Thursday, July 27, 2006

FROM THE PUBLISHER>>Huckabee pardons another drunk

By Garrick Feldman
Leader publisher

Gov. Huckabee blundered twice this week: He leased a brand-new Suburban at taxpayers’ expense for nearly $900 a month, the gold-plated version, no less, even though he has only six months left in office. What was wrong with the old one?

You’d think with the royalties he’s made off his diet book, the Huckster could buy his own Suburban.

With his second blunder, he offended not only his conservative base (what’s left of it), but all lovers of good music when he announced he would pardon the aging rocker Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, who was busted in Fordyce more than 30 years ago for driving under the influence.

But don’t expect a pardon for Joe Six Pack, who didn’t know when to say when.

Huckabee is easily star-struck, but Richards, who recently fell out of a coconut tree while on vacation, is a well-known substance abuser and habitual drunk. He’s a mediocre guitar player with that average white band, the Rolling Stones, whose leader, one Mick Jagger, stole every lisp, every movement from Don Covay and a bunch of other superior soul-blues singers who died penniless while the Stones still make millions at every concert.

Sure, Huckabee has a weakness for pardoning drivers under the influence, but if he’s looking to pardon others who’ve had one too many, I could give the names of about 20 people who’d love to get out of jail early and have their records expunged, but they’re not rich or famous or have friends in high places, so they wouldn’t qualify for the Huckster’s mercy.

Huckabee probably thinks he’s as good a guitar player as Keith Richards, and he might be right. If you listen to the Huckster and Rich-ards play, you might not be able to tell the two apart.

That’s how mediocre they are.

No offense, but when you can hear B.B. King and Hubert Sumlin play down here, why accept imitators?

“Every musician in the world recognizes his talent,” Huckabee’s spokesperson quoted his boss as saying, presumably referring to Richards, not the Huckster.

If he’s so eager to pardon Richards, the Huckster should at least make him play down in Cummins Prison for the inmates.
It’s not my idea of a good time, but the prisoners might appreciate it as a brief diversion.

Richards will at least have a captive audience, which is every performer’s dream.

Maybe the great Calvin Leavy, who’s doing a long stretch there for drug dealing, might join Richard and the governor onstage.

As for the Huckster’s new Suburban, it reminds us why Arkansas has mourned the loss of Lieut. Gov. Win Rockefeller: He gave his salary back to the state and wasn’t sponging off the taxpayers.

Unlike most other politicians, Rockefeller didn’t have his hand out. Like his father, Win-throp, who was governor from 1967-71, you couldn’t bribe him because he didn’t need the money.

No free rides for the Rockefellers, either in an automobile or on a jet plane, or so-called in-kind contributions the Huck-ster expects from those doing business with the state, such as the Lord’s Ranch, a substandard home the Department of Human Services uses to stockpile our troubled youth.

Its owner has a sweetheart contract with the state, and in return he lets the Huckabees ride on his decrepit little jet that nearly crashed and almost killed the First Family.

That’s pretty scary, but as for Keith Richards, it’s only rock-and-roll, and the governor likes it.

Is the governor hoping for free concert tickets the next time the Rolling Stones play in Arkansas on their 70th birthday tour?
Just don’t take them down to Fordyce.