Let’s do arrows, since events command, but with a reminder.
These arrows reflect not the shooter’s personal preference, but his assessment of conventional wisdom, which is fleeting to the occasional point of self-spoofery.
Here we go, then, hoping conventional wisdom holds until Sunday publication. I’d have given Razorback football an arrow down, way down, except … what if the weary Hogs reared up and beat Auburn yesterday?
⬇ President Trump—He did it. He absolutely did it. He abused the power of his office to try to get a foreign government awaiting release of congressionally approved military aid to investigate a matter to embarrass a Democratic opponent. He dispatched his own very-goofy lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to conduct unsanctioned foreign intervention on his personal political behalf. He betrayed an American ally in the fight against ISIS, and damaged the country’s credibility and moral standing in the world. He will survive impeachment because Senate Republicans can’t find their souls anywhere. But his only hope of getting re-elected is the field of Democratic presidential candidates.
⬇ Democratic presidential candidates—See immediately preceding item.
⬇ Joe Biden—He can’t get through a debate, even one in which circumstances essentially give him a hall pass for the night, without saying something weird or not altogether clear or coherent. He did kind of mansplain to, and pat the head of, Elizabeth Warren, didn’t he? Otherwise, he uttered only one sentence that faded to nowhere and mispronounced only “exponentially,” putting what sounded like a “d” in it.
⬇ Elizabeth Warren—Her obsessive message discipline, which is as unyielding as anything I’ve seen since Bill Clinton said “change” over and over again in 1992, would serve her well in debates against the blabbering Trump. That might offset in part the fact that she would be running for president on the promise to kill a vast American industry—the health-insurance sector—rather than reform its principles and let it live or die by its ability to adapt.
⬆ Bernie Sanders’ stent—This was the winner of Tuesday night’s debate. The runner-up was John McCain, the late, who was nearly the only Republican any of the Democratic candidates could think of when CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked them—in an utterly wasted question that could have been devoted to climate change or immigration—to name a friend whose identity would surprise everyone. He meant surprised in the way people were surprised—and some outraged—that Ellen DeGeneres would yuk it up next to George W. Bush in a luxury box at a Cowboys’ football game.
And, now, closer to home:
⬇ Gov. Asa Hutchinson—His Medicaid work requirement is more than ill-fated. It’s a national embarrassment—expensive administratively under the guise of saving money by throwing poor people off health insurance, unworkable and, as a federal appeals court seemed to make clear at oral arguments last week, every bit as bogus under the law as a federal district judge in Washington had already said. Meantime, Hutchinson’s state Board of Education, which he micro-mismanages, made a perfect mess both as policy and as politics of the Little Rock school issue.
⬆ Little Rock public schools—Its patrons are fired up. The state has given the locals a little opening to run their own schools, though it might be rope. The city government, at long last, has stepped up on what is merely the major impediment to the city’s health.
⬆ Mayor Frank Scott—He always talks a good game. On the schools, he delivered a plan, and, it seems clear, influenced state action redounding to the city’s tenuous advantage. It was like, you know, leadership.
⬆ Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin—You’re “up,” I suppose, if you manage to finesse campaign finance laws to get yourself featured by some odd third-party benefactor in what essentially is a commercial for your gubernatorial campaign in 2022 on the SEC network during a Razorback game.
⬆ Sarah Huckabee Sanders—Griffin felt he needed the TV exposure now because of her—specifically because of the threat her conceivable entry in the 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary poses to his obsessive, best-laid plans to coast to that nomination and make us appreciate Asa Hutchinson in ways we never dreamed. This month, Sarah essentially dictates a sweet profile on herself to Arkansas Money and Politics, complete with photographs of her palling around with Trump in the White House as if his second daughter—oh, wait, third. The news in the profile is that the Sanders’ household has a golden retriever puppy and the name is Traveler.
⬆ House Speaker Matthew Shepherd—Speaking of leadership, he called for the ouster of income-tax non-payer Mickey Gates on the simple basis that the House could control its own membership, and prevailed merely by 88-4, perhaps with the assistance of Gates’ own disastrous speech on the House floor.
⬆ Bubba McCoy—He called last week and said he’d figured out how to work his iPad and was now able to read my columns. “I mean, I’m now able. I’m just back to choosing not to.”
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame. Email him at email@example.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.