Gov. Mike Huckabee's attack yesterday on Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson didn't impress the Tulsa World, which today commented in an editorial headlined, "We don't (heart shape) Huckabee."
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, visiting Tulsa on Wednesday, took a few potshots at Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's anti-pollution lawsuit against poultry producers.
Edmondson's federal court suit alleges that chicken litter from commercial farms, applied to fields as fertilizer, is a major source of pollution of the Illinois River in Oklahoma. Most of the firms targeted are headquartered in Arkansas or Missouri.
Huckabee said the lawsuit is politically motivated and that singling out the poultry industry is unfair and "offensive." He said a scenic rivers phosphorus standard set by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and approved by the EPA is unattainable, which suggests that his state won't try to attain it.
Huckabee's comments blasting Edmondson were predictable and understandable. After all, the Arkansas Republican was in Oklahoma to campaign for Republican candidates in the Nov. 7 election and Edmondson is a Democrat.
But Huckabee couldn't resist sticking his foot in his mouth.
He threatened that if Oklahoma persisted in the lawsuit, Arkansas might dam up the Illinois before it crosses the border. "You won't have any dirty water, but you won't have any water," he said, apparently admitting that the water flowing out of Arkansas is indeed dirty.
"We'll just divert it. We can live with it. Can Oklahoma live without any of it?"
First of all, does Huckabee not realize that damming the river would cut off water to Oklahoma only until the reservoir behind the dam filled up? Does the Keystone Dam cut off the flow of the Arkansas River into Arkansas?
Second, Huckabee's threat might actually be good for Oklahoma. A dam on the Illinois might trap a lot of the Arkansas chicken poop that flows into Oklahoma.
Third, why is a guy who hopes to run for president making such intemperate and parochial statements?
Huckabee's line of baloney might sell in his home state, but it's difficult to imagine that it helps the Oklahoma candidates for whom he is stumping. Most Oklahomans, after all, like the idea of clear, clean water in their state.