Favorite

Gloom and doom 

Both the substance and tone of speeches at the recent Democratic National Convention inspired me. So why am I so blue? I'm blue because polls and personal experience don't give me hope that the country is ready to change leadership in November. The decisive swing voters, though clearly lacking enthusiasm for either the policies or leadership of George W. Bush, seem insufficiently disaffected to throw him out in the middle of a war. An encounter last week with a swinging acquaintance, (her vote has swung from McGovern to the Bushes over the years), was depressingly instructive. She's a middle-aged computer expert. She's not influenced by abortion politics. She's a committed environmentalist. She thinks the war in Iraq is a disaster. She harbors no resentment about taxes. But given a dozen opportunities in a four-hour conversation, she couldn't - wouldn't - tell me that she would vote for John Kerry. He seems to leave her cold. My fear is that such voters will default to the incumbent or simply stay home. I hope I'm wrong. Meanwhile, I hunt for bright spots. One is the battle for U.S. Senate control. You would expect Democrats such as Sen. Blanche Lincoln to express partisan optimism. But when she ticked off potential Democratic pickups in a recent visit with the Times, I couldn't really fault her analysis. Capture of the Senate, the last line of defense against reactionary judges, would be a partial balm for a Bush victory. Then there's this local angle. Have you noticed how aggressively Gov. Mike Huckabee has been campaigning for Bush? (This, you might say, is another Huckabee flip-flop. He never used to be identified as a strong Bushie.) And have you noticed how often Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller seems to be appearing in public, talking about state issues? Some think these are signs of a campaign for a Huckabee slot in a second Bush administration. Maybe he'd go to the Education Department. Or perhaps he'd become fitness czar. Then Rockefeller would become governor and run as an incumbent in 2006. If a Bush victory cut two years off Huckabee's governorship, it would be a small blessing. He's shown less and less affection for consensus government. Even when he's right, such as on school consolidation, he's ineffective. And when he's wrong, such as when he tries to free killers on the basis of misinformation from preacher pals, he's a threat to public safety. I don't necessarily buy the theory of an administration slot for Huckabee. A $150,000-a-year D.C. job would amount to a pay cut for King Mike, given his Mansion, free planes and cars, servants and his gimmicks for cadging freebies and otherwise living high off taxpayers and rich patrons. If Bush loses, we get the full Huckabee, as scheduled. But Asa Hutchinson would come home, stripped of his job as deputy secretary for homeland insecurity (scared enough yet?). He would run for governor in 2006, of course. That would complicate Rockefeller's plans. All Rockefeller's newfound anti-abortion rhetoric notwithstanding, Hutchinson would thump him in important Benton County. But there's a bright spot should the extremist Hutchinson defeat the more progressive Rockefeller in the Republican primary. The Democratic nominee, Mike Ross or Mike Beebe, would send Hutchinson into political retirement with Bro. Tim.
Favorite

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • The Arkansas swamp

    The Arkansas Capitol is a fetid swamp of corruption and the bipartisan lack of concern tells you plenty.
    • Jun 14, 2018
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The cult of Trump

    • That isn't what I said, and you know that pretty well, Oaf. Just lies and…

    • on June 23, 2018
  • Re: The cult of Trump

    • Rabbi, you probably don't know Steven. He's the head Kool-Aid taster for the Trump cult…

    • on June 22, 2018
  • Re: The cult of Trump

    • Those traits sound like most any politician in DC, mostly the Dims.

    • on June 22, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation