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Which one?


The city of Beebe or Mike Beebe? It's not an easy question. They're both from White County, both have their merits, and their advocates. The town has gained fame for its dead birds; the man as a competent and moderate governor, perhaps the last of his kind. If you were playing a football game, against the Bald Knob Bulldogs, say, the city and its Beebe (High School) Badgers would be the better choice; Mike Beebe alone would have little chance of defeating 11 much younger athletes. But if you're planning a statue on the Capitol grounds, we'd give the edge to the governor. We've spoken before of his good work in guiding an affordable health-care bill safely through a Republican-infested legislature. Since then, he's added another star to his crown — three stars, actually — by vetoing bills that would have distorted state election processes so as to favor the Republican Party. One bill would give frighteningly broad powers to the hotly partisan Secretary of State Mark Martin, so that he could "investigate" alleged violations of election laws. Martin is the most Republican Republican in Arkansas except for Sen. Bryan King of Green Forest, the sponsor of the bills that Beebe vetoed. To expect nonpartisanship from either of them is like expecting table manners from a hog. The concept is foreign.

But some Republicans do understand, and election officials from both parties urged Beebe to veto King's "election reform" package, just as the governor earlier vetoed King's bill to discourage voting by minorities, the elderly and the poor, groups that are inclined to vote Democratic. The legislature overrode that veto — only a simple majority is required — and it's possible the legislators will return from recess and override these latest vetoes too. But the governor has done what he could; the history books and any statues will note it. As for the other Beebe, it will still be "Home of the Badgers," and deceased birds. There should be a festival in there someplace.

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