Thursday, January 11, 2007

First Impressions on Governor Beebe

In an effort to be gracious in defeat, I choose to hold off on any evaluations of Governor Mike Beebe and the Democratic team until now.

Why is it OK now? I figure that with Democratic House Speaker Benny Petrus appearing to stand opposed to some of Beebe's plans, it is now within the bounds of decorum to do so myself. I stilled my keyboard in the days immediately after he was elected by my fellow citizens, but if the speaker from his own party can be critical of some of his programs, surely the time has come where I can do the same without giving an accusation of "sour grapes" merit.

So now that the way is clear, some may expect me to begin blasting with both barrels. Well, I did too. But a funny thing happened on the first day of hostilities. I find myself relieved at the way Beebe handles himself after a decade of Mike Huckabee. Remember when I said that the Speaker of the House was stirring up opposition to some of Beebe's ideas? Notice how our new Governor handles those issues in this Warwick Sabin video from YouTube.

Beebe focused on what they agreed on, made a logical defense for his positions, respected Petrus's right to his own view, and stressed that they could work it out because of a virtue his opponent possessed. Can anyone remember, or even imagine, Mike Huckabee handling a similar situation with such maturity and grace? Whenever a conservative Republican legislator expressed oppositon to any of Huckabee's ideas, the thin-skinned one sprouted more bristles than a bag of porcupines and made quotes like "he doesn't drink the same kind of Jesus-juice that I drink". Huckabee tended to make disagreement with him personal. Beebe brings in a very different style.

I still may agree more with Petrus than Beebe on the specifics of the issues. I am still sorting through the substance. Nevertheless, Beebe seems to understand how to comport himself with style in the office.


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