one scholar has said of it. But Lt. Gov. Mark Darr has shown that even to do nothing is too much to ask of him. "Better to burn out than rust out" translates in Darr's case to "Better destructive than inactive."

After the legislature passed a silly but harmful bill giving special privilege to holders of concealed-weapon permits, Gov. Mike Beebe said he wouldn't sign it — trying to preserve a shred of his own dignity — but wouldn't veto it either. Then he left the state. Technically, a lieutenant governor is allowed to simulate a governor when the real one is out of pocket. Darr's predecessors have recognized that this means having your picture made behind the governor's desk, possibly with a couple of the more attractive pages. Darr, however, on hearing there was an unguarded bill in the governor's office, sneaked in and signed it. With an X, probably. He said it was deserving legislation.

Like the state bird and the state cereal, lieutenant governors are not meant to take an active role in government. And especially not if their name is Mark Darr, best known for rabid partisanship, mismanagement of such public funds as he's had access to, and being a twerp. It's said Darr is planning a run for the U.S. Senate next year. No need to worry. He's already hit his political ceiling, the Peter Principle already done its work.

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