The Insider stumbled on a closed-door meeting at the Little Rock Hilton last week and did a double take at the mixed political backgrounds of those present — from Gov. Mike Huckabee’s main man Rex Nelson to Huckabee’s former political opponent, Nate Coulter, with people like former Hog David Bazzel and Republican operator/talk show host Bill Vickery in between. It wasn’t a coup in the making. What it was was football.
It was the organizational meeting of the Little Rock Touchdown Club, a gridiron version of the monthly Political Animals Club, where junkies get together monthly to talk about politics. The LRTD Club, modeled after clubs in other Southern cities, will meet weekly during football season to rehash and fearlessly forecast.
The first meeting is Sept. 7 (a Tuesday, subsequent meetings will be on Mondays) at 11:45 a.m. and will end promptly at 1 p.m. Lingering controversies will presumably be settled in the parking lot. There’s going to be a small membership fee, about $10, for those who want to be on a mailing list. Lunch will cost $15 to cover the room at the new Hilton. Anyone who shows up and pays for lunch can sit in. Bazzel said it will be just like a radio sports shows except you’ll never have to hear anyone add, “I’ll hang up now and listen.” Former Hog Bruce James’ pithy observations on the state of Hog ball are sure to be worth the price of admission. There will be occasional guest speakers.
Speaking of Bruce James: See Page 30 for our new weekly football feature, a quick Bruce James preview of the week’s Razorback game.
OK, you can figure why Wal-Mart, Entergy Arkansas and Stephens Inc. would throw a party at a nightclub for their homeys, the Arkansas Republican delegation to the national convention in New York. But Motorola?
Simple, payola fans. Motorola, which fed the Arkie GOP delegation breakfast at the trendy W Hotel, has reaped millions installing a statewide police radio system. It also will be guiding the $45 million work on upgrading that system and expanding it to connect with local police agencies. A big chunk of money consists of federal homeland security dollars. Gov. Mike Huckabee funneled all the state’s share of the dough to the radio project, despite complaints from big-city mayors that they had security needs, too.
Yes, Democrats got freebies at their Boston convention. Wal-Mart, Union Pacific and Burlington Santa Fe railroads and the Arkansas Petroleum Council sponsored one event.
Breakfast was courtesy of Beverly Enterprises (the nursing home people), the AFL-CIO and Winning Connections, a political communications company.
It’s fairly unusual for a politician seeking re-election to involve himself in another candidate’s race, and even more unusual for a U.S. congressman to be active in a state representative’s race. But that’s what Vic Snyder is doing. The campaign of Steve Harrelson of Texarkana, a candidate for state representative, sent out notices this week to known Snyder supporters in Little Rock, inviting them to a fund-raiser for Harrelson in Little Rock (also unusual for a Texarkanan) at Doe’s Eat Place from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 2. The invitation says that Snyder will be a “special guest” at the event. Snyder told the Times that Harrelson, a lawyer, was an old friend and was his campaign manager in 2000. Snyder and Harrelson are both Democrats, of course. Harrelson is opposed by Greg Jones, a Republican school superintendent.
Little Rock will next week host a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems led by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change.
Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
The Arkansas Dems can lead by doing the opposite of what the national Dems did when they reelected the same leadership in charge since the equally embarrassing losses as seen in Arkansas. Electing 75-plus-year-olds is no way to embrace the youth.