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OPINION | JOHN BRUMMETT: A contrite Boozman calls

by John Brummett | April 27, 2022 at 3:46 a.m.

Politico reports that U.S. Sen. John Boozman called President Trump and apologized for getting tricked into telling the truth that time.

I don't know whether he promised never again to tell the truth, but, if he did, he hasn't broken that promise in recent television advertising for his pitiably desperate re-election campaign.

You'll recall that somebody surreptitiously holding a phone for video and audio recording asked Boozman ever-so-sweetly whether he thought good conservatives ought to keep fighting the election outcome in 2020 or move on. Answering in near-whispered incomplete thoughts, Boozman said the race was over when the Electoral College said so and that the idea that Mike Pence could have singularly made Trump the winner was crazy.

That's of course so. But a guy running around with Trump's endorsement against three extremist opponents in a Republican primary in a Trump province is not supposed be so gullible and careless as to utter it.

The entire episode was a setup by which the video got splashed on a kook-right website. According to Politico, Boozman's descent into truth irritated Trump and caused a Trump insider who is close to Boozman--and if it wasn't Sarah Sanders I'll be surprised--to tell Boozman his endorsement from Trump was at risk if he didn't call and make it right.

A meek voice: "Mr. President, this is John Boozman, I'm so sorry."

A bellowing voice: "I know you're sorry. But are you going to apologize?"

I'm not saying the conversation started that way. I'm just wishing.

Nothing gets the weird-haired insurrectionist's attention more than finding out that someone he's graced with endorsement--especially in Arkansas, an ever-reliable insurrection outpost--betrayed him with truth.

Whatever was said, Trump has not yet retracted his endorsement. Meantime, Boozman was on television the other night with back-to-back commercials saying over and over that he was endorsed by Trump and proud of it.

Boozman probably rambled his way in that phone conversation through the familiar political two-step: Say he was quoted out of context, then vow to atone for the wrong he denies committing in full context. It would go something like: "I didn't do it, Mr. President. But what can I do to make up for doing it?"

For atonement, he probably signed over his Arkansas Senate seat to Trump, which would seize it from Mitch McConnell, who has always controlled Boozman.

But McConnell is now outed his own self for understanding full well that Trump is a disgrace but not being willing to stand up to him. Being the Senate GOP leader means everything to McConnell--just as occupying a piece of furniture on the Senate floor apparently means everything to Boozman--and is a matter of Trump-favoring math.

In Arkansas and Kentucky, you need the Trump base.

The local Associated Press bureau published a piece on Boozman over the weekend in which Boozman vowed he was all for Trump all the way back into the presidency. He said we'd be better off if Trump were president. He did not specifically say he wished the revolution of Jan. 6, 2021, had been successful. But if Sarah tells him Trump wants him to ...

I had not known that Boozman, in whom I once thought I detected decency and humility, so desperately wanted to remain in the Senate that he'd sacrifice his soul to the mad megalomaniac. Getting beat and going fishing on that congressional retirement would seem to be better than soul-sacrifice to Trump, especially since Boozman is not much senator in the first place.

They say he is very good at constituent service, which is a euphemism for a cipher on policy.

Boozman conceivably could argue that he is important to Arkansas because he is ranking member and probably soon chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, thus a backstop for the interests of the state's farmers. But Blanche Lincoln also was chairman of the Agriculture Committee when Boozman ran against her and beat her by margins wide generally and wider still among Arkansas farmers.

It's deep-state to be an influential committee chairman, don't you know? That's actually the Arkansas farmer two-step: Rail against federal money. Take federal money.

There is a growing abundance of confounding contradiction in Arkansas politics, except for one consistent new truth: Donald is king here; Sarah is duchess of here, and the guy darting around behind Trump carrying the hairspray ... why, that's John Boozman.

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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