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Not a nice guy

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Baptists are nothing if not fratricidal. They despised Brother Jimmy Carter, a pious Baptist president, and their aversion to Carter was mild compared to their hatred of the next Baptist president, Bill Clinton. That hatred continues undiminished, obviously, though Clinton is long out of office. Kenneth Starr has just been hired as president of the world's biggest Baptist university, and Starr's not even a Baptist (nor much of an educator, for that matter). What the Baptists like about Starr is that he fought long and hard and ruthlessly to overturn the election of a president whose politics didn't suit them, and to the people who are running the Baptist church these days, politics are far more important than religion. For a group that employs imprecatory prayer against critics, Starr is the perfect choice. Mean as hell.

(Starr has a background in the Church of Christ and he's lately been dean of the law school at Pepperdine, a Church of Christ university. He attends a nondenominational evangelical church, but he's reportedly said he'll join a Baptist church when he moves to Waco, much as Knute Rockne embraced Catholicism when he took the coaching job at Notre Dame.)

A member of the Baylor board of regents said that Starr was chosen because of “his dedication to the highest ideals of the Christian faith, and his profound commitment to public service.” His public service was to try to overthrow a democratically elected government, and he's dedicated to the highest ideals of the Christian faith only if Christ is a right-wing Republican. The last thing Starr can be accused of is sincerity. What he is, is a fanatical partisan and ideologue, not an idealist shocked into action by Bill Clinton's sexual slips, as he pretends and his admirers profess to believe. He was caught on record frothing against Bill Clinton long before anyone had heard of Monica Lewinsky. The notion of Starr as an upright Christian soldier was spread by journalists as cynical as he, to whom he leaked information.

Starr spent $50 million of the taxpayers' money trying to get rid of a president the taxpayers had elected. At least at Baylor, he won't have his hands on public money.

So far as we know, Jim Bunning is the only former Arkansas Traveler pitcher to hold high elective office, and that looks to be a very good thing. What mischief might he have caused if he'd had Bo Belinsky in the Senate rotation with him? Single-handedly, Bunning is denying a million jobless Americans unemployment and health insurance benefits. When he pitched here, he was often wild; we didn't know he was crazy.

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