by Max Brantley
Beebe is credited for a steady hand, conservative budgeting and avoidance of social issues, as well as the popularity this has engendered. Also, a news release said:
Under Governor Beebe’s leadership, Arkansas has weathered recent financial storms as few other states have. As the 2011 fiscal year approached, it was one of just four states that didn't face a budget shortfall, and it repeated that fortune this year. As a result, Arkansas has been spared the deep cuts and rounds of layoffs that other states have endured. Followers of Arkansas politics say the state’s stability is largely due to the governor’s steady fiscal hand, which explains why Beebe enjoys such wide bipartisan support and a 67 percent job approval rating.
Comment: I'm grateful that a superior legislative tactician held Arkansas firmly to the political middle during a sea change in Arkansas politics supercharged by animus toward the dark-skinned Muslim from Kenya in the White House.
Still, 20 years from now, what will the political experts say we have to show for the Beebe era besides a lower sales tax on groceries? Protecting the status quo (from, for example, the Republican desire to strangle government services) is not an insignificant feat, now matter how low our status by various indexes. But to think of the efforts, and sometimes even achievements, of some past governors on human rights, progressive taxation and education is to be reminded of the absence of similar big ideas and courage the last five years. Governing sees greatness in passing out corporate welfare to industrial prospects from the governor's quick-close slush fund. I see a universal practice whose benefits in job creation are dramatically overstated. And don't get me started on the workforce agency and its leadership indulged by Beebe for politcal reasons, also mentioned in passing in the article.