Columns » John Brummett

Arrows up for Beebe, Pryor and Asa

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Arrows up for Beebe, Pryor and Asa Political matters have heated up a bit, and that’s what I like to call an arrow opening. How I'd fire them: UP Mike Beebe — Staff stumbles aside, he finally makes the bold move that has seemed his destiny since the early 1980s. He has many solid attributes. Whether retail political skill is among them remains to be determined. If he can connect in rural Arkansas, in the southern and eastern sections, mainly, he’ll become governor. UP Mark Pryor — I do not want to overstate. He did not save the U.S. Senate. He and three or four others did, by forging that compro-mise by which a nuclear meltdown was averted. DOWN Blanche Lincoln — It’s strange. Pryor’s heroism in the political center and her absence from the 14-senator compromise have made her appear a little left-of-center. I guess it’s because she’s voted in the minority to continue filibusters against the judicial nominees cleared by Pryor’s compromise. Surely this is temporary. Remember that she voted for the Bush administration’s Medicare prescription drug benefit, against trial lawyers on class action and for the credit card industry on toughening bankruptcy repayment obligations. UP Mike Ross — This is the truth: A national Democratic Party official, asked the other day to identify a savvy Southern Democratic leader with worthwhile ideas about how to make the Democrats more competitive in the South, said, “Mike Ross.” DOWN Democrats — See immediately preceding item UPAsa Hutchinson — He will be the Republican nominee for governor. DOWN Win Paul Rockefeller — He won’t. DOWN Mike Huckabee — His timidity on restricting soft drinks and candy for schoolchildren has undercut one of his main selling points — a demonstrated commitment to healthiness. If he intends to run for president as a garden-variety arch-conservative, Rick Santorum and George Allen, and even Bill Frist, can outdo him. UP Hillary Clinton — In politics directly for herself, she blossoms. She becomes sensitive to the savvy concessions her husband often had to make, and proves herself pretty good at them, too. She’s the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008. The prospect of Bill Clinton as first lady gains likelihood daily. UP Bill Clinton — He’d make a good one. Maybe she could put him in charge of health care. A couple of the more intellectual publica-tions, Atlantic Monthly and the New Republic, have published articles recently explaining that he wasn’t a squishy moderate after all, but a consistent and bold thinker with new ideas, particularly on the global economy. And the new book by John Harris of the Washington Post makes him look more good than bad. Any assessment of him must put good and bad on a teeter-totter, then see what happens. UP Howard Dean — Yeah, up. Southern Democrats can serve their interests by running from him. The base can be energized by his in-cendiary rhetoric. It’ll all be OK if he can raise enough money. Hillary’s campaign will transcend the party apparatus, anyway. UP Wes Clark — A Hillary-Wes ticket? It has some appeal. And it would certainly put Arkansas in play. UP Women and children in Northwest Arkansas — Their lives are better now that their husbands and fathers have done the Promise Keepers thing for a couple of days. DOWN The football Hogs — A national magazine says they’re a program in decline.

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