The Clinton years were a time of peace, prosperity and standing up for the rights of minorities. If the new Clinton library is anywhere near as successful as the Clinton administration, Little Rock has happy times ahead.
Those who are confident that the library will attract hordes of free-spending visitors and distinguished scholars — especially the former — follow the example of Clinton himself, who certainly has no doubts in the matter. When Ronald Reagan died, the pundits exhausted themselves talking about what a great optimist he was. Clinton was, and is, no slouch in the optimism department, either. All his life, he has expected that things will turn out well, and usually they have. Voters responded to his sunny certitude that good ultimately prevails over evil. (Our faith, if not his, is a little strained at the moment.)
That Clinton retained this rosy outlook throughout his presidency is even more remarkable than Reagan’s focus on the bright side. Reagan didn’t endure the kind of vicious attacks that the right-wing media launched on Clinton, nor the no-quarter hostility from the opposing party that was Clinton’s lot. His casual high spirits will be an asset to his wife, not as ebullient as he, if she runs for president. A Hillary candidacy will evoke the same kind of fury from the Far Right that her husband’s did.
For a time at least, we can all be Clintonians. It’s easy to be hopeful about the future when the downtown improvements that have already occurred because of the library are so vividly apparent. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, as the man himself would say.
?Fulminating in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, among other papers, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote on Nov. 15 that the “liberal elite” had seized on “the myth of the Bigoted Christian Redneck” concerned only with “moral values,” to explain the Democrats’ defeat. He named columnists at the New York Times as among the worst offenders, and proceeded to debunk the myth and mock those who repeated it. That same day, the liberal Progress Report was writing on-line, “Conservatives have seized on the notion that the ‘moral values’ of the religious right determined the recent election. As [liberal columnist] Frank Rich of the New York Times points out, however, ‘There’s only one problem with the storyline proclaiming that the country swung to the right on cultural issues in 2004 … it is fiction.’ ” So, no bigoted Christian rednecks here. If there were such a thing, though, we suspect he might be found on the campus of Bob Jones University, whose president wrote to President Bush on Nov. 3, “In your re-election, God has graciously granted America — though she doesn’t deserve it — a reprieve from the agenda of paganism.”
The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
Not since the John Birch Society's "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court's school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge?
The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
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.