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OPINION | JOHN BRUMMETT: Arkansas just incidental

by John Brummett | March 16, 2021 at 2:01 a.m.

Sarah the Liberal Slayer will become the next governor of Arkansas almost incidentally and by taking it for granted.

As a confirmed pragmatist, I've been trying to think of ways this mostly tragic fate might do Arkansas some good.

I've come up with one, and it needn't wait for the formality of election of 2022. I'll unveil it in a few paragraphs after I catch up with Sarah Huckabee Sanders' latest tweets and national television appearances.

A trained political operative disciplined in poll-dictated rhetoric whom Ouachita Baptist University political science professor Hal Bass once called a "superb political athlete," Sanders continues to tweet about becoming governor of Arkansas to own horrible national liberals rather than do anything specific for Arkansas.

That's other than that she'd cut state taxes whether the national liberals like it or not.

Alas, I suspect you'll be hearing more about the vague and regrettable phrase the boomerang-shooting Democrats in Congress stuck in the covid relief bill. It seems to say that states may not use their shares of the $350 billion in direct aid to offset state tax cuts.

At worst, it's an infringement on state sovereignty. At the least, it means states need to design their bookkeeping to spend the federal manna in one column and cut taxes in another.

One reason we are infested with Trumpism and made to be sitting ducks for its cynically exploitive state operatives like Sanders is that national Democrats show no better sense than to put a phrase like that in a bill that polls show otherwise to be vastly popular.

Sanders also put on Twitter the other day that she'd fight for our freedoms against border-crossers, by which she meant the Mexican one, which Arkansas does not have.

I mentioned Sanders' taking Arkansas for granted. I'll tell you the kind of thing to which I refer.

She appeared recently on an interview on Fox Business with Trump White House pal Lawrence Kudlow, who got caught in that revolving door from Trump TV to the White House and back again.

Kudlow lavished unhinged faint praise on Sarah, saying she was the best of them all in the White House. He said she'd be the next governor of Arkansas and that it didn't matter if anyone was running against her because she was a cinch to win.

I waited for Sarah to say, "Oh, now, Larry, I have a vigorous opponent and I know I've got to make my case to the great people of my home state. I'm taking nothing for granted."

But she didn't. She just grinned, like the pre-emptive winner she knows herself to be.

Modest if feigned deference to the home state is a quaint 1980s notion. State-specific resentment of one's being too big for one's britches on a national scale was something Bill Clinton had to worry about back in the day when Arkansas people cared about Arkansas.

So, to turn now to that earlier reference to some means by which Arkansas could reap actual benefit from Sanders ... I have a modest proposal.

It came to me as Dr. Anthony Fauci was saying Sunday on "Meet the Press" on NBC that, yes, sure, there is vexing conservative opposition to the covid vaccine and it would be nice if Donald Trump would do a public service announcement calling on his cultists--my word, not Fauci's--to get the shot or shots.

As it happens, Arkansas has one of the nation's lowest vaccination rates and highest Trump-worshipping rates, both indicators of reason gone missing.

Sanders, at least to hear her tell it, and to read her book, is Trump's best friend. She was with him in Buckingham Palace. She was with him across the table from Kim Jong Un. She was there for him repeatedly when she came out to the White House's press briefing room and misstated the truth and gave Jim Acosta what-for. She tweeted Sunday a picture of Trump joining her over the weekend at a presumably out-of-state fundraiser.

So, for no less noble a purpose than restoring full function to our economy and society, Sarah should get her best pal to join her in an Arkansas-specific public service announcement imploring the reticent half of the state to get the vaccine for its own good and everyone else's.

Maybe, for fairness, the other announced Republican gubernatorial candidate could be included. Leslie Rutledge might be persuaded to squeeze into the frame.

Sarah could facilitate saving lives. That would hurt her a little politically, since Trumpism eschews kindness and a few in her base would recoil at her and her best friend going deep-state and socialist to try to tell them what to do for the common good.

But Sarah is so far ahead she could spare a few votes in exchange for a few lives.

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.


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