OPINION | TED TALLEY: Will the purchase of a costly lectern stand up?

Gov. Sanders stands behind her lectern

In what has become known in such a short time as Lecterngate, the term most befitting the furniture piece involved versus Podiumgate, another Arkansas governor is in a tight spot because of a possible cover-up. Nothing to see here, they say: Through her press agent, Gov. Sarah Sanders is repeating the mantra that a $19,000 lectern is a valid purchase and the folderol is merely the work of a left-wing conspiracy.

"These desperate radical left keyboard warriors want to manufacture a controversy where one does not exist," communications director Alexa Henning said in a written statement. Note the histrionic, plural exaggeration. This sprung from just one guy with a keyboard.

It causes one to wonder if Gov. Sanders is schooling her press representative in the same falsehood delivery methods she honed so well in her service to Donald Trump. In any event, that "radical left keyboard warrior" term appeared early in her governorship, without the keyboard, when Sanders lectured the nation in her Republican response to President Biden's State of the Union address. She purported that Biden's administration is "completely hijacked by the radical left ... . The dividing line in America is no longer right or left," she said. "The choice is between normal or crazy."

Given a choice between icons of shouting Marjorie Taylor Greene wrapped in white fur in the House and Jan. 6 rioter "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley appearing as a hirsute horned Brunhilde in drag, I know which choices are normal. And they aren't anything our governor was speaking about that night in February.

So expect the "radical left" conspiracy theme to be repeated often in rebuttal from Sanders and her band of Trumpians as Lecterngate evolves. Very soon it will be repeated as often as the former Arkansas First Lady Hilary Clinton used "vast right-wing conspiracy" in defense of her philandering husband. The difference was that the purported or verified sexual dalliances of our wayward son from Hot Springs were not in themselves illegal. What got him in hot water was lying about them under oath.

In the case of the current governor, if all falls into place as truth (or even portions therein), then lying, i.e., tampering with public records, is illegal, a criminal offense in Arkansa, a class D felony at least.

The problem with that in theory or reality is who will you get to prosecute this when the Arkansas attorney general has exhibited past support for all things Sarah? Since a state credit card was used to buy the sketchy lectern from a consultant and former D.C. beltway buddy of the governor -- wait a sec, I thought her old boss Trump had drained that swamp----maybe this becomes an interstate commerce wire fraud transgression opening the door for federal prosecution.

Sanders reiterated last week that the purchase of the expensive lectern "is something that wasn't paid for by taxpayers." That is actually an untruth. Charged to the state credit card in June, it belonged to us, the taxpayers of Arkansas, for about three months before a "refund" check from a state Republican Party made its way to state coffers Sept. 14. Funny how that refund just happened to be three days after the "left wing" warrior exposed the credit card charge in the first place. One wonders if this "accounting error," as the governor described it, would still be in place, leaving us footing the bill literally, if not for the uncovering.

In a state dominated by poultry farming, it appears the governor thinks we'll fall for this like an egg from a tall hen. My take: Where there's smokescreen, there almost always fire. Especially since such discoveries coincided with her calling an expensive special legislative term to cover up embarrassment from her 11-minute state-plane flight from Fayetteville to Rogers. Without journalists and bloggers asking questions and lawfully acquiring state records, we may have never known about the expensive lectern.

On the subject of flights, I've booked a trip to Hawaii, the Big Island. I'll be in the air much longer than 11 minutes and at $198 round trip, probably cheaper than Sanders' hop over Northwest Arkansas cost taxpayers. I will visit the famous Kīlauea volcano, which erupted most recently in mid-September.

Kīlauea, meaning "much spreading" in Hawaiian, is named so for its elongated dome built of successive eruptions. Experiencing just a tad of danger, I expect fumes and hissing from a safe distance rumbling from deep within the volcanic dome.

Back in Arkansas the fuming and rumbling beneath the State Capitol dome will surely spread as more Lecterngate bubbles to the surface. I'm fortunate to leave that hot political mess behind, even temporarily. Aloha 'Oe!