by Max Brantley
Over to you early. Final words from me for the moment on a slow day, save for the Chenal shoot-em-up:
* VOTE COUNT HOLIDAY: In case you wondered, that recount in the House District 52 race that Democrat L.J. Bryant lost by 44 votes to Republican John Hutchison didn't continue today because of the Veterans Day holiday. Recounts are scheduled tomorrow in Jackson and Poinsett counties, with the final recount Thursday in Independence County. A recount Friday in Craighead County produced no changes in the original vote total.
* WHAT WILL BECOME OF MITT ROMNEY: A biting blog post by Garry Wills for the New York Review of Books, with some kind words for vanquished presidential candidates such as Barry Goldwater, but few charitable ones for Mitt Romney. A piece of it:
What vestige of a backbone is Romney left with? Things he was once proud of —health-care guarantees, opposition to noxious emissions, support of gay rights and women’s rights, he had the shamelessness to treat as matters of shame all through his years-long crawl to the Republican nomination.
Other defeated candidates compiled stellar records after they lost. Two of them later won the Nobel Prize—Jimmy Carter for international diplomacy, Al Gore for his environmental advocacy. John Kerry is still an important voice for the principles he has always believed in as a Democrat. Michael Dukakis carries on as the college professor he always was, with no need to reject or rediscover any of the policies he championed. Robert Dole joined with McGovern in international nutritional projects.
None of these men engineered a wholesale repudiation of their former principles. Romney, on the contrary, did not let earlier positions grow—enriching, say, his experience of health care legislation to give his approach greater refinement or focus. He just tried to erase the whole matter from his record. He began with a promise to be to the left of Senator Kennedy on gay rights and abortion—and ended up to the right of Strom Thurmond. He decided to hire more expensive lawn care only on the principle of “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals.”
McGovern and Dole were war heroes. They asked what they could do for their country. Romney, who avoided military service as a missionary, said none of his sons of military age could serve because they were serving the nation by helping him, year after year, run for president. Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for your family.
And the money quote:
What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it?
* HEALTH COSTS KEEP RISING: Reuters says premiums are going up on the giant Walmart health insurance program that covers more than 1 million people. The general rise in health costs are the reason, the article says, though Republicans will jump to link it to Obamacare somehow. Rather, Walmart's cost-cutting initiatives might be a template for others.
* CARE TO TALK POLITICS?: A panel discussion is set at 7 p.m. tonight at the UA Agriculture Extension Service building at 2301 South University to talk about the recent election. Participants are UALR political science professors Joe Giammo and Art English; state Rep. Ann Clemmer, who also teaches at UALR, and state Rep. Fred Love, a UALR alumnus. The event is free and open to the public.
* COLEMAN DAIRY NAME TO FADE FROM SCENE: The Coleman Dairy name will disappear from Hiland milk products next year, a company spokesman confirmed today to Channel 7 following an Arkansas Business item. The Little Rock family's name managed to stay on products for 17 years after the company's sale to a bigger dairy producer.
* IS PORNOGRAPHY BAD FOR YOU? Answer: it depends. A University of Arkansas psychology professor explains for the New York Times.
* MORNING ROBBERY IN WLR: Two men robbed the Johnny Carino's restaurant on Cantrell in western Little Rock about 8:45 a.m. this morning, Channel 4 reports.