The Shining | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Shining

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

No, wait. Make that "The Rising," a series on the Washington Post's political blog about rising politicians that most don't know but should.

Today it's Gov. Mike Beebe, Arkansas emperor for life but for term limits. (Could we repeal them?)

While Beebe seems to have no interest in national office (and, unlike most politicians, we think it's safe to take him at his word on this one), he has clearly thought quite a bit about what has made so many Arkansas pols so successful at the national level.

The size of Arkansas makes it a place where retail politics still matters, explained Beebe, and that "give and take" between politician and voter produces the sort of pols -- like Clinton, Huckabee and Dale Bumpers among others -- who are quick on their feet. "You end up naturally having to understand to relate to people, to listen and respond," said Beebe.

Luck has, of course, also played a role in the prominence of Arkansas-based politicians, acknowledged Beebe; "We have had a run of extraordinary talent," he said.

And, while Beebe's poll numbers seem to suggest that he is the latest incarnation of Arkansas' remarkable run of national-level politicians, he is adamant about his interest in keeping his focus squarely on his state.

"I'm not ready to die but I don't want to start a new career," Beebe says of the possibility of a national run after he leave the governor's mansion. "Why would you ever want to be anything else after you've been governor?"

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