Favorite

Campaign reading 

Thanks to growing Internet resources, I've probably read more about the 2008 presidential race than I did in 2004, certainly than in 2000.

The timing couldn't be better, what with a former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, challenging for the lead in the Republican primary and a former Arkansas first lady, Hillary Clinton, leading the Democratic candidates.

The Internet reflects that journalists have begun to take a deeper look at Huckabee's record in Arkansas. The tougher reporting, however, still often comes on the fringes of the press establishment. The major TV networks and newspapers are more inclined to cover the candidate-dictated story lines and the poll-dictated horse races.

Case in point: the latest issue of The Nation, the venerable liberal weekly, produced the deepest reporting I've seen yet on the influence Fayetteville preacher and right-wing talk show host Jay Cole has had over Huckabee. Cole championed Wayne Dumond's release. The Nation notes that Cole helped Huckabee establish a church-based TV show in the 1980s that propelled him into public life. Cole praises Huckabee for sharing his apocalyptic world view.

Our own Ernest Dumas outlined the myth of Mike Huckabee's populism. The biggest black spot is the anti-worker Workers Compensation Commission, overseen by Huckabee appointees who included his chief of staff's husband.

We owe the Christian Brothers University alumni magazine the delicious tidbit that Huckabee's campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, previously worked for a company specializing in job outsourcing and also for a bloodsucking payday lender. This came out the very week Huckabee was decrying outsourcing and otherwise telling people in Michigan he was the working man's champion.

The website Talking Points Memo did strong reporting on how Huckabee was benefiting from automated phone calls — robocalling — even as he decried the practice.

But credit the major media, too. Thanks to Newsweek, we now know that tobacco money — meant to foil Hillary Clinton's universal health care plan — was a major contributor to Action America, the long-secret front that financed Huckabee during his early days in public office. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the influential preacher who prompted Mike Huckabee to set free another murderer. MSNBC raised pay-to-play questions in the close timing of Huckabee's clemency decision for a rich man convicted of multiple DWIs and the drunk's major contributions to the Republican Party.

You might ask why local media missed these stories. A partial answer is that Huckabee's departure from office loosened tongues, particularly those of many former aides, appointees and one-time Republican supporters. They've been rushing to reporters with inside information and seeking outlets with the broadest circulation.

Some simply like other candidates. Many had unpleasant experiences in working with or for Huckabee. He broke promises. He treated them roughly. He put his own well-being ahead of others. Some find his graspiness unattractive. Some are motivated by principle. The young Republican producing the Dumond TV ads against Huckabee seems genuinely horrified that Huckabee's poor judgment led to the rape and murder of a Missouri woman's daughter.

From the perspective of all the leakers, Huckabee isn't likable. Big feet at the New York Times and Washington Post, among others, still seem to prefer to believe their lying eyes. But the Internet “press” never stops rolling.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More on LRSD tax

    When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a Walton Foundation-paid lobbyist, long devoted critics of the Little Rock School District, lead the messaging for a quarter-billion dollars in new tax debt for the district, it is cause for caution.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?
  • A heart in this house

    Since Election Day, I have been at a loss as to how to direct my energy. I am spinning in circles.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: A week of 'thunderbolts'

    • So poignant. Often, leaders come and go, only to fade into the chapters of history…

    • on January 18, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Investigator, you're like an old record that skips and keeps repeating over and over and…

    • on January 18, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Oh Pshaw. I never criticized her "affectionate feelings" for her children - in fact I…

    • on January 18, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation