Mike Beebe Stayed Out of Scenes Behind Speaker's Vote

The sensitive politicking that got Davy Carter elected speaker of the Arkansas House instead of his fellow Republican Terry Rice, widely seen as less likely to cooperate with Democrats, has piqued the curiosity of the politically minded, even one month on.

So when your Whispers staff had the ear of Gov. Mike Beebe, we had to ask, did you work behind the scenes to get Carter elected speaker?

Beebe responded with an emphatic “No,” adding, “You don’t spend 20 years in the Senate and not realize that House members don’t get involved in the internal Senate politics and vice versa — and governors don’t get involved in either one of their internal political decision-making.

“Now I’m free to try to persuade on substantive matters — budgets, legislation, public policy. It’s part of my job to interfere there,” said the governor, a veteran Democrat. “But it is not my job — in fact, it’s counterproductive — to ever inject myself in the midst of the internal power struggles or the internal leadership decisions or the internal policy … or politics of either house.”

We appreciated the clear answer as we appreciated the governor’s cheery closing: “Merry Christmas!”