When people ask how I could continue to write about Arkansas politics deep into my fourth decade of doing so, I reply by wondering why I would ever desire to do otherwise.
I'll tell you right now: It beats working for a living.
Covering national politics, even Trumpian national politics, would amount to a demotion from chronicling the dramatic rise of Bill Clinton, the outrage of Tommy Robinson, the spectacle of Mike Huckabee and--now--merely the future of the national Republican Party.
By that I mean U.S. Sen. Tommy One-Note Cotton, at least in One-Note's mind, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, at least according to a possibility posed in a headline this week on an article in The New Yorker online.
Meantime, we have Tim Griffin wondering what the heck hit him.
And we have a perfectly fine Republican governor, considering alternatives, but whose nephew, Jeremy Hutchinson, is a former state senator facing federal charges of bribery and lesser things like tax evasion, using campaign money personally, and giving a laptop to the wrong girlfriend.
So much rages that we simply must fire arrows:
U.S. Sen. Tommy One-Note Cotton--Literally, this itching fighter whose one note is militarism wants to shoot first and ask questions later.
Tankers from Norway and Japan carrying petrochemicals got attacked last week in the Gulf of Oman and, while the United States asserts Iran was responsible but hasn't provided a firm intelligence finding to that effect either to Norway or Japan, neither of which is ready to fight, Cotton says we need to retaliate, meaning attack Iran.
On Monday night, Time magazine quoted President Trump as calling the incidents "very minor" and saying he'd go to war when it counted, such as to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
The long and short of that, dear Arkansas, is that you have managed somehow to install in American government a person unfathomably less responsible than Donald Trump.
It bears repeating and keeping in mind: Tommy One-Note wants to start a war over something Donald Trump says is "very minor." Either One-Note is too eager to fight or Donald too chicken, or, by my reckoning, both.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders--She's getting to leave Trump's employ. That's a cause for anyone's celebration.
The long and short of her deal is that she leaves forever stigmatized as an uncommonly dishonest and destructive presidential press spokesman, but she goes home to a state that doesn't think that or care.
She can probably become governor here though she doesn't understand much about the nuts and bolts of the executive job, which is no problem because her dad soared in the office for a decade without knowing much about it.
Dad Huckabee always said he was the pharmacist, not the chemist. That is, somebody else needed to do the detail work, after which he'd dispense the product.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge--Sarah's return will spare her the temptation of running for governor, probably to lose to Griffin.
There's talk she might go instead for the seat Associate Justice Jo Hart might vacate on the Arkansas Supreme Court when her term is up in two years. Rutledge would fit right in with this Supreme Court, being an overtly Republican partisan, huffy, trumpy and under-qualified.
Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin--He had patiently done his apprenticeship during Asa's governorship, waiting his gubernatorial turn, speaking at every baked-chicken event available to him and balancing allegiance to Hutchinson with attention to a need to maneuver a little to Hutchinson's right. But now Sarah comes home with a dadblamed Trump tweet in her pocket.
Jeremy Hutchinson--I said on a digital telecast Monday that his bigger problem is the Little Rock indictment for tax evasion and diversion of campaign money, with wire fraud thrown in, and that, if he might somehow succeed in getting the evidence suppressed on the argument that his girlfriend stole the damning laptop from him, he might have a fighting chance against the bribery charge in Missouri.
But then I read the newly amended federal indictment in Missouri.
Basically, it says corrupt executives of a major Medicaid recipient paid him to block state government attempts to tighten regulations and reduce the amount of Medicaid they could steal, doing so through a retainer for which Jeremy, a lawyer, did little to no actual legal work. That sounds rather problematic, especially since, as his friends say, Jeremy was not known as a diligent keeper of billing records.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson--He has three years left in office. Enjoy them. You, I mean. Not him, though he probably will. You're going to miss him after he's gone and you confront Gov. Sarah Sanders or Gov. Tim Griffin, with your only legal recourse an appeal to Supreme Court Associate Justice Leslie Rutledge.
Let's just hope those are your only problems, and that One-Note doesn't have us in another quagmire in the Mideast during a Trump second term.
Nightmare scenarios--The preceding.
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at email@example.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.
Editorial on 06/20/2019
Print Headline: JOHN BRUMMETT: Well, this is a fine mess ...