As luck had it, we went to press with the print edition of the Times today before the polls closed. So I wrote a column anticipating the future. Things turned out about as I expected.
More than ever, now, I worry about the burden that faces the coming one-party dominated government of Arkansas, headed by a governor born and bred in the legislative club of seniority, privilege and cosseting of the lobby.
I could hope Gov. Mike Beebe would tighten ethics laws to prohibit lobbyist wining and dining; would improve the FOI law so the governor's office would not operate under a veil of secrecy; would give equal time to the Audubon Society and the Poultry Federation in deliberation on environmental matters. It is too early to say that I will be disappointed. But it is not too early to wonder how things will go. (Surely the rumors are false. Surely old Beebe pal Morril Harriman won't move from the Poultry Federation into a top staff job in the govenror's office, thus eliminating any middlemen in poultry's influence on official policy. Surely this is just a wild Republican charge.)
A few final thought for the evening as the wonderful national election results pour over me from the TV: 1) Asa Hutchinson gave an early and generous concession speech.2) The right-wing a-holes owe the Oakleafs abject apologies. 3) Smart Republicans will tell the religio-fascists that it's time to moderate the party.
And, finally, 4) Tuesday's results are a good thing for Mike Huckabee. The religio-fascists have a comfort level with him. But he has some moderate tendencies and, at least on first impression, strikes moderates of both parties and independents favorably. His type could be the future of a rebuilt party. Tonight's election could be the wind beneath his presidential wings. It makes me sick to say it, but I can do no other.
Good night. Good luck. And thanks to Rahm Emanuel, Howard Dean and many Arkies for a Democratic revival. Happy days are here again. Just don't get greedy, Dems.