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Editorials, Dec. 13

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Defending Huck

The issue of excessive charity continues to cloud Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. Are the American people ready to elect a nice guy?

To his credit, Huckabee has faced the question head-on. When CBS anchorperson Katie Couric asked about his “biggest regret,” former Governor Huckabee replied:

“I've made a lot of mistakes sometimes, particularly maybe in giving people too much benefit of the doubt — keeping people in positions who should have been let go. Sometimes you pay a big price for that.” He went on to refer, though not by name, to an appointee who was later fired by the governor and who then filed a lawsuit against him.

There are other Baptist preachers, including one of Huckabee's supporters in California, who publicly pray for the deaths of those who displease them. Huckabee did not pray for the death of this troublesome employee, at least not publicly. Some voters will interpret this as weakness. “If he won't pray for the death of one of his own appointees,” they'll ask, “how can he pray for the death of Putin and all those Frenchmen?”

Here is where Huckabee's fellow Arkansans can come to his aid, and we at the Arkansas Times are happy to do so. We have experience with Mike Huckabee and we can say without reservation that he is not excessively big-hearted, not grossly civil, not flagrantly tolerant of those who disagree with him. Far, far from it.

Strong for inaction

If you're not invading somebody, you're not doing anything, is the way George Bush sees it. The president complains of a “do-nothing Congress” but when the Congress does something, as the House of Representatives did last week, he threatens a veto, and his agents in the Senate block further progress of the legislation.

The House approved an energy bill that would raise automobile fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and require increased use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity. Consumers could save billions of dollars; the environment would be protected. The bill also would end undeserved subsidies now received by the oil companies, who've contributed heavily to all of Bush's political campaigns and received a handsome return on investment. Bush insists on energy legislation pleasing to Big Oil and the auto manufacturers. Republican senators are sponsoring the industries' amendments. Three of Arkansas's four representatives voted for the undiluted bill — Vic Snyder, Mike Ross and Marion Berry. The one Republican in the delegation, John Boozman, always scrupulously loyal to party, voted against it.

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