He thinks he’s shocked

What women get by with these days! Gilbert Baker is flabbergasted. The state senator and Republican state chairman from Conway announced that he was “really shocked” to learn that hurricane evacuees had obtained free abortions at Arkansas clinics. And they did it without consulting either the Arkansas Senate or the Republican State Committee.


“This is a very vulnerable time in their life,” Baker said, “and I think this is a time where we should be encouraging and supporting and offering basic needs as opposed to saying ‘Hey, how about a free abortion?’ … [I]t is not a time they should be making a life and death decision … ”

Baker doesn’t understand that freedom is a basic need here in the land of the free, and even people who’ve lost just about everything else insist on making their life and death decisions for themselves, indifferent to Gilbert Baker’s assurance that he could do it better.


The senator’s shock at finding evacuees acting like full-fledged Americans immediately followed his shock at seeing a friend and political supporter he’d vouched for sent to prison — for beating and burning a woman, of all people. Baker was a character witness for Joshua Dickens, who was sentenced to five years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. According to testimony, Dickens burned the 25-year-old victim repeatedly with a cigarette lighter. That’s some character to vouch for. What did Baker say? “Could have been hotter” ?

Are there no Republican women? No women voters in Senate District 30? Do they not object to a person like Gilbert Baker speaking for them?


Compassionate conservatism

We thought Governor Huckabee audacious when he came out against ethics, suing the state Ethics Commission, but President Bush is bolder still. He’s pro-torture, the first president to take such a stand, to the best of our knowledge.

Bush has said that if it reaches his desk, he’ll veto legislation that would prohibit the U.S. military from torturing prisoners. The measure passed the Senate 90 to 9, with both Arkansas senators voting for it, and is now in the House of Representatives. Its sponsor is Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former prisoner of war, who told his colleagues that not only does torture yield unreliable information — people will say anything to stop the pain — its use invites retaliation against Americans in enemy hands. Furthermore, McCain said, “prisoner abuses exact on us a terrible toll in the war of ideas … The cruel actions of a few darken the reputation of our country in the eyes of millions.” Eloquent words. Too bad they had to be said.

(We note that the Lovely County Citizen of Eureka Springs, usually sound in its editorial judgments, has called for torture of Tom DeLay. Not even he deserves it.)