What Is It about Arkansas? Watermelons, America's Future, and Maybe a President or Two at NCEW's Little Rock Convention

By Barham, David | The Masthead, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

What Is It about Arkansas? Watermelons, America's Future, and Maybe a President or Two at NCEW's Little Rock Convention


Barham, David, The Masthead


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Little Rock, here we come!

Once again, Arkansas finds herself in the center of the political universe. At the time of this writing, a former governor and the latest Man From Hope, Mike Huckabee, is more than holding his own in the Republican presidential primaries. Hillary Clinton, a former first lady of the state and current U.S. senator from some state back East, may find herself in the White House once again if she gets the Democratic nomination. What a great time to be in Arkansas! And it seems as if everybody is. You can't swing a campaign sign without hitting a national reporter in town to the get the Real Story on Hillary! or the Huck--or maybe to find out just what it is in the water in Hope, Arkansas, that keeps producing all these politicians. (Our favorite answer to that great question came from an impressive jurist who hailed, naturally, from Hope: It's not the water, it's the watermelons.)

The best time to visit would be in the fall, when the tomatoes are ripe--and when the political season really gets hopping. As it happens, Little Rock will play host to the NCEW's annual convention come September 17-20 this year. Attractions await: The Clinton Library and Museum (at least the first one) is open for business and will be the site of an event for the editorial writers. So will historic Central High School, which just observed the fiftieth anniversary of the constitutional and moral crisis that marked a watershed in the country's civil rights movement. The resort of Hot Springs will be open for business, as always, and the tour for spouses and guests will visit, among its other jewels, Bathhouse Row, where Al Capone used to take the waters while on vacation from other pursuits.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The convention's theme is a natural in this, the Natural State: "The Next South, the Next America. …

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