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OPINION | JOHN BRUMMETT: Arrows in the quiver

by John Brummett | November 24, 2021 at 3:20 a.m.


Let us give thanks a day early for the old column format, dating to the 1980s, of fired arrows.

It provides tersely explained up-or-down takes of an intended pithy nature--Twitter before Twitter--to assess the fleeting fortunes of newsmakers mostly but not entirely from the field of politics.

Remember the rule: These arrows' directions represent the ever-fickle nature of conventional wisdom and sometimes are outdated between composition and publication.

Joe Biden--A president is not doing well when citizens are worried about inflation, a clogged supply chain and the direction of the nation while the big spending bill he pushes and celebrates is not known to the public except for vastness and vagueness.

Also, there already are speculative pieces about whom the Democrats will run in 2024 because he's thought to be too old, or soon to be.

Kamala Harris--Those above-referenced speculative pieces about Biden's Democratic successor tend to pronounce the battle wide open because Harris has fallen somewhere between a non-event and a disaster as vice president and heir apparent.

For my part, I can't get over the ineptitude of her own run for the presidential nomination, in which she hadn't thought through the single-payer system she supposedly favored when Jake Tapper asked her if she would allow for any private insurance. Even Medicare has a private supplement. Even Denmark blends public and private health insurance.

Donald Trump--See first two items. Consider that Republicans can't or won't stop him. Consider that fomenting an insurrection to steal the presidency is apparently no big deal. Consider that the Electoral College might elect him even if 7 million to 10 million more of us voted nationwide for whomever the Democrats run. It would come down to a few people who voted or were denied the vote in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Asa Hutchinson--He does a wider straddle than Bill Clinton. One day he governs the state pragmatically in resistance to the resentment conservatism raging in his state. The next day he's as right-wing as Steve Scalise. If Trump does the nation the great favor of not running again, Republicans might give him a look as Tom Cotton's less-enraged uncle.

Tom Cotton -- See preceding item, primarily two words therein. "Resentment" and "rage." Modern-day conservatives insist on them. Tommy the C is all broken-out with them.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders--For some reason neither the Associated Press nor any of the major television networks has yet called the 2022 Arkansas governor's race for her. I guess they're waiting for votes.

I think I read the other day that she's picked up the endorsement of every neighborhood in Arkansas except mine and two others, one in Fayetteville and the other Eureka Springs. The Arkansas socialists are in retreat. There are two of them, and they keep running into each other trying to find a way out that doesn't enter a state just as bad.

Leslie Rutledge--Bless her heart. Either she will have to live with losing to Jason Rapert or Doyle Webb or with having to be lieutenant governor.

And, now, a special Razorback section:

Sam Pittman--I can't tell what he does. One guy named Briles calls all the plays. Another guy named Odom directs the defense to stand way back and keep a social distance to let all the passes get completed. But Arkansas football is reborn. The team is 7-4, bowl-bound, competitive against Alabama even in Tuscaloosa, and as engaging and inspiring as all get-out.

I worry if Pittman can continue the advancement after Treylon Burks goes pro next year and the offensive essence of throwing the ball way up in the air and counting on Burks to ascend the clouds to catch it is lost.

Treylon Burks--See preceding. I've changed the four faces of the Arkansas Razorback football Rushmore. Before, it was made up of Clyde Scott, Lance Alworth, Darren McFadden and Loyd Phillips. Now Burks has replaced ... I don't know. Phillips, I guess, though he got the Outland Trophy as the nation's best lineman in 1966, and led the defense of a national championship team in 1964 that shut out its last five regular-season opponents. The Outland Trophy is for the nation's best football player. The Heisman Trophy is for offensive players with big statistics.

Eric Musselman--He married well. His wife stood up that time at the Fayetteville School Board meeting to defend and commend addressing race in school. Secondarily, he recruits as well as he weds. He's assembling a recruiting class looking like something John Calipari would come up with.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at jbrummett@arkansasonline.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.


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