by Max Brantley
So I'm in San Francisco. On an elevator, alone, riding down to the lobby of the St. Francis Hotel. Car stops at 4. In walks none other than Kenneth Starr.
My nine-month-old iPhone captured the moment. The former Whitewater prosecutor graciously posed, but asked that I let him smooth his hair first.
A friendly chat followed He inquired about the Arkansas Times. Still holding up the left end of the spectrum, I told him. He wondered about how I felt about Mike Huckabee's exit of the presidential race. He remembered, jokingly, how much I seemed to admire the Arkansas governor when he read the Times during his sojourn in Little Rock as Whitewater prosecutor. He expressed sympathy for Huckabee's burden of having helped parole for a man who went on to kill Washington police officers. He said he admired Huckabee's belief in a second chance and the risk that came from granting commutations or clemency. Starr himself has offered pro bono legal assistance to Death Row inmates and he talked at some length about that work and how carefully Abraham Lincoln had considered such requests.
Huckabee, Starr said, seemed like the sort who could disagree without being disagreeable, without the mean edge that some politicians exhibited. He mentioned Sarah Palin, specifically. I said, well, I thought Huckabee was capable of throwing a jab or two.
Starr said he loves being president of Baylor University ("great", he said; Waco, "good") , in the heart of Texas. He grew up in San Antonio and has many relatives in the area.
No, we did not relive old times.