The Arkansas Times endorses these candidates and proposals in the Nov. 7 general election:
GOVERNOR — Mike Beebe
CONGRESS, DISTRICT 2 — Vic Snyder
LITTLE ROCK MAYOR — Barbara Graves
ATTORNEY GENERAL — Dustin McDaniel
REFERRED QUESTION NO. 1 — A bond issue for state colleges and universities. There’s no tax increase.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 1 — To legalize bingo and raffles conducted by non-profit groups.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR — Bill Halter
PULASKI COUNTY SHERIFF — Doc Holladay
Every campaign produces complaints that the opposing candidates are “too negative,” too prone to sling mud at each other. Some of these complaints are ill-founded. This year’s complaints are sound.
Outside Arkansas, the Republican National Committee is spending barrels of money on negative ads against Democratic candidates, accusing one of paying for sex, another of trying to force abortion pills down the throats of schoolchildren. Within the state, Asa Hutchinson has crammed words into the mouths of schoolchildren so they can be shown making charges they don’t even understand against Mike Beebe (a tactic that inadvertently reveals Hutchinson’s contempt for child-labor laws, among other progressive measures). It’s the most offensive political ad we’ve seen in Arkansas in quite a while, and, we suspect, one of the least effective.
Hutchinson also has tried to pin Nick Wilson’s crimes on Beebe, a heavy-handed accusation that brought to Beebe’s defense legislators of both parties who’ve served with him. One of these was Jay Bradford, who was Wilson’s fiercest opponent in the Senate. Among the reasons we support Mike Beebe is that people like Jay Bradford do. Beebe has Jay Bradford and Hutchinson has Dick Cheney.
Hutchinson has crossed the line of acceptability, to be sure. But saying semi-nasty things about one’s opponent has always been a part of American politics. What has made this year’s election season so disappointing and so unusual is that candidates have felt it necessary to say nasty things about themselves. Over and over, Republicans stalking minorities such as aliens and gays have accused Democrats of being too soft to persecute these groups effectively. And Democrats have responded by insisting that they can be just as cruel and ignorant as Republicans. This is not the democratic process at its best.