Politicians gone postal

— It may be that some of you can recall a happier time when mail was delivered twice a day.

Yes, the Postal Service visited both in the morning and afternoon. It was pure pleasure when a note came in from some school friend, or an invitation to a party, or a rambling letter by that favorite elderly aunt.

So this is how my parents felt when folks my age would look up in total disbelief at any suggestion of a world without television. While I can vaguely remember the final year or two before TV, it is almost beyond comprehension for many to imagine a nation that came to a halt for “Burns and Allen” or “Inner Sanctum.”

“Sea Hunt” and “Father Knows Best” quickly replaced the culture of radio drama. In the same way, e-mail has largely supplanted the old-fashioned letter. Considering the tenor of recent campaign materials delivered in your mail, one might observe that some candidates have “gone postal.”

No normal person skips down to the mailbox in gleeful anticipation of the latest pack of strained misstatements and shameful personal attacks.Many must have prayed that one of them would run out of money and perhaps the onslaught would come to a humane conclusion.

Not only have Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter not slowed down the relentless bombardment, but Robbie Wills, state House speaker and Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, has joined the assault.

Do you suppose that if we all hang white flags on our mailboxes, the artillery barrage might slow down? It is a little late for that now.

If you were not one of the lucky recipients of Wills’ full-color hand grenade tossed at his opponent, state Sen. Joyce Elliott, it was a real doozey. Wills makes all kinds of allegations on Elliott’s supposed stands on abortion, school prayer and gun rights. It is the kind of thing you might expect from a candidate who suspects that he is way behind.

From the practical standpoint, Wills’ attack amounts to an announcement that his positions are identical to Republican nominee Tim Griffin. The only real distinction is that Griffin has the integrity to call himself a Republican.

Wills’ mailing neglects to name Elliott as the cause of the oil well calamity in the Gulf of Mexico or associate her with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Surely steely-eyed conservatives expect a more deliberate knife hand than evidenced so far by the reluctant Wills.

The center ring attraction in the dreadful circus is still the Lincoln matchup with Halter. If you happen to be a Democrat, this is the most important election in your lifetime.

Since the claim of preeminence is frequently made and generally proposed by those who care the least about the public well-being, it is more than a good idea to unpack that statement. Here goes.

Republican senatorial nominee John Boozman is the hand-picked favorite of national party insiders. Numerous voices within the state party have noted this position. Boozman is an amiable man and seems not to have picked up any visceral enemies. He would be expected to win the general election.

When we consider a Boozman-Halter contest, the vision of an enormous, humiliating landslide comes immediately to mind. In this context, “Bill Halter” and “yard dog” are synonymous. Halter will be beaten, and badly.

Except for his instrumental role in organizing a gambling operation of questionable value, Halter has no public record. His connections with huge sums of outside money from organized labor and the political left make him vulnerable to the withering attacks of a crisp and well-financed Boozman juggernaut.

The Boozman media people need only decide if they will use theme music from “Jaws” or “Friday the 13th” in their attack advertising. It will be ugly and devastating. The general theme will be that Halter is the tool of national organized labor and an enemy of regular folks.

When outsiders roll into town flashing around big hunks of money, as Halter’s union supporters have done, that unchecked flamboyance is bound to leave a bad taste. Organized labor has cast itself as wealthy, powerful and ruthless. That’s no different from big business.

Lincoln’s record leaves a lot to be desired, but at least she has a record. We know that she is cozy with big business, but we also observe that she is flexible. She is a primary architect of legislation to control banking investment in derivatives.

Considering the Democratic candidates for Senate, Lincoln is the only one who enjoys even the slightest chance of winning. Boozman is a Republican, so we know what to expect if he is elected. Should he triumph in November, he will be there for a very long time.

Free-lance columnist Pat Lynch has been a radio broadcaster in Central Arkansas for more than 20 years.

Editorial, Pages 11 on 06/07/2010

Upcoming Events