The Office of the Lt. Governor
I meant to remark on the rating some east-coasters gave to Lt. Governor Bill Halter. They judged him to be the most influential man in the state. This on the strength of his bully-pulpit use of the LtGov's office to pass the lottery amendment.
One thing it shows you is just how little some east-coasters know about Arkansas. The Lt. Governor is hardly the most influential man in the state, but an honest appraisal would put him solidly in the top twenty. There is just no denying that he did what he set out to do on the lottery, and THAT shows just how little some political opinion writers in this state know about Arkansas.
I ask you to recall (and I will not mention names, they know who they are and so do many of you) what certain pundits wrote and said about the office of the Lt. Governor when it looked like Senator Jim Holt had a fair chance to win it. They said words to the effect that the office was unimportant, inconsequential even. Some even opined that we should do away with the office! From here, it all looked like part of a fail-safe plan to isolate the office holder by slighting the office itself.
As it turned out, the Democrats poured late money into Halter's campaign by running ads which implied that Jim Holt was going to cut off old people's social security if he was elected Lt. Governor and a bunch of other outrageous lies designed to scare ignorant people into pulling the lever for the Democrat. The establishment media naturally refused to call BS on the ads and the Republican party countered this by doing absolutely nothing. Halter wins.
Suddenly, the office of Lt. Governor is consequential again. Why, he may even be the most influential man in the state on account of his use of that big ole' bully pulpit.
Why do I write all of this? Because I am a big student of history. I am big on not being fooled twice by the same tricks. Because I want you to remember, and apply the lessons learned. A state-wide platform with little day-to-day responsibility in ordinary circumstances is far from worthless. It's what one makes of it.