by Max Brantley
Stephens Media quotes wacky Jim Holt as saying HE'S mainstream. The votes in the Republican primary prove it, he contends. Pitifully, the vanquished Chuck Banks and Doug Matayo don't argue with Holt about this absurdity.
"When people say (he's extreme), they're actually calling the people of Arkansas extreme, because I hold the same views they do," Holt said Wednesday. "It's an insult to Arkansans, really."
Some simple arithmetic. Holt won the nomination based on votes cast by a whopping 3.6 percent of the state's registered voters. His 55 percent means some 2 percent of the state's registered voters cast ballots for him. And 25 percent of the votes were cast in Benton County, the most extreme of the state's counties in its conservatism. It was THE ONLY COUNTY IN ARKANSAS to support Janet Huckabee in her 2002 race for secretary of state. That's how wacky they are.. What's more, the vote in Benton County was propelled Tuesday by a bunch of hot local races. See our earlier item where property rights nuts captured five races for Quorum Court.
This is mainstream? I don't think so. It is sad that mainstream conservative Republicans like Banks and Matayo don't have the nuts to call a nut a nut. Asa Hutchinson, who has to run with him, has had to say he supports his running mate. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who's differed eloquently and correctly with Holt in the past, has managed to let his silence on Holt speak very loudly so far. But he has a future in politics. The cowards who ditto Holt do not. Again, see this article in the Southern Poverty Law Center's cover story on hate groups to get a feel for what Jim Holt thinks is "mainstream."
Be sure to tune in AETN's "Unconventional Wisdom" with Warwick and David Sanders. Party chairs Gil Baker and Jason Willett take up this topic and Baker defends the indefensible. That's at 6:30 p.m. Friday. We'll remind you tomorrow.