What The Hell Is Jay Barth Talking About?


The Arkansas Times’ Gerard Matthews has a well-reported piece on the Arkansas lottery and some of the challenges that the latest big scam promising new venture will face in its initial start-up.

An Arkansas Project reader also read the piece and notes this quote from Hendrix College political scientist professor Jay Barth, who’s also a Democratic candidate for state Senate:

He says the ability to implement public policy directed toward altering education in Arkansas says a lot about how the culture is changing.

“The overwhelming majority by which it was passed does say something about the state’s relatively new commitment to education,” Barth says. “The populace is committed in a real way to educational change and I think that’s part of the lasting legacy of the Clinton era. [Bill] Clinton’s governorship really took a step toward saying education is key to changing this state and I think this is a continuation of that trend.”

Hm. That sounds pretty noble, but I would suggest that the overwhelming vote in favor of the lottery had less to do with Arkansans being “committed in a real way to educational change” and more to do with Arkansans who were “committed to the hope that they’ll score a shit ton of free money by winning the lottery.” It’s a subtle difference.

That quibble aside, read the whole thing.

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9 thoughts on “What The Hell Is Jay Barth Talking About?

  • Fourche River Rex

    Give me a pound of whatever Barth is smoking, cause that’s some kine bud.
    I just like saying Barth. Barth. Barth. I love Northern Lights.

  • I hope this dude was misquoted or that his quote was used out of context by the reporter.

    Either way, its horseshit. I never have understood why reporters call this guy for quotes.

  • Bill from Sheridan

    Barth isn’t too sharp. He’s running for state Senate in a minority majority district. He assumes that because he’s a “minority” he’ll win. He’s about to get hit upside the head with reality.

  • Jason Gibson

    He’s a gay. That’s makes him a minority too.

  • Cameron Bluff

    We owe the improvement in education to Bill Clinton? When the heck was the guy governor anyway, 2 decades ago? Why not give credit to Sid McMath? The simple fact is, the changes to education in Arkansas are largely a byproduct of the Lake View lawsuit and the resultant changes forced on a reluctant legislature under the leadership of Governor Huckabee. Education would still be in the pits, performance and teacher pay dragging the bottom of the barrel without the changes during the first half of this decade, not because of anything pushed during the Clinton years. Agreed, attempts were made, but accomplishments of the Clinton years only managed to get us enmeshed in Lake View, nothing more, nothing less.The 1983 session was historic more for its legislative gamesmanship than actual education accomplishment. All Jay Barth is doing is trying to glom onto the first black US president’s coattails and make his white face more palatable to the minorities he so wants to represent.

  • Jason Young

    His Clinton idea is just silly. I don’t think our education system is getting better as much as the U.S. overall education system is getting worse with Arkansas mostly unchanged.

    As for why most people voted for the lottery, I think it was because everyone else around us (but Mississippi thank goodness for them) had a lottery. We had lost that fight and Arkansans were essentially just giving that money to other states for no reason. People in Arkansas were already buying lottery tickets so we might as well be getting some of that money instead of just letting everyone else have it.

  • Cameron, I agree…weren’t we competing for 49th or 50th place in education during the Clinton years, and for several years after they left? I think Mississippi was our big competition for 50th.

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  • All the polls indicated that Arkansans would NOT vote for the lottery if it didn’t have any major benefits–mainly on education. The idea was brought to the state legislature as a way to secure more scholarships for college and that was how it was advertised to the public. Of course some people didn’t care about the scholarship aspect, but Arkansas would not have supported this measure if it didn’t do anything, except make a couple people rich. Also, most of the people who use the lottery don’t vote. They weren’t voting for it so they could win. They voted for it because they thought it would help students in Arkansas. Regardless of the debate on whether it will actually help or not, Arkansans voted to help education. Barth is dead on right.
    Also, he never said Clinton revolutionized education. He said the steps began there because Clinton put a big emphasis on education. Read his quote people. Barth said that this state has a RELATIVELY NEW COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION.
    Barth is a wonderful candidate and I hope he wins.


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