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Scott Easterly 
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Re: “Pryor leads Cotton in Talk Business poll; Democratic Party chairman calls Cotton "most overrated Senate candidate in country"

The late former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill famously coined the phrase "All politics is local," meaning that a politician's success is directly tied to his or her ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents and is not necessarily tied to concerns about a president of the same party. That most people who vote, or debate issues, are focused on resolving their local issues. Now that may not be as applicable in the age of hyperpartisanship we find ourselves in today, but the principle does still hold some weight. Exhibit A: The race between U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and challenger Republican congressman Tom Cotton. In another era, conservaDem Pryor - son of former U.S. Senator David Pryor and friend of the Clintons - would qualify as a moderate Republican (and still would, if any moderates were left in the GOP).

To be sure, just being a Democrat in a state where President Obama is very unpopular has certainly hurt Pryor's re-election chances (As recently as two weeks ago, Nate Silver even predicted a 75% chance that Pryor would lose his re-election bid). But there are many things not considered here. First, after the Arkansas Republican erroneously assumed that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee in 2008, Pryor ran without Republican opposition. Second, much to the chagrin of the GOP faithful in Arkansas, the Clintons are still immensely popular there ....and it is important to note that if Hillary WERE the nominee back then - and though the state was already trending red in 2008 - Arkansas would have likely landed on the blue side of purple. Third, given the fact of my second point and the likelihood that Hillary will likely be the next Democratic nominee, having Pryor in the Senate as a possible ally with a possible Hillary Clinton White House may likely sway those moderates who may otherwise break Republican in the age of Obama. And finally (and this is the most important point), Cotton may be too far into the wackadoodle right to win a statewide election in Arkansas.

Now some of my friends on both the right and left may say "Well, Scott, have you forgotten what happened with Blanche Lincoln in 2010?" {sigh!!} Well, no, my friends, I haven't. How could I? I supported Bill Halter in the Democratic primary and I wound up voting for Lincoln's Green Party opponent that year (just as I had voted for Pryor's Green opponent two years earlier). But 2010 was the year of the Tea Party wave. John Boozman, Lincoln's Republican opponent in 2010 and eventual winner of that race, seemed innocuous enough at the time and Lincoln was clearly going to be a casulty that year. Cotton, who is noticably more vocal and angry, not so much (He may be able to win in Arkansas' 4th District, but for a staewide election? That remains to be seen.).

Having said all that: If I were still living in the great state of Arkansas, I would hold my nose and vote for Pryor, because the thought of a loose cannon like Cotton represnting Arkansas in the U.S. Senate scares the hell out of me. I suspect many of my fellow Democrats and moderates in Arkansas feel much the same way. I would write Pryor off just yet. It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings, and she ain't sung yet.... All politics is local, indeed....

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Scott Easterly on 04/09/2014 at 4:10 AM

Re: “Arkansas cleared for health insurance exchange; RAND study touts benefits of health law in Arkansas

This is only happening due to Gov. Beebe surviving the Tea Party wave of 2010. Otherwise, we'd be letting the federal government set up and implement the exchanges like every other red state (the irony is beyond words)...

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Scott Easterly on 01/04/2013 at 10:29 AM


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