Leader Blues

Monday, November 20, 2006

EDITORIALS>>More news of the weird

Former Cong. Tommy Robinson, mired in bankruptcy proceedings, is headed for the Republic of Congo as a lobbyist for the newly installed regime, while Gov. Mike Huckabee and the First Lady are planning a wedding shower for themselves as they prepare to move into their new $500,000 home in North Little Rock.

Robinson isnít really a lobbyist for the Congo, although he claims heíll be making $12,000 a month, and the Huckabees arenít really getting married again, theyíre just trying to get around the stateís strict ethics guidelines, which forbid most gifts to public officials, although wedding gifts are one of those exceptions.

The Huckabees were hoping no one in the media would notice what they were up to. In fact, it was a couple of bloggers that reported the Huckabeesí registry at Target and Dillardís, and then the newspapers picked up the scent and went with the story. The Associated Press then carried the story, and now the Huckabees are the punchline to every late-night comedianís jokes about politiciansí loose ethics.

Wasnít that one of the reasons the Republicans lost the last election? And Mike Huckabee wants to be president? What is he running on? On the Clean Government slate, or more likely, wornout sneakers that he hopes to replace at Target or Dillardís? (Although the Target registry was removed at mid-week.)

His record of easy living ó they donít call him Mike the Mooch for nothing ó will hardly endear him with the Republican base. His record of taking handouts and handing out pardons probably hurt the entire GOP ticket in Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson never had a chance running for governor, considering Huckabeeís lackluster record and loose ethics.

But you havenít seen nothing yet: Prosecutors around the state are fearful the Huckster will pardon hundreds of felons before he leaves office in January. That will be Mikeís revenge against all those media and law-and-order types (not to mention victimsí families) who questioned his ethical lapses and casual way he pardoned killers and rapists and drunks.

Which reminds us: Do you remember how Sheriff Robinson used to chain prisoners when there was no room in the Pulaski County Jail? Instead of consulting for the president of Congo, which is still a dangerous place, he might instead offer his services to incoming Sheriff Doc Holladay and help him solve crowding problems at the jail.

Robinson is an expert on jails, having run them in the 1970s and 1980s and even served time on a recent assault charge, giving him a unique perspective on jail crowding.