A tangible thank-you 

Oh, for the days when the lies were about sex and not war.

But let us borrow a popular chant from Republican opposition during the era of peace and prosperity — 1993-2000 — that wasthe Clinton years.

“Where is the outrage?”

Where are the noisy Republicans who could produce an angry claque whenever the name Clinton was mentioned? Unconstitutional snooping, lies, thousands dead and a low world opinion apparently are nothing to them against that long-ago intimate dalliance.

The noisy claques came to mind when we read a glowing article last week in the Wall Street Journal about the redevelopment the Clinton Library has inspired in downtown Little Rock. Not every dollar of $1 billion worth of new investment can be credited to the former president’s grand presidential center (which his haters so derided), but real estate developer Rett Tucker put it this way for the Journal: “We were grinding out the first few downs and the Presidential Center was the 50-yard pass.”

The library drew 500,000 visitors last year and is still a must-see for Republican and Democratic visitors alike. The man himself still commands a crowd — witness the $1 million he raised in a recent night’s work for Mike Beebe and the Democratic Party. So it’s with some disbelief that we re-read clips from 1999, when a cowardly Little Rock Board of Directors (bending to a small but noisy claque of Clinton haters), pulled back on its 1997 decision to rename Markham Street from the Train Station to the Library in honor of the former president. A compromise preserved a short stretch from Cumberland to the library as Clinton Avenue.

The first president from Arkansas deserved more for a tenure that looks better with every passing day. The decision also reversed a proposal that would have somewhat rectified the puzzling nature of Markham Street, which baffles visitors on its zigzag, disconnected course through town before finally settling in for a long, straight run west of the Capitol.

It’s not too late. Nobody knows who Markham was anyway. In his 60th year, let’s honor the former president by extending his avenue past the Statehouse Convention Center, the big hotels, the courthouse, City Hall and Doe’s Eat Place to the front door of what used to be Buster’s, once the essential political hangout. Each one of these places, and more stops along the way, provided chapters in the president’s life story. The Arkansas Times, for one, would happily trade its stationery for a 201 E. President Clinton Avenue address.

School board reminder

School elections are Tuesday, Sept. 19. The Arkansas Times has made one recommendation in races that day — for CAROL RODDY for Zone 3 on the Little Rock School Board.


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