The morning after | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The morning after

Posted By on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 7:18 AM

unknown.jpg

The Times-sponsored debate by Democratic candidates for 2nd District Congress last night at Sticky Fingerz looks as good to me the morning after as it did last night.

Big crowd (200-plus). Lots of uncommitted younger voters. One young couple I talked with came undecided but left wearing a candidate's stickers. The candidates had some reservations about the setting in a restaurant/bar, but gamely soldiered on, made a few mild opening jokes about the venue and got down to the night's serious round of questions and answers. There's no doubt the setting attracted people who wouldn't have been attracted by a school auditorium. It's my impression the crowd was livelier and more engaged than those I've seen in other political forums this year. The candidates seemed to feed on that. Or maybe the energy just reflected the fact that election time grows short.

The field is uncommonly strong. They are not cookie cutter candidates on issues, but nobody who wandered in uneducated would have had any trouble guessing their party affiliation. I found myself wishing I could hear more of these sorts of Democratic-value answers in the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate. But the Senate candidates don't face an electorate strongly influenced by votes from urban Pulaski County with its progressive voting record on everything from taxes to abortion to equal protection for gay people.

I'd be reluctant to pick a winner. Brains and passion were in abundant supply. House Speaker Robbie Wills, who most see as at least a likely runoff candidate, brought a bigger contingent  and had practiced responses, and some good one-liners, on a number of issues. (On the war on drugs and overstuffed prisons, he said something to the effect that, "We need to worry less about jailing the people we're mad at and more about jailing the people we're scared of.") He reminded the crowd of some tough stances he's taken -- on immigrant legislation, for example -- but was convincing in his assertion that he was ready to take the fight to the Washington GOP attack machine he expects in the fall.

I thought two hours of exposure to the field on a wide range of issues would have to clarify voter sentiment. In some ways, it made it harder.

SPEAKING OF DEBATES: Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter meet in their final debate, sponsored by the Political Animals Club, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. FRIDAY at the Statehouse Convention Center. It's free and you can carry your lunch.

NOTE: I forgot to include the day in the original post on the Lincoln-Halter debate. It's FRIDAY.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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