Goose, Gander (Editorial)

Trying to read minds is dangerous at any time. Trying to read a politician’s mind is doubly dangerous, cluttered as it is with fine-tuned calculation. But it’s early in the year, and our enthusiasm for impossible missions hasn’t yet been eradicated.

So if we were to read Lt. Gov. Mark Darr’s mind — we know, we know — we might find thinking along this line: “We (Republicans) finally won a legislative majority and we hold three of Arkansas’ seven constitutional offices. Surely it’s our turn.”

“Our turn” for what? “Our turn at the spoils system. Our turn to be just as venal as Democrats.”

An article in the Dec. 21 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette betrayed Darr’s entitlement state of mind, reporting that Darr told a legislative auditor that because there’s no law that says he “has to be screwed” on compensation, he planned to be using the Arkansas State Police to ferry him around the state. Because, you know, they don’t have more important things to do.

It’s true that the $42,219 annual salary Darr is paid isn’t lavish. But it’s also true that the job of lieutenant governor is completely unnecessary. Earning $42,219 — still higher than the $40,531 median annual income of an Arkansas household — to carry out unnecessary “work” seems like a pretty good gig to us.

Having been fined $11,000 by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for violating 11 state campaign and ethics provisions, Darr clings stubbornly to his pretty good gig despite the calls to resign from even a fair number of Republicans, including all five GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Mark Darr, take a cue from some Democratic office-holders and adopt the word “former” before your title.