Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

SAT 5-17-6 EDITORIAL >> For the GOP: Go with Banks

The choice for lieutenant governor is much easier in the Republican primary, where former United States Attorney Chuck Banks of Little Rock takes on two state lawmakers, state Sen. Jim Holt and Rep. Doug Matayo, both of Springdale. Banks is the choice.
Holt is the frontrunner in a race where name recognition is a premium. Holt has gotten acres of newsprint since he entered politics because of the curiosity over his childrearing.

He and fellow townsman Jim Bob Duggar, who is running for Holtís Senate seat again, between them have spawned (at our last count) 25 children, all of whom are schooled at home by the wives. Holtís career is marked by two passions, abortion and Mexican immigrants. He doesnít like them.

But he is running for the one job where he cannot do a thing about either problem.

He cannot sponsor anti-abortion bills or bills to punish either Mexicans who sneak into the country to work or their children. He is counting on voters not to know that. Matayo, a conservative Republican, says Holt is an extremist.

Banks fits the prevailing qualifications for the job best. He is boring. Or maybe we just confuse competence, thoughtfulness and dignity with dullness. But you can be all those things.

Banks comes closest of all those in either primary to nonpartisan fairness. As a Reagan-appointed U.S. attorney he was diligent and evenhanded. In 1992 he refused importunities from Washington to use his office to influence the presidential race. That sounds like a pretty good qualification.