A reader request has poured in for a column of conventional wisdom's ever-fickle arrows. The reader contended the time was right. After all, we're within 100 days of the biggest presidential election of our lifetimes.
The reader said the columns with arrows are almost as fun as the ones in which I seek the rural wisdom of Bubba McCoy.
I aim to please, even if the point seems to be that this space is better-served when I offer something other than the usual.
President Trump--"It is what it is," this icily shrugging monstrosity said of the pandemic spike when questioned about the caliber of his leadership.
This was in an interview aired the day before he celebrated the new Great American Outdoors Act by reading written remarks aiming otherwise for poetry that included his unexpected shoutout to Semites.
"Yo, Semite," he said, misreading Yosemite, as in the national park.
He's deservedly way down in the polls, less for not knowing Yosemite than other things, such as utter pandemic mismanagement.
His path back, which is to wrap street violence unfairly around the Democrats' necks and behave better himself, seems one for which he is only half-suited.
Unfairness is in his wheelhouse. Better behavior isn't.
Look for a premature announcement of a covid vaccine about mid-October. Voters will realize that Trump is engaging in brazenly cynical exploitation. They will realize that the vaccine is not quite confirmed and coming whether Trump or Joe Biden is president.
Joe Biden--He isn't Trump. That's about all he has going for him. It may be enough in a campaign season in which actual campaigning is limited by the pandemic.
He needs a strategy of limited bunker emergence. His problem will be talking. He should do as little of it as possible. Danger increases with each succeeding spontaneous sentence.
But now, if in trouble, all he needs is to pronounce "Yosemite" properly.
Biden could say in a debate: "Mr. President, I have but one word for you. Yosemite."
And Trump could reply: "That's two words, Joe."
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris--She remains the betting favorite to become Biden's running mate. She would reinforce the powerful existing polarization, albeit with a steroid injection.
The Democratic base would be newly and highly energized. The Republicans would be newly and highly aghast. The tone would change, but the numbers wouldn't much.
It will be a bigger deal than we sense in the contemplative abstract if and when we confront the reality of a woman of color proposing credibly to stand an aging heartbeat from the presidency.
Her actually conservative-tinged record as a prosecutor in California could help her become palatable to white working-class swing voters.
Susan Rice--She would give Biden a Black female running mate less reinforcing than Harris of the polarization.
She would be more presidentially prepared than Harris due to her high-level Obama administration experience in foreign policy. But she would bore the new-left base and re-ignite Benghazi blather. That'd bring up Hillary, the mention of whom is never good for Democrats.
Rice's lack of direct electoral experience is a risk, especially contrasted with Harris' demonstrated ability to perform.
Rice would be a choice somewhere between bland and timid, to the extent that nominating a Black woman for the vice presidency could be bland.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton--The Trump base wants angry anti-liberal testosterone and brooding resentment of everything new, progressive, and sensitive. Tom's their boy for that. He's Don Jr. with a few more IQ points.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson--Quick, let's get this arrow fired before school starts.
I continue to respect his measured attempt to keep the economy and life going amid the virus and to encourage the responsible health-conscious behavior essential for that to work. But the task is to lead influentially, and he simply is not the inspiring type, but the understated.
Admonishing about responsible regard for each other's health should be much more forceful and galvanizing. Some of these folks need to be lectured and shamed.
That's especially so if we're going to put kids back in close crowded quarters with faculty and staff, then send the kids back home every day to parents and grandparents.
The football Razorbacks--A 10-game conference-only schedule will spare them embarrassing nonconference defeats. No midlevel nonconference foe will lay any 40-plus points on the Hogs this year. At least there's some honor in merely showing up to go 0-10 against all SEC foes, even Missouri.
Bubba McCoy--He called and said he'd vote for Biden unless he picks Harris, whom he dislikes for reasons I suspect and that he would deny.
I said I didn't care. Arkansas' six electoral votes are going pointlessly to Trump. I told him to move to Wisconsin if he wanted to have any say. He said it didn't matter that much to him.
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 protected] Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.