Tomorrow’s online-only column at arkansasonline.com/brummett will be about speaking to — and being spoken to by — the Pulaski County Democratic Women’s Club last evening.
A few things that didn’t quite fit into that essay are nonetheless significant and bear mentioning here:
1. I sense a bit of tension within the partisan Democratic base over the state Democratic strategy to oblige overwhelming poll numbers and distance Arkansas Democrats from President Obama.
There were several African-American women in attendance, but they were not alone is making this point: We’ve now run two Arkansas elections trying to pretend our party’s president doesn’t exist. How’s that working for us?
2. A growing two-party culture forces both parties to run to their philosophical bases in primaries, which become smaller party-only affairs.
Thus I heard this from the audience: Do you think Bill Halter might run for governor as a real Democrat who supports the president?
I think he is just opportunistic enough to do that very thing. And I am quite sure it makes nervous the attorney general, Dustin McDaniel, who already has raised more than a million dollars for a gubernatorial bid that will be (1) a general election challenge considering the prevailing climate, and (2) a greater challenge still if he gets gauntleted with a money-sapping, energy-sapping and general election-hampering primary forcing him to leftward places he doesn’t want to be in the general election.
We have some experience with an opportunistic Halter challenge in a Democratic primary. But I think Blanche Lincoln was going to get creamed either way.
3. While on the subject, I found myself at one point saying these words, “I don’t ever know quite what to do about Mark Pryor,” when, suddenly, a woman down front said, “Primary him.”
The use of “primary” as a verb for a punitive or behavior-modifying political purpose — that interested me.
And the idea that Mark could get challenged from the left in the primary of 2014 — well, that interested me, too.
4. These Democratic women — some of them, anyway — were excited by how well Herb Rule did against Tim Griffin, especially in Pulaski County, which Rule carried, and they wondered if (a) Griffin might be vulnerable to a stronger Democratic challenger without Obama directly on the ballot, and (b) whether a Democrat has a decent should the seat open up if Griffin goes against Pryor, a possibility.
I thought not. The district is too-far-gone outside Pulaski County, unless you had an uncommonly strong Democrat who could mobilize the Pulaski base and stem hemorrhaging in Saline and Faulkner. Vic Snyder retired.
Finally, I should say that there was some jesting speculation that Herb Rule’s campaign signs, saying simply “Herb Rule,” were interpreted as signs in support of medicinal marijuana