Apr 26, 2010

Beth Anne Rankin's 'Back to Basics' Campaign

Being in the same room as Beth Anne Rankin is a little like being in the room with a celebrity. She is, in most Arkansan’s view, a celebrity. That celebrity status goes back to the days of reigning as Miss. Arkansas and touring the state in that capacity. It extends beyond the reign of a beauty queen and leaps into politics. It’s not just any politics, it’s Arkansas politics and with one of Arkansas’ favorite Republican sons, Mike Huckabee. She served on Mike’s staff during his time as Governor of Arkansas. In that position, she met and interacted with governors from all states. She coordinated meetings in and out of Arkansas around the nation. Often she was at the forefront of the delegation to extend an Arkansas greeting to anyone visiting the state on official business. In Arkansas, unless you’re in the movies, Beth Anne pretty much lived the celebrity status.

I must admit when I first heard that she was running for the U.S. Senate, I was not overly enthusiastic. Most of the popular press portrayed her as simply a “former Miss. Arkansas who worked for Mike Huckabee’s office”. To me she sounded like the “meet and greet” person for Arkansas. I could only imagine her walking up to people and saying “Hi! I’m Beth Anne Rankin. I’m from Arkansas and it’s a great state! Welcome!” I figured that one line just about summed up Beth Anne Rankin, or at least it did in my mind.

The first time I heard Beth Anne she followed on the heels of an opponent and was left little time to speak. She was straightforward, up-front, and as I anticipated she kind of sounded like I had envisioned she would in my mind. I figured that I would have at least another opportunity to hear her speak, so I dismissed the first meeting.

The Haaks held a small gathering for Beth Anne at their home this evening. I had the honor of attending and there heard several people voice positive things about Beth Anne. Then she took the microphone, to my surprise she said, “Hi! I’m Beth Anne Rankin! I’m from Arkansas…” I almost rolled my eyes and thought to myself, “okay here it comes.” What came next surprised me. Beth Anne, an honor graduate, has a plan. She has a plan that includes, in her own words, getting back to the basics. She wants our government to focus on the Constitution for a change, focus on people for a change, listen to people for a change, and put money back into people’s pockets for a change. She had my attention, and looking around the room she also had the attention of everyone there. There were some nodding in agreement, some saying, “Yes,” and one person even roaming around the room and nodding his approval. The more I listened, the more I realized that I had severely misjudged Beth Anne Rankin. There had been a recent article of praise posted here on Texarkana GOP, but a supporter and writer had submitted that. I had chalked that to the positive attributes of the well-written article to the writer and the supporter. I had been wrong.

As the gathering started to slowly wind down, I had an opportunity to have Beth Anne’s ear for a few moments. We talked and discussed politics and she listened to what I sometimes call my “Vader Moment”. If you have ever seen Star Wars, then you know there is that moment when Darth Vader leaves the dark side and becomes a Jedi again. That moment for me was when I left the Democratic Party and joined the Republican Party. That was my “Vader Moment”. Now I’m going to share a secret that will ruin my “Vader Moment” from here on out. I tell it as a test. It’s all true, but I tell it and watch the person’s eyes. Sorry, Beth Anne, but remember when I took my glasses off? That was the moment I watched to see your reaction and your sincerity when you listened to me. I figure if someone will listen to me tell about my “Vader Moment," then they have an ear to listen to any constitutes concerns. Beth Anne not only listened, but she commented and absorbed what I was saying. Now, believe me, I’ve told the story to many politicians and some of them walk away with a haze over their eyes. It generally indicates that they were not listening and in fact were more concerned about shaking the next potential voter’s hand. This was not the case with Beth Anne Rankin. At the end of our little chat, she commented positively about this website, and expressed how glad she was that I had become a Republican. We talked a moment more before she moved on to talk with others and I blended into the crowd to do that thing that all writers do, observe the scene.

At the end, I thanked the Haaks and spoke with them for a few moments. I think Debbie Haak summed up Beth Anne Rankin best when she said that Beth Ann is from Southwest Arkansas and that she will go to Washington, represent us, and come home. She will do all this while never forgetting the people of Southwest Arkansas and the people of the United States. Mrs. Haak was right, Beth Anne Rankin is something rare in politics these days. Beth Anne Rankin is a committed, concerned, and honest politician ready to fight for all of us in a battle that may well decide the future for not only Arkansas, but for the entire United States.

Beth Anne Rankin for Congress