The news of state Rep. Kenny Havard’s tasteless joke on the floor of the House no doubt caused many voters to give a boys-will-be-boys shrug over their morning newspapers.
And that’s the real sadness of Havard’s remarks, even more than the coarse sexism he displayed. What Havard revealed was a stunning lack of maturity — a problem that pervades the political culture at the Capitol. It’s why state government is in such a sorry fix right now. The times more than ever call for grown-ups, and instead, on any given day, the Legislature seems to be run by children.
During consideration of a bill that would raise the age limit of strippers from 18 to 21 — a move aimed at limiting human trafficking — Havard proposed a gag amendment that would require strippers to be “between 21 and 28 years of age” and “no more than 160 pounds.”
Some gag. Female lawmakers rightly took offense, suggesting that Havard was making a creepy comment on the ideal female form. Havard withdrew his amendment and voted for the bill. Havard’s attempt at humor hints at the frat house attitude at the Capitol. Little wonder the state’s in a mess. We need a state House, and we’ve got “Animal House” instead.