As we approach the May 20 primary, I have to wonder what has happened to campaigning? And I don’t mean standing on the back of a flatbed truck and making speeches. Those days are gone. I’m talking old-fashioned, grind it out, take-a-stand-on-something campaigning. A debate of the issues. Attacking your opponent with something more than "he supported Obamacare." The Republicans have to get a new strategy, even though that one has worked pretty well.
All we are seeing is tons of TV spots for both of the big races (governor and senator) and a few scattered spots for the House of Representatives. Of course, the big showdown will be this November when favorites Pryor and Cotton will square off and Ross and Hutchinson will duke it out for the Governor’s Mansion.
Most of the spots you are seeing in the Senate race are paid for by "soft money," meaning it is not from the candidate himself, but from an "interested" outside party, i.e. PAC money or the Koch brothers. They are meant to attack the other candidate and confuse you. The money is given to the parties in a way that it is unregulated and the money people are hidden. Ignore them and study the candidates…if you can get them to say anything.
The governor race spots don’t say much more. Hutchinson has his wife speaking on the latest spot and Ross’ spots don’t say a lot either. Although Asa! just broke a new spot, you guessed it, attacking Obamacare.
We have had more meaningful discussion in Maumelle over the proposed bond issues than the empty rhetoric of all of the big races combined. That’s just a shame. My theory is that the Internet has basically ruined day-to-day, on-the-stump campaigning.
Every candidate is terrified of saying the wrong thing, so they listen to their D.C. consultants and say nothing. When they do say the wrong thing, it ends up all over the Internet in social media, blogs, YouTube, political commentary, etc.
Outside of the bond issue vote, the biggest race in Maumelle will be the Pulaski County Judge’s race as Buddy Villines calls it quits after what seems like 100 years. He’ll be replaced by Barry Hyde, Glen Schwartz or Phil Wyrick. That will be a November race.
Whoever your candidate is or which issues you support is important. Do your homework and vote on May 20.
Why can’t we finish the trail on Maumelle Blvd?
I can’t imagine what is taking so long to finish the walking/biking trail along Maumelle Boulevard. Not even the Arkansas Highway Department makes so little progress as I have seen over the past several months building this trail from nowhere to nowhere.
Trip to Jasper and the beautiful Buffalo
I took a trip to with some buddies to visit the beautiful Buffalo River and, of course, eat in nearby Jasper where we were staying. I will definitely be loading up the grandbuddies and taking them on a float on the river. I had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful our nation’s first national river is.
The other highlights involved eating out. The find of the weekend was a place called Lowgap Café, located about five miles from Jasper on Hwy. 74. The chef is New York-trained and the food is phenomenal. If you look at their ratings on Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor, you will find they get consistently get five stars. If you’re in the area, don’t miss it.
The other nice eatery was the Ozark Café on the square in Jasper. If you’ve not been to Jasper lately, it’s been too long.
I was cruising through a nearby municipality and noticed the blue lights in my rear-view window. Dang it. I was speeding. I did my best to cajole the officer out of a ticket, he and I being of similar age, but he brought me a gift card documenting me doing 40 in a 30. He said it was actually 47 in a 30, but he was going to do me a favor and save me $85.
I felt some relief. Surely the fine won’t be that high. I called the court to get the amount and it was $170! $170?! So without the officer’s "favor," it would have been $255. I checked with Maumelle police and the prices are similar, so be careful out there. I asked one officer where the most tickets are written and he said Odom. You’ve been warned.
See you on the Boulevard. "And slow it down for me," said the officer.
Neal Moore is COE (chief of everything) at Neal Moore Creative, a PR, advertising and marketing consultancy. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years and is native of Fordyce, also home of Bear Bryant. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.