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Oct. 18, Editorials

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Beebe says ‘too far'

n We're all acquainted with people who always sound like they know what they're talking about, and even after those rare occasions when, it turns out, they didn't, we remain ready to follow their advice next time it's offered.

Mike Beebe is such a person. The governor has given his opinion of a proposed initiated act to bar unmarried couples from adopting children or acting as foster parents, and a solid, no-nonsense position it seems to be.

“I think it goes too far,” he said. “I'm not going to vote for that initiated act.” That will be sufficient for many: “Mike Beebe says it goes too far.” (People are nearly always willing to accept “goes too far” as a reason for being against something. We're pretty sure Governor Beebe knows this.)

Some people, journalists and the like, will say more than Beebe did. They will say that the proposed initiated act is the product of bias and ignorance and its supporters' zest for making trouble. But it's not necessary to say all that, and the voters probably wouldn't pay attention anyway. Beebe's voice is that of the well-intentioned, well-informed moderate that most Arkansans, and most Americans, like to hear, or like to think they're hearing. If he says it goes too far, it goes too far.

This apparent trustworthiness is a very valuable quality for a politician to have. It explains why Beebe never drew an opponent all those years in the legislature, and why his fellow legislators, after quarreling among themselves, so often followed Beebe's suggestions.

Beebe's had a calming effect too in the controversy over a “not” that either should or shouldn't have been in a recently enacted statute concerning what constitutes a marriageable age. Alarmists fret over what should be done, and what will happen if it isn't. Beebe says there's no reason to rush, things will work out, grade-schoolers will not be marrying. And most of us, unclear what the fuss was about anyway, are happy to believe him: “Mike Beebe says there's nothing to worry about.”

What a contrast with George Bush, who in his efforts to reassure only frightens us more. See the picture Tuesday of Bush confronting a factory worker in Rogers? The poor fellow is terrified, just as the German chancellor was when she became the victim of a sneak massage. Just as we all are, really.

Need one ask?

n “This town's not big enough for two turkey-leg dealers?” (question posed by a discontented State Fair concessionaire). A town with a presidential library? A new ballpark? A Big Dam Bridge? Two will be barely enough.

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