You probably know the drill. We have a long holiday weekend and I face the requisite production of an extra column in order to avail myself and my associates at the Arkansas News Bureau of a day off on Monday. It's for the sake of the associates and their loved ones, mainly, that I do this. If it was just me, I'd work 24-7.
That blatant and comical falsehood aside, these occasions lend themselves to the old standby, meaning a firing of conventional wisdom's arrows, especially with national politics and the state Razorback obsession nudging each other for center stage.
(down) George W. Bush - Clearly his administration flies by the seat of its pants amid the mess it's made of Iraq. Against strong opposition, not even $200 million in television advertising could save him.
(down) John Kerry - He could win, yes, but to be paired at this point against the architect of an absolute international debacle, and to be only tied with him, bodes poorly.
(down) Dick Cheney - What a bore. He'd be dropped from the ticket except that dropping him would amount to an outright admission of the arrogant and unmitigated disaster in Iraq.
(down) Mike Huckabee - What do you get when you take a portly preacher and make him a skinny preacher? You get a guy who wants to browbeat everybody else into losing weight and getting healthy. You get a guy who preaches from the pulpit of salad and fresh fruit. At least I can't say Wide Body anymore, unless I pen my autobiography.
(down) Arkansas Republicans - It's not their financial problems or that they lost two congressional seats in four years or that the governor and lieutenant governor of their party are big-government moderates. I simply refer you to their nominee for the U.S. Senate. Jim Holt is not a credible candidate. Not that Andy Lee would have been.
(up) Blanche Lincoln - See immediately preceding item. She was going to win, anyway. But she can take the rest of the year off.
(up) Vic Snyder - All he needs to say is that he introduced that bill for separate medals for veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that, unlike his Republican opponent, Marvin Parks, he has never taken campaign contributions and spent them on himself.
And now let us turn our bow and arrow toward U.S. District Court in Little Rock:
(down) Nolan Richardson - It's not that he hasn't experienced injustice. Of course he has. It's not that he didn't accomplish great and unappreciated things as the basketball coach at the University of Arkansas. Of course he did. It's that his specific employment difficulty was not skin color, but massive ego and inexcusably defiant and vulgar rhetoric.
(down) Frank Broyles - He has been exposed - to the extent that things already known can be exposed - as a widely distrusted control freak. John White was right a year ago to try to begin the transition.
(up) Houston Nutt - His testimony was solid. He's far better in a courtroom witness box than on the gridiron sideline.
(down) John Walker - Talk about a waste of legal talent. One of the fabled civil rights litigators of our time grills Nutt on the subtleties of his coaching record.
(down) Federal court - Once they talked here of the Constitution and justice. Now they carry episodes of "Drive Time Sports."