Apart from whether Attorney General Leslie Rutledge actually files next year to face the juggernaut of Donald Trump's right hand, the burning question in Arkansas Republican circles has been whether Rutledge and Sarah Huckabee Sanders will go at each other in the gubernatorial primary.
We now have a mild potential harbinger indicating that Rutledge, believed to be distantly second in the two-woman tangle, will need to do better or settle for sliding over maybe into lieutenant governor.
This Arkansas attorney general who wanted to help Donald Trump steal the election--only to have him endorse Sanders as his greater love--went on "Talk Business and Politics" and said the state needs her, not Sanders, as governor. She explained that, when you must land a plane, you want a pilot, presumably herself, not a flight attendant, presumably Sanders.
When you can't even do insults right, how can you expect to compete in the Trump Era of American politics?
If it's a pilot you want for governor, then one should look to a fighter pilot with decades of experience, and an independent one.
I'm wondering: Is there anyone out there who formerly was a fighter pilot and who recently left the Republican Party to become an independent and form a common-ground organization with thoughts of mounting a third-party independent bid for governor in 2022?
Rutledge may not have intended to endorse Jim Hendren, but surely he appreciates it.
Any plane piloted by either Rutledge or Sanders would be a strong crash prospect. Everyone on board would die if Rutledge and Sanders were flight attendants because they are so contemptuous of liberals that they'd tell passengers to stay free and keep their seat belts unbuckled.
Rutledge's clumsy metaphor was designed to make the point--the correct one--that Sanders doesn't know jack about being governor of anything. But then all Rutledge has done as attorney general of Arkansas is whatever the madman attorney general of Texas has done.
She's been a cut cookie from the conservative cookie-cutter, and she's made us one with her.
Apparently still desperate Monday morning, Rutledge went to the state Capitol steps and announced a couple of bills she's championing.
One would require that schools play the Star-Spangled Banner before all sporting events, apparently because she's heard that boys have been racing against the girls out there in track meets that didn't go "Oh, Say, Can You See" before firing the starter pistol.
Still desperate after that, she announced a second policy initiative to mandate in school a moment of silence after a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. There is already a required moment of silence, but this new one would be pledge-associated .No penalty was prescribed for any student breaking wind during the quiet moment.
These are the problems facing our state, you see. They're rasslin' without the national anthem. They're doing math without taking a moment for quiet.
At this rate, considering that the primary is more than a year away, Rutledge is apt before she decides not to file to propose that all schoolchildren be mandated to pray, and to begin this recited supplication, "Dear Mr. Trump."
It wouldn't matter. Trump would still prefer Sanders.
Speaking of Sanders, and of "Talk Business and Politics," Roby Brock of "Talk Business" says he's asked Sanders eight times now to come on his Sunday program, and that she has declined eight times.
So, give Rutledge credit at least for being willing to face an Arkansas audience, bad metaphor and all.
Sanders has had plenty of time to go on Fox and Fox Business and to appear at CPAC and at rich guys' fundraisers for her in Florida.
She eschews an Arkansas news show because she takes Arkansas for granted; because Arkansas is incidental to her national Trumpian campaign to own the liberals; because she doesn't know diddly about Arkansas issues, and because she could win this race while never getting out of the television studio in her home.
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.