Over at the Arkansas Times blog, Max Brantley digs up a nice little nugget from the Chronicle of Higher Education. A Rhodes College professor with some expertise on state-run lotteries, during a recent lecture at the Clinton School for Public Service in Little Rock, ventured some criticism, noting that lotteries are a particularly regressive vehicle for generating state revenue. (You can read the professor’s full recounting here—recommended).
Fair enough. Let’s get all sides out there, right?
Well, no, not if you’re Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.
The lottery, as you well know, is Halter’s pet issue, upon which he has staked his short-lived political career—so those who would question the scheme can’t be debated. They must be shouted down, belittled and bullied.
That job fell to Halter’s spokesman Bud Jackson, a Virginia-based political consultant who, based upon his regularly published comments in the newspaper, is as charmless a vulgarian who ever drew breath, and who clearly relishes his role as Halter’s pit bull.
Jackson’s response, as Halter’s mouthpiece, showed up in the paper the following day:
Halter spokesman Bud Jackson said Arkansans ‘are smart enough to trust the facts over some kooky college professor trying to turn a quick buck with a book that is several chapters short of being an honest and complete representation of reality.’
Arkansans ‘would also be thrilled to know that the kooky professor would prefer tax hikes for all people rather than a voluntary game that would benefit tens of thousands of Arkansans with new scholarships.’
Brantley points out, quite rightly, that Jackson’s response was “over-the-top” and characterized Jackson as “bumptious” (great word). That sparked another response from Jackson, which I’ll let you read over at Max’s blog.
But this is all a long way around of noting that if Halter is looking to win friends and influence people on this issue and others, a good place to start might be placing a muzzle on his overly aggressive and embarrassing spokesman. Bud Jackson, as a political consultant, is no doubt making plenty of money off Halter and the state of Arkansas. But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s low rent.