Attorney General Dustin McDaniel showed commendable restraint in suggesting that state Rep. Jon Hubbard is "angry" and "misguided." Hubbard's all of that, and so much more.
McDaniel was responding to insulting e-mails sent by Hubbard after he learned that McDaniel was offering a Spanish-language version of the attorney general's website. Some 200,000 Hispanics live in Arkansas, many of them, as McDaniel noted, paying taxes, serving in the military and otherwise being exemplary Arkansans.
"I cannot see any purpose for your pandering to Hispanics in Arkansas, whether it be to those here legally or illegally, unless you think that by doing so you might increase your chances of possibly winning their future vote," Hubbard wrote, in e-mails that also went to the media and his fellow Republicans in the legislature. He regretted, he said, that McDaniel, a Democrat was "not as passionate about representing the [non-Hispanic] people of Arkansas" as he was about "propping up" the person masquerading as president of the United States. (Hubbard is a Birther, claiming to believe that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen, and therefore ineligible to be president. All the evidence is to the contrary, but Obama is black, of course, and there's some suspicion that Birthers are troubled more by color than birthplace.)
For a public servant to provide service is not pandering. It's the way our government works, or is supposed to. Picking on a minority in order to win the support of bigots is pandering. There was a time when Democratic politicians did more of this, but Republicans are the principal practitioners now. Rep. Donna Hutchinson of Bella Vista asked Secretary of State Mark Martin to stop disseminating public information in Spanish, and Martin, also a Republican, happily agreed, until he learned that the law prevented him from full compliance with Hutchinson's request. The law is always sneaking up on Mark Martin.
Earlier this year, Hubbard berated Gov. Mike Beebe for asking legislators to vote for a bill Beebe supported. Beebe said Hubbard didn't know how the legislative process worked.
The exchange with McDaniel shows that Hubbard doesn't understand the administrative process either. But a member of the state legislature must know something of government, mustn't he? Maybe the judicial process is the part that Hubbard gets. On reflection, we rather think not.