Editorial March 24 

Lack of leadership There’s an old saying that a politician must sometimes rise above his principles. Governor Huckabee has soared well above his in regard to the casino gambling bill approved by the legislature. The governor was praised for his flexibility by Sen. Robert Johnson, the sponsor of SB 999. If one didn’t know that Senator Johnson is a dangerously serious fellow, one might have thought he was joking when he said of Huckabee “I, for one, am very much appreciative of what he did … to allow this to become law in the face of his own personal convictions.” Personal convictions, sometimes known as “family values,” are OK to have as long as they don’t get in the way of big money. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher by training, is declining to veto a casino gambling bill for Hot Springs. There was a time, years ago, when nothing united fractious Baptists — and other church groups, for that matter — like their opposition to gambling at Hot Springs. They defeated the gamblers in statewide referenda. They forced the legislature to recall from the governor’s office a bill that the lawmakers had already passed to legalize casinos. But the church groups were oddly lethargic as SB 999 sped through the legislature this year. Maybe they spent so much energy scourging gays in the last election, they had none left to resist gambling. Huckabee has publicly named most of the reasons why he should veto SB 999. The state’s two racetracks wrote the bill that gives them a franchise worth millions of dollars. If there’s going to be such a franchise, Arkansas should sell it to the highest bidder, as other states have done. The Senate approved this giveaway without even debating it. Taxes on gambling are not a good way to pay for state services, as they shift more of the load from the rich to the poor, who spend a higher percentage of their income on gambling than do the wealthy. Expanded gambling brings increased social costs. As the old-time Baptists used to say, it ruins lives. Having said all or most of that, Huckabee still let SB 999 go unvetoed, largely because, he said, it would have been passed over the veto anyway. It probably would have, although if Huckabee had really worked at upholding the veto, the bill would have passed with fewer votes than it got the first time. Some legislators would have been moved by the governor’s example. Whatever the outcome, Huckabee should have vetoed the bill and fought to uphold the veto. The people do not elect leaders to lead just when it’s easy. It’s a for-better-and-for-worse kind of thing, sort of like covenant marriage. Much is expected.

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday and another open line

    Got anything for the open line?
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • But what about the Clintons? Last refuge of Trump, New York Times

    Trying to compare Donald Trump's reaction to the Russia investigation with Bill Clinton's dealings with Kenneth Starr should be a non-starter if the facts mattered. But these days — and to the New York Times — it ain't necessarily so.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • Football is king, Bentonville edition

    Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote last week to put $2 million into a football stadium for West High School despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    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.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    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.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    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.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • IBS, were you there in Benghazi to personally witness all of Hillary's blunders like you…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • If God felt it necessary to replace the ten commandments, he could do it like…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football for UA Little Rock

    • He's BSC. Students and tuition-paying parents should be VERY vocal that a football program won't…

    • on July 23, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation