The local Clinton-haters were furious when the long and dirty campaign to destroy Bill Clinton failed. Now they’re barking because the new Clinton presidential library acknowledges that failure. Born to loathe.
Here is the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette editorial page in full yelp about “the Clinton Library’s decision to squeeze the entire exhibit on impeachment into one not very prominent alcove at the library, as if his impeachment had been just a minor part of Bill Clinton’s presidency rather than its defining mark.”
What defined the Clinton presidency was eight years of peace and prosperity; eight years of greater opportunity for women, blacks, Hispanics, gays and other minorities; eight years of increased emphasis on education — all of the things that are lacking from the George W. Bush administration, along with good English. Impeachment was indeed a minor part of Bill Clinton’s presidency, a partisan political ploy that would never have gotten as far as it did if Richard Mellon Scaife had less money, and congressional Republicans had more honor.
Using the Democrat-Gazette’s unbalanced scale of significance, the “defining mark” of the Bush presidency would be his prancing around in a flight suit on the deck of a warship — political theater, as the Clinton impeachment was political theater, the difference being that Bush was a willing player and Clinton was not. The mythical weapons of mass destruction; the deaths of thousands of American servicemen and Iraqi civilians; the degradation of the environment; the special favors to the rich at the expense of the poor — these are not worth notice on the D-G editorial page. You can bet that when George W. Bush builds his library, they won’t be noticed there, either.
Not the answer
As a state Insurance Department official remarked the other day, it is probably too early to declare “tort reform” a failure based solely on the Arkansas experience. It is not too early to declare failure based on the experience everywhere else.
The Arkansas law limiting the people’s right to sue those who’ve wronged them was enacted only in 2003, but similar laws have been on the books in other states long enough to measure any lowering of medical malpractice insurance premiums. Nowhere has “tort reform” achieved such a reduction, though lower malpractice rates are always cited as the principal justification for it. (“Tort reform” actually is intended to benefit insurance companies and corporate malefactors more than doctors, but proponents are loath to say so.) A recent Insurance Department evaluation of the Arkansas law found that it had produced no significant change in the malpractice market. It never will. “Tort reform” is designed to increase profits, not lower premiums.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.