by Max Brantley
Roby Brock has film with Brummett talking about Hillary Clinton's gathering momentum.
Which reminds me. I was surprised to hear that old Arkansas hand, AP's Ron Fournier, quoted as parroting the popular Beltway media conventional wisdom that Hillary's high negatives make her a long-shot to carry Arkansas. That's not what the polls or common sense say.
Gov. Mike Beebe and Sen. Mark Pryor are two of the most cautious politicians I know. If they are endorsing Hillary -- Pryor on the eve of an election -- I trust their judgment that they are putting little at risk personally by doing so. (Beebe, in fact, owes Barack Obama a favor for appearing at a successful campaign rally.)
The state is solidly Democratic -- as 2006 election results proved. Hillary Clinton retains a large network of former supporters of her husband and, yes, many friends from her time here. A huge crowd at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner demonstrated this. The Republican Party lacks any commanding leadership figure here. Nobody wants to be associated with the president. Mike Huckabee left the state on something of a sour note (smashed hard drives, house warming gifts, uncertainty about his OBU gig) and without much of an obvious personal organization, judging by his relatively small fund-raising in Arkansas and an absence of anything approaching the teams of Arkansans that went on the road with Bill Clinton in 1992. Recent polling shows Hillary with double-digit leads over leading Republican contenders in Arkansas.
In short, Hillary should be positioned so well in the rest of the South as she is in Arkansas.
UPDATE: The Republican Party's difficulties here are illustrated in Party chair Dennis "if we could just have another 9/11" Milligan's news release. Best he can come up with is that Hillary's a liberal. Oh, and she's somehow to blame for procedures on records release imposed by the U.S. government archivists at the Clinton Library.