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OPINION | JOHN BRUMMETT: Where the arrows land

by John Brummett | May 8, 2022 at 1:41 a.m.

With early voting beginning Monday for the party primaries in Arkansas, the time seems right to resurrect the arrows of conventional wisdom to capture a panoramic snapshot of political standing.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman--The new poll from Talk Business and Politics and Hendrix College shows him at 45 percent while two nut-right challengers, a football star and a gun goddess, combine for 35.5 percent. And that's even with him holding the Donald Trump endorsement in his trembling hand and boasting of it a dozen times in incessant 30-second television spots.

Prediction: The full poll suggests that his best shot to avoid a runoff is for his old pal and former campaign manager, Sarah Sanders, to make a commercial for him, which surely will soon happen. She is the trump-card surrogate; she can do what Trump and Tom Cotton haven't been able to do, which is save this milquetoast.

Sarah Sanders--See immediately preceding item. Her chance at 100 percent in her primary is about as good as Boozman's for the life-saving 50.001 in his--without, that is, her rescue.

The first time I ever paid any attention to her was in 2010 when, while managing Boozman's campaign, she showed up in his stead when he cowered from a debate of candidates in the crowded Republican primary field, asserting against reason that he was needed elsewhere. She destroyed the whole field by sneering, scoffing and making Boozman's bumbling ineptitude the fabric of everyman genuineness.

I admired her that night, a different time on another planet.

Donald Trump--People ask why I write so frequently about such a discredited figure. And I say maybe it has to do with the fact that everyone he endorsed in Republican primaries the other night won. And that maybe it has to do with the fact that the man who beat him last time has a 42 percent approval rating. And that maybe it has to do with the fact that, though he lost by 7 million votes in 2020, the system of tyranny of the minority in this country through the Electoral College means he would have remained president anyway if 200,000 people had voted differently or not voted in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The threat of America returning to the White House a man who defiled it with an attack on our democratic system is real and surreal.

Cynical politics--Congressional Republicans, now facing the imminent prospect of the outright revocation of Roe v. Wade, making them the dogs that caught the car, are suddenly reconsidering child-care credits for actually born babies. That's because their consultants say that continuing to oppose credits for actually born babies while increasing the number of actually born babies could give the Democrats something to talk about for the midterms.

Be advised that all policy proposals from Washington from now until November, from both parties, will be consultant-directed tactics, either to provide a chance for one side to cast a helpful vote or force partisans on the other side to confront a difficult vote.

Asa Hutchinson--He can run for the GOP presidential nomination if he wants. Good luck to him among today's Republican voters with all that retro-Reagan pragmatic problem-solving conservatism.

He surely knows that, if he runs, he must fortify himself to lose the Arkansas GOP primary, given his reasonableness. At least he shouldn't finish third the way Elizabeth Warren did in her home-state Massachusetts in the Democratic presidential primary last time.

Tom Cotton--It won't happen that Trump, Cotton and Hutchinson would compete against each other in the Arkansas presidential primary of 2024. But, if it were to happen, Asa would be not second. Cotton would be. Asa would be Elizabeth Warren.

Frank Scott--A busy last week kept him in place, but that is shaky ground. He is now rid of the burden of his police chief. He has strung himself out throughout his mayoralty about getting something called Topgolf, and it came to pass that Little Rock will keep up with Rogers and land such a place.

But the killing wave continued, a tragedy not his fault but a reality that is his political problem.

Steve Landers--He advocated a pay raise for police officers and soon they got 2 percent. He said he'd get rid of the police chief, and now Scott is rid of him. That is to say that Landers has now accomplished more as an announced candidate for mayor than any Little Rock mayor routinely accomplishes in office.

Strategic nonpartisan primary voting--It had a chance--this idea that independents and Democrats would cross over to support the less-offensive GOP legislative candidates--but then I wrote favorably about it.

Sorry, Arkansas.

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

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