Earlier this week, Governor Mike Beebe created a bit of a kerfuffle when he spoke before a group of business leaders at the Arkansas Governor’s Quality Awards ceremony. Rather than discussing whatever it is you discuss at those fancy dinners, Beebe took to the lectern to criticize the allegedly sinister Americans For Prosperity-Arkansas and their new television ad. The ad talks about the shrinking opportunity in our state due to the growth of government and lack of economic freedom (which, I have argued, is a moral imperative for lifting our state out of collective poverty). But Governor Beebe told the group of 400 or so that the ad “trashed Arkansas” and “when they trash Arkansas, they’re trashing you.” You can decide for yourself by viewing the ad here.
In post-banquet comments, Beebe continued:
“It trashes the state. It talks about how bad we’re doing as a state when that’s just not true. We’re doing so well educationally. We’re doing well with creating jobs, even though we’ve lost thousands, we’ve created thousands — it doesn’t bother to say anything about that. It doesn’t bother to mention the fact that we’ve cut more taxes than anybody in history, but we’ve done it in a responsible manner.”
When he says “we’re doing so well educationally,” I guess he’s pretty satisfied with being #45 in achievement and the chance for a successful career. And when he says “We’re doing well with creating jobs,” I guess he’s pretty pleased with a real unemployment rate of more than 9% in Arkansas. Yep, things are great!
The governor told the AP that the ad is “sending a message to the rest of the world that’s not accurate about how well Arkansas has fared and how well Arkansas has done and how high we have climbed in so many rankings.” Climb every mountain…right behind Mississippi.
Here’s a reminder to the Gov: We are 2nd for highest barriers into industry, we have the 5th most burdensome licensing requirements, we have the 6th highest state and local sales tax rates, we are 7th in government job growth, we are 5th worst in education, we have the 3rd fewest doctors, and we are #8 for sales tax collections per capita. We even made #6 for online porn sales and #4 for teen pregnancies. There I go, trashing Arkansas again…
This governor now lashing out at conservatives who are stating facts about the state of Arkansas is of course the same governor who has repeatedly issued calls for “civility” but called conservatives “un-American” at a national wind energy conference in June. In fact, he gave another speech that same month that issued many of these same admonitions for civility and “collegiality.”
From the speech:
“One of the consequences of governor’s school is to teach an empathetic way of approaching problems, a different way of thinking, and understanding of different peoples points of view…The point was that the result of what you’re about to experience hopefully will engrain in you the idea that you’re not always right. Or that one point of view is not always the only point of view. That’s one of the problems in our society today. We’ve got too many people who say it’s my way or the highway.
There are certain things that are not to be compromised…but for the most part, as you deal with everyday problems, there’s usually more than one side to an issue. Sometimes there’s more than two sides to an issue. You see, when you start to put yourself in that other person’s shoes, you start to realize you may not always be right…when you start to think so that you can accept other points of view and then weigh the veracity of who’s right and who’s wrong, then you make the world a better place.
Civility, collegiality, and the ability to accept other points of view…is what this country was built on.
Come down on the side of reason, but do it in a way that’s not divisive.”
I couldn’t agree more, Gov. Perhaps it’s time for you to take your own advice.