The news cycle this week has brought us 48 hours of additional evidence that Donald Trump behaves like a deranged sociopath, is unqualified for office and shockingly uninformed about the world, and is running his campaign with the managerial skill of a child at the peak of a temper tantrum. It has not been good.
But Trump supplicant Mike Huckabee is undeterred. The Huckster favors the argument that Donald Trump, despite more than a year of extremely consistent behavior in the public eye, will immediately transform into an entirely different human being if he gets into the White House. Numerous efforts by every prominent Republican under the sun to get him to change his ways have been doomed, over and over and over and over again. But Huckabee's pitch is that Americans should relax, elect a furiously obstinate authoritarian madman, and then trust that everything will be copacetic at a later date. Here he is on Fox News today:
One of the things we have to keep in mind, it’s not so much what Donald Trump says when he’s a candidate, it’s what he’s going to do if he’s president. One thing that’s going to happen, he’s going to be surrounded by a whole lot more people than he is as a candidate.
I think he probably won’t have his own Twitter account when he’s president. There’s going to be a lot of things different.
“Yes, there are things Donald Trump says I wouldn’t say and I wouldn’t advise him to say,” Huckabee added, but at least Trump wouldn't bow before foreign kings. So, there's that.
I'm no campaign strategist, but the Huckster's approach here, which has been echoed by Sen. Tom Cotton and others, seems like a very iffy political strategy to me. They're acknowledging that Trump says and does things that would be horrible for a president of the United States to say or do. They acknowledge, at least implicitly, that many Americans are horrified by his behavior. They confess, some of the time, that they have no choice but to condemn the stuff that Trump says and does. But their kicker is this: Vote for Trump because he won't be like Trump. "There’s going to be a lot of things different."
A better campaign strategy, I would think, would be for Trump to go ahead and start acting presidential now. Otherwise, the American people might rightly conclude that the person running for president is the person we can see and hear, day after day, not the hypothetical person in Huck's imagination.
Appearing with Clinton School for Public Service Dean Skip Rutherford, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton spoke today at a Clinton School event focused on Cotton's assessment of Donald Trump's First 100 days in office. While there were some moments of applause and isolated jeering, the event was much less raucous than the town hall meetings Cotton has been attending of late, though Rutherford's questions pulled no punches in questioning Trump's temperament and agenda. /more/
Must read: Ernest Dumas explains why coal is dead, no matter how much Donald Trump, Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas congressmen and the State Chamber of Commerce and others talk about overturning clean power rules. The future is gas, wind and solar. /more/
As is typical, President Trump has tweeted about any number of subjects in recent days. They ranged from advising former NSA head Michael Flynn that he should seek immunity for testimony related to the Trump/Russia case to personal insults directed toward "Meet the Press" host Chuck "Sleepy Eyes" Todd. /more/
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, who's scheduled a town hall next week in Bentonville, says he expects some frustration from constituents because of the tactics so far in Republican efforts to ditch the Affordable Care Act and come up with something different. /more/
Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Ted Thomas is getting attention for calling out Trump administration climate policy. He even acknowledges the role of carbon burning and humans in climate change. /more/
Friday looms as the deadline for Congress to pass a spending bill; if they fail to do so by midnight, the government will shut down. D.C. observers seem to think that the most likely scenario is a stopgap bill to fund the government for another week or so while lawmakers try to work out a deal. We'll see.
Making Change at Walmart, an effort by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to advocate for the retailer to pay employees a living wage, is kicking off a campaign this month, with Arkansas among the target states.
Ernest Dumas reaches into history, some personal, for moments in Arkansas's view of refugees. It was brought to mind by the current crisis in Europe and the political divisions over whether the U.S. should respond to the needs of the displaced.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group behind the first medical marijuana initiative to qualify for the ballot, has responded sharply to yesterday's statement by the Arkansas Health Department that it opposes legal medical use of marijuana.
An urban planner in Dallas says freeways are not always the answer. Incorporating some creativity already being used in Dallas and looking at the Interstate 30 project from a broader perspective, here are ideas that Arkansas highway planners have not considered. But should.
Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.
Lee Short, the lawyer for Ledell Lee, the man Arkansas put to death just before midnight last night, posted on Facebook the following letter of thanks for personal support and a bit about Lee's last hours, distributing his possessions and talking to family.
Photos taken Thursday night by Brian Chilson and David Koon, at Cummins Prison in Grady, the State Police barricade away from the prison and in front of the Governor's Mansion, before and after the execution of Ledell Lee.