Okay, by now the word is making it around that Bill Halter had a moment of note in the Arkansas Capitol. Max Brantley has said it was bad, Tolbert’s giddy over it, and I think it’s funny for a completely different reason than they do. But let’s take a look at what happened. A reporter asked Halter about Ingram’s initiative to cut his office’s budget, and Halter responded (badly in some folk’s eyes apparently).
Halter: I am literally running to the Senate floor.
MacNeil: Okay, do you have an opinion on the questions about the size of your staff… (interrupted by one of Halter’s staff members)
Halter: We’ve already put out a statement.
MacNeil: Okay, but I am inquiring and just asking you if you have an opinion.
Halter: About…uh…about what? (Tolbert says he used a “rather indigent tone” here. You can listen over on his page linked above…I don’t hear it myself.) I mean you are asking me…I don’t even know what you are asking me.
MacNeil: Do you think the size of your staff is reasonable?
Halter: Uh..yes, but I would point out to you that the legislature has approved a staff for the Lieutenant Governor from the very beginning of the office. And we don’t have anything to do with other than, the legislature approves the budget. Look we are going up to the floor.
He then goofed up by, for some reason, coming out the elevator on the floor he had just left. I got to admit, that’s rather sad…and I also have to admit I’ve done it myself. But seriously, Halter said it best:
I would point out to you that the legislature has approved a staff for the Lieutenant Governor from the very beginning of the office. And we don’t have anything to do with other than, the legislature approves the budget.
Halter has four guys working for him, and a budget approved by the legislature. There’s nothing really to this. And what do these folks expect him to do? Get in the mud with a guy like Ingram over a nakedly vindictive issue? He answered the question, though I can’t really blame him for sounding so perplexed about it at first. What’s really funny to me is how the Arkansas establishment is going to far to try and bring this guy down, and how so many people seem willing to just swallow it. Meanwhile, his bad day ended with his lottery scholarships that will benefit thousands of Arkansans passing the legislature. A bad day indeed.