Déjà vcu? Can Sanders overcome first-term similarities?


Thanks to the late great Yogi Berra: "It's like déjà vu all over again."

While the great New York Yankee catcher was known for his mis-mumblings and context crumbling of famous phrases, he often, to my way of thinking, got it right.

And even an internet search of the déjà vu has me wondering if someone ought to say something to our governor – and quickly.

While déjà vu is instantaneous and fleeting, déjà vécu (already lived) is far more troubling. Unlike déjà vu, déjà vécu involves the sensation that a whole sequence of events has been lived through before. What's more, it lacks both the startling aspect and instantly dismissible quality of déjà vu.

So, I am wondering if some of our governor's latest interactions, post the session of the General Assembly, is over if Arkansans are not experiencing deja vecu or even a milder case of déjà vu?

The deja vecu, as I see it, goes back to another, extremely popular first-term governor, who after a first legislative session, thought he, too, like Gov. Sanders, had the world by the tail. His name was William Jefferson Clinton.

Better known by Bill Clinton, he had just finished his first legislative session and was on top of the world. Buoyed by many of his bills running roughshod over a highly partisan Legislature (back when Democrats ruled the chambers against only a few (in number) pesky Republicans).

Today, Gov. Sanders, elected by a popular landslide (just like Clinton) enjoys a supermajority of Republicans in both the state House and state Senate. She pushed through a 140-page LEARNS education bill, much to the chagrin of many rural school officials, some Republicans and almost all the Democrats. But she and her out-of-state hired guns from other political sources (the state of Florida and Arizona, quickly spring to mind) got it passed.

And now Gov. Sanders is out on the national stump, not here at home, talking up her wonderful LEARNS Act. She did, to her credit, go to Jonesboro recently for a speaking tour on her LEARNS Act. The only thing was the audience was by invitation only, very little talking was done and most of those in attendance were, well, the choir singing her praises.

Both she and Bill Clinton, yes, both of them, acted the same way. After being elected, Clinton after his first term in office, didn't have the time to go to the various Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis Club meetings. He had a national stage ready for his "educational" plan to be discussed. The local people were forgotten.

Also, some other first-term mistakes, like raising car/truck tag fees got the curly headed boy governor in hot water – enough hot water with the state business climate that a former bond salesman, Frank White, unseated Clinton.

Gov. Sanders needs to take a deja vecu lesson from the Clinton era as Arkansas' chief executive. This past week she jetted off to Beverly Hills, California, to speak to the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference.

Now she talked, according to one press story back home here in Arkansas, about the need for more government regulation of social media companies. More government regulation... Now let that sink in a little deeper, Mr. and Mrs. Voter. And while at the microphone, rightly so, she bragged on the LEARNS Act and how in less than 100 days, she changed Arkansas' educational landscape.

If I was a sitting legislator who took all kinds of heat over the last several years about raising teachers' pay – well, I might not be too happy with this soapbox appearance.

Sanders would get more traction out of her words back here at home in Arkansas – but that concept seems all but foreign to her and her out-of-state paid staffers.

Does our friend and former GOP consultant/aide for the first Governor Huckabee have it correct?

She (Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders) does not like or acknowledge the Arkansas media.

Ask all the friends of Bill Clinton how the ouster of that bright and shining star took to being sidelined in his first re-election bid for the Governor's seat.

Can it be deja vecu all over again?

Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are those of the author.