Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

EDITORIAL >> Governor is biggest loser

Arkansans went to the polls Tuesday to vote on several local issues. Sherwood residents decided to extend the terms of city council members from two years to four years, and voters in Lonoke passed a 2-cent hamburger tax.

But yesterday’s big story was Gov. Huckabee’s ambitious proposal to give the state Highway Commission a permanent, $570 million slush fund for interstate im-provements. The voters said they wouldn’t trust the Huck-ster or the commission with that kind of revolving credit. They said let’s just keep paying for highway improvements as we go and save all that interest on the bonds.

The highway proposal has gone down in flames, like Huckabee’s presidential ambitions. If he can’t pass a bond issue in Arkansas, how will he fight global terrorism? Definitely not ready for prime time.

The governor and his highway pals had hoped to sneak the issue past most voters during the holiday season — no one was supposed to be paying attention, you see — but the people were not fooled.

Huckabee also lost the support of conservative Republicans, along with the state’s truckers, who did not want the state to take on more debt.
Another bond issue on the ballot to help state colleges would have passed easily if the highway bonds hadn’t been on the ballot. With friends like Mike, who needs enemies?

The people have acted wisely, as they usually do.