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If Asa Hutchinson has been wildly overrated over the years, Mike Beebe has been, by many of us, vastly underrated. "Oh sure, he's been a successful legislative operator," we've told each other. "But to what ends? And he's had some questionable friends and allies."
As the time for Beebe's first gubernatorial term drew near, we began to pay more attention. People we knew and admired in state government were themselves great admirers of Mike Beebe, eager to work in a Beebe administration.
Facing conditions about as difficult as any governor in modern times has — including a legislative majority both hostile and uninformed — Beebe has kept the state on an even keel, even a progressive keel, in some cases, financially and philosophically. He may be the last governor to do this. It's all right to tell him.