Lay on, Governor
Theres a time to talk sweetly to members of the opposing party, and a time, when sweetness has failed, to slap them smartly across the face. President Obama has not yet learned this important lesson, to the detriment of his presidency and the nation. Gov. Mike Beebe, a more experienced lawmaker, has it down.
Shocked by the way Obamas humanitarian efforts have been blocked by partisan, small-hearted Republicans, Beebe has advised that similar tactics should not be used by obstructionist legislators in Arkansas. Speaking to a group of political hobbyists, Beebe observed, correctly, that the Arkansas legislative process is largely devoid of partisan politics. But, he said, hes seen signs of undue factionalism by certain Republicans. We saw a hint of that [in 2009], the governor said. I warned some folks about it. And Im warning them again about it. He said hed even detected a case of extreme party loyalty in a state representative from his home county, White.
Beebe didnt say precisely what hed do to errant legislators. Some theorists believe that obstreperous partisans can be managed through use of the carrot. But President Obama has tried that approach, and it hasnt worked. We suspect that Governor Beebe will be more inclined to apply the stick to such as Rep. Bryan King, R-Berryville, and Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway. It works better, and its more fun.
The selection of Kenneth Starr as the new president of Baylor is quickly having a demoralizing effect on the worlds largest Baptist university, just as experts predicted. Only weeks after Starrs appointment was announced, a six-foot-eight player on Baylors womens basketball team savagely assaulted a Texas Tech player, leaving her stunned and bloody. The Bearess was ejected from the game and subsequently suspended for two more games, little enough punishment for her offense.
But the fault is not hers alone. By hiring Starr, the Baylor Board of Regents has told students, We want you to play dirty, to be ruthless, to cheat and lie and do whatever is necessary to get the better of your opponent. Copy Kenneth Starrs actions as a special prosecutor. Remember that nice guys finish last, and that goes for girls too. Young people look to their elders for guidance. The elders at Baylor have failed them.
Clearly, Starr must be kept away from American youth, even Texans. Still, Christians will ask, Is Kenneth Starr himself beyond redemption? Possibly not, in the right setting, with the right supervision. On Devils Island for 10 or 12 years, say. Hard labor.