All posts by Steve Brawner

Nixon, Reagan, Trump and DACA

TrumpBy Steve Brawner

Ironically, American presidents sometimes have extra freedom to do the opposite of what they made their name talking about. For that reason, President Trump might – emphasize “might” – be the best thing that could have happened for those DACA kids to gain legal status or even citizenship.

The two most obvious examples of this dynamic are Presidents Nixon and Reagan. Nixon was a fervent anti-communist, but he was the one who opened the doors to a relationship with communist China. Reagan was the Cold Warrior who increased defense spending, called the Soviet Union the “Evil Empire” and told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Then he negotiated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Gorbachev, destroying 2,692 missiles between the two sides.

Nixon and Reagan were able to do these things because no one could doubt their intentions. Nixon could befriend the Chinese because everyone knew he wasn’t soft on communism. Same for Reagan and the Russians. Can you imagine a “make love, not war” president trying to sell the INF Treaty to Congress and the American people?

Continue reading Nixon, Reagan, Trump and DACA

Time for a new ‘ism’ – ‘future generationism’

By Steve Brawner

Are you the type whose beliefs don’t always fit neatly into a conservative or liberal label, but “moderate” sounds too mushy and none of the other “isms” fit?

Or what if one of those labels does fit, but you’re worried about the overall state of American politics, where it’s all about today’s winners and losers? Meanwhile, negative consequences are passed down to our children and grandchildren whenever possible because, hey, they don’t vote.

If any of that describes you, may I suggest calling yourself a “future generationist”? Continue reading Time for a new ‘ism’ – ‘future generationism’

Here’s Arkansas Week for Sept. 15, 2017

Here’s the latest Arkansas Week, the public affairs show that airs on AETN. Hosted by Steve Barnes, this week’s guests were UA journalism professor emeritus Dr. Hoyt Purvis, attorney and columnist Autumn Tolbert, and yours truly. Topics were President Trump and DACA (how could it not be?), the state’s uninsured rate (now below the national average), and Rep. Steve Womack’s potential chairmanship of the House Budget Committee.

How to be fearless on fourth down

By Steve Brawner

After the Arkansas Razorbacks’ field goal kicker – a college kid, let’s please remember – missed two chip shot field goals against TCU Saturday, Coach Bret Bielema said, “We’ll go for it every time, or we have to find a new kicker.”

If the first option is the case, the Hogs wouldn’t be plowing new ground. At Pulaski Academy high school in Little Rock, they’ve been going for it every time on fourth down – regardless of field position – for years, and won six state championships.

Head Coach Kevin Kelley created his unorthodox style after reading books about human nature and mathematics and deciding that the rewards of having four downs to make 10 yards outweighed the risks of not punting. That same analysis led him to try an onside kick on most kickoffs, giving his team a chance to recover the ball, rather than kicking it downfield.

Kelley doesn’t even punt when backed against his own end zone, where failure means giving the other team the ball yards from a touchdown. His analysis of college teams found a punt from that position would give the other team great field position that would likely lead to a touchdown anyway, so you might as well try to keep the ball.

Kelley’s style and success have made him somewhat famous in the sports world. Pulaski Academy is a nationally known program whose game with Louisiana’s Parkway High School was televised on ESPNU Sept. 15.

You’d think other coaches would want to copy him, and they do listen to him. But coaching is a risk-averse profession with limited job security. One coach told him he could be fired if a fourth down attempt in his own territory failed and he lost the game, whereas his job is safe if he loses that same game playing conventionally. Continue reading How to be fearless on fourth down