McCord takes the week off 

An intelligently designed answer

Mike Beebe has liberals mad at him for the way he answered that question from the Little Rock paper about “intelligent design,” which is a euphemism for a right-wing religious finesse to get church views on divine creation forced on the science teachers in the public schools.

He said he was for it — the teaching, that is — except that it might be unconstitutional and goodness knew he didn’t want to do anything unconstitutional.

It’s probably in his best political interest to have liberals mad at him, since they are few and the essential challenge of his Democratic gubernatorial candidacy is to appeal to white, church-going cultural conservatives in rural Arkansas.

Except for this: Beebe’s campaign dynamic is more complicated than, say, the one by which Mark Pryor right-winged himself to the U.S. Senate as a rural-connecting Democrat, beating Tim Hutchinson, the less-able brother of Beebe’s opponent, Asa.

We have a left-leaning independent candidate for governor. This personable 30-something, Rod Bryan, is a former Ouachita Baptist tight end and current rock band bass player who rides an elongated bicycle and an old Mercedes fueled with used vegetable oil. He preaches alternative solutions and common-sense efficiencies. He threatens to come across as an enlightened good ol’ boy and take a couple of percentage points that would normally go to the Democrat.

Then if Jim Lendall gets on the ballot for the Green Party, as he should — well, Beebe simply does not enjoy Pryor’s full luxury to take liberals wholly for granted.

Beebe could turn out to be Al Gore; Hutchinson George Bush; and Bryan/Lendall Ralph Nader. Phillips County could be Florida. Charlie Daniels could be Katherine Harris.

Some of us have been talking about how Beebe might have better answered that “intelligent design” question, especially considering that the query came on a questionnaire that his brain trust had time to ponder carefully.

Afflicted as I am by brutal candor, I came up with this:

“I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to snooker me either into offending the church people or the Democratic base. You don’t give a hoot whether anybody teaches intelligent design in the schools.

“Let’s be serious: Yours is a Republican paper. I can’t tell the difference between your editorials and my opponent’s campaign blog. It’s no wonder. My opponent’s campaign manager used to be an editorial writer for your paper. It looks to me like he still is.

“Yes, I know that you’ll say the news side and the editorial side are separate. First, I have a strong suspicion that’s hooey. Second, it’s worse if true, because the guy who runs your news operation is a kookier right-winger even than your editorial writers. He keeps trying to rewrite history to make Orval Faubus the good guy from 1957. He won’t even let your reporters write whether seat belts were in use in traffic fatalities.

“Put that in your paper. Then put it in your pipe and smoke it.

“To your question: It’s a matter of curriculum, and curriculum must be left to professional educators, not politicians. I remember when Frank White, rest his soul, told the Governor’s School to reflect his own values. People were outraged, quite appropriately, and Frank later reflected that he wished he hadn’t done that.

“I believe in God. I believe in a supreme and benevolent power that created the universe. The particulars beyond that about the empirical scientific data suitable for school instruction — those I’ll leave to the educators.

“As governor I’ll have jobs to create and taxes to reform and ethics to emphasize. I can’t be writing the textbooks, too.

“If you want to talk about this further, join me in church Sunday in worshipping our creator. Or you can go dove-hunting with me in a few weeks. Don’t worry — I’m not as bad a shot as Cheney.”

Robert McCord is taking the week off. So we’re offering a double dose of John Brummett.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

  • Here come the judge candidates

    It's already less than a year away from nonpartisan judicial elections, so candidates have begun to emerge and more will be coming, with a number of judgeships to be vacated by retirement. This week:
    • Mar 26, 2019
  • North Little Rock police shoot at man pointing gun

    Hilary Hunt of KARK reports that the North Little Rock police are investigating the shooting of a man who reportedly pointed a gun at officers.
    • Mar 26, 2019
  • Trump moves to strike down entire Affordable Care Act, in tune with Leslie Rutledge

    In an important legal shift, the Trump Administration is now asking the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act. This squares the Justice Department with state officials who intervened in the Texas case, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
    • Mar 26, 2019
  • More »

Latest in Bob McCord

  • NLR: Second city no more.

    A long-time North Little Rock resident muses on the arrival of a former governor and current lieutenant governor and looks back at hometowns of governors and presidential contenders from Arkansas.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • Parting thoughts

    This column is kind of a difficult one for me, and I will tell you why at the end. I have written some things that I believe would make Arkansas a better and more prosperous state.
    • Nov 23, 2006
  • On the winning side

    There were a lot of interesting things that happened all over in the country and in Arkansas at last week’s voting. For the first time I had more winners than losers, and...
    • Nov 16, 2006
  • More »

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation