LOL @ Asa Hutchinson for President - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
LOL @ Asa Hutchinson for President
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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson teases 2024 presidential bid, June 1, 2022 (Forbes Breaking News/YouTube)

A little more than a year before Bobby Jindal disappeared from the political scene, Asa Hutchinson was elected governor of Arkansas, the state just north of Jindal’s Louisiana.

Jindal’s final flash of near relevance was a laughable 2016 presidential campaign that sputtered to a close before the year 2016 even began. Jindal had actually ended his campaign in November of 2015.

And Jindal had already cratered his support in Louisiana by running for president rather than finishing the job of governing Louisiana. “Where’s Bobby?” became a parlor game for, at first, the state’s Democrats and then, later, also for exasperated Republicans who couldn’t understand exactly what Jindal had done as governor that would make him viable as a presidential candidate.

Hutchinson’s circumstances weren’t and aren’t exactly the same as Jindal’s, but it’s nevertheless difficult to resist the temptation to see him as Jindal 2, the Hillbilly Boogaloo, in light of his kinda-sorta presidential announcement on Thursday. Hutchinson actually picked Don Lemon’s show on CNN to tease his 2024 run, which sure does confer legitimacy and heft to it, right?:

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) said Thursday on “CNN This Morning” that he is “very seriously” looking at a presidential run for 2024.

Co-host Kaitlan Collins asked, “what does a successful republican candidate in 2024 look like to you, I wonder?

Hutchinson said, “A successful candidate is someone who addresses the problems that faces America. As you mentioned, I was in Iowa yesterday, and people are concerned about the rising cost, the excessive government spending, and they want their lives back, their freedoms back, and that’s the Republican message. This last midterm election was not a rejection of our ideas. It was a rejection of specific candidates that was not focused on the problems of Americans. So that’s the candidates. Those are the ones that can win. I agree with the vice president. There’s going to be a number of alternatives in 2024 to the former president’s announcement.”

Collins asked, “Are you potentially one of those alternatives?”

Hutchinson said, “Absolutely. I’m looking at it, looking at it very seriously. After the midterm elections, it’s more intense, and it is accelerated review. And after going to Iowa, I’m encouraged that a governor who’s actually solved problems, who has a conservative common sense approach can draw support and can be a good alternative. So I’m encouraged by it, probably looking at January for a decision point.”

What a pathetic joke.

Asa Hutchinson has been an utterly nondescript, virtually invisible mediocrity for his entire political career. He lost his first two political races — for the Senate in 1986 and for attorney general in 1990 — before getting elected to Congress to a seat his brother was vacating in 1996. Then he did some time as a federal bureaucrat, heading the George W. Bush Drug Enforcement Administration from 2001–2003 and taking over as the Bush border czar from 2003–2005.

Then he went home and ran for governor in 2006 and got clobbered by 15 points.

Literally no one in the GOP outside of its hated political class wants a reprise of blow-dried, corporate-stooge intellectual mendicants retaking the GOP and bringing back the 30 years of party decline and increasing irrelevance that they visited upon us.

Around then, it emerged that Hutchinson’s singular talent, one which it’s shocking he didn’t stick to developing, was investing. In early 2006, before Mike Beebe eviscerated him in the governor’s race, it was discovered that Hutchinson’s $2,800 investment in Fortress America Acquisition Corporation, whose founding shareholders included former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles, and a private-equity firm that had former CIA Director James Woolsey among its partners, had in quite a short time become worth more than $1 million.

And Hutchinson’s initial financial disclosure form filed upon qualifying for the 2006 governor’s race didn’t include the investment. An oversight, he claimed, as he amended his disclosure form the following day.

But Hutchinson got his current job, the one Sarah Huckabee Sanders is succeeding him in, after Arkansas turned fully red. He won comfortably in 2014 and 2018 despite a record of doing virtually nothing other than rubber-stamping the state’s conservative legislature.

And when he differed with the leges in the Natural State, it was to support the unnatural.

Hutchinson made much of his 2021 signing of Arkansas’ Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which prohibited biological males from invading female competitive sports. But the bill passed with a 75–18 vote in the state House and 28–7 in the state Senate, so his signature was all but irrelevant.

Knowledge Hutchinson could have drawn on when the Arkansas legislature sent him a bill banning transgender surgeries for minors, an even more elementary defense of societal order than the girls’ sports bill. He vetoed the legislation and was repudiated by the Legislature in an override vote.

And while he was dragging his feet in fighting the Left’s cultural aggressions, clearly attempting to please his state’s corporate overlords at Walmart and Tyson Chicken, Hutchinson was busy decrying the “election deniers” of Jan. 6. He was so sincere in that conviction that Hutchinson went up to Pennsylvania this year to campaign for Doug Mastriano.

This is somebody who will say and do anything to make himself relevant and viable for the next political office. He’s constructed nothing, produced nothing. He’s a career politician, and not a particularly insightful or innovative one at that. Hutchinson spent time as a lawmaker without making any laws of note. He spent time as a bureaucrat without improving or even impacting the bureaucracy. He spent time as a governor without governing in any way noteworthy compared to more successful neighbors like Texas’ Greg Abbott or Tennessee’s Bill Lee.

Asa Hutchinson has spent time. That’s all he’s done.

But he thinks it’s time we moved on from Donald Trump.

Hey, maybe he’s right. Trump didn’t have a great 2022 election cycle — I’ve said as much here in The American Spectator.

Of course, as I noted in my last column, it’s a waste of time to even talk about 2024 until the GOP can demonstrate that it isn’t tied up naked in the closet when it comes to competing in this sleazy new electoral space where ballots don’t equal legal votes but are far more important.

Does Asa Hutchinson have any thoughts on that? Of course not.

“The message he delivered last night,” Hutchinson said in reaction to Trump’s presidential announcement on Tuesday, “was the same one that lost the last election cycle and would lose the next.”

Actually, that’s dead wrong.

If you want to beat Donald Trump, your challenge is first to accept that the message that Hutchinson’s CNN friends would call Trumpism — the MAGA/revivalist brand of right-leaning populist politics that is distinct from the old Bush corporate-stooge Stupid Party Republican loserism he’s flogged his entire political career — is the future not just of Republican politics but of American politics. And then to make the case that you can advance that America First standard further than Trump can, rather than take it out back and strangle it the way Old Man Bush did to the Reagan revolution.

Because that gag has whiskers on it, and the base isn’t falling for the “kinder, gentler” BS again. Which is why if the 2024 nominee isn’t Trump it’s going to be somebody credibly MAGA like Ron DeSantis.

But Hutchinson clearly doesn’t accept the new standard. He clearly thinks that Trump having a bad 2022 cycle means the door is open for the Bushie Stupids to waddle back in and proceed to leave their gum wrappers and drool all over the floor.

Literally no Republicans outside of our hated political class want a reprise of blow-dried, corporate-stooge intellectual mendicants retaking the GOP and bringing back the 30 years of party decline and increasing irrelevance that they visited upon us.

Hutchinson and the other mediocrities like Mike Pence and Larry Hogan, and, if we’re extra-special naughty before Christmas, Liz Cheney, somehow think that their opportunity beckons because Trump said stupid things about Glenn Youngkin and Ron DeSantis. Neither Youngkin nor DeSantis even seem to care, and yet the Establishment pogues have seized on it not as a regrettable and unhelpful distraction from the midterm elections — they couldn’t give a hot damn about that, seeing as though the victims of those distractions were mostly Trumpy MAGA candidates who would have been detractors of the party’s desiccated Establishmentarian leadership in Washington — but as a justification for their own petty political ambitions.

The gears in Asa Hutchinson’s head are grinding so loudly that they drown out the “Woo, Pig Sooie!” from the fans at Razorback Stadium: “Hey, I bet I can shake down the Waltons and the Tysons for a ton of swag to run for president now!”

No, Asa, you can’t. Or, even if you can, that’s between you and the Ozark oligarchs you expect to front you. The rest of us couldn’t care less.

I’ve written that we are plagued in the GOP by selfish egomaniac politicians. Trump is guilty of this to an extent, but at least he understands the transaction he made with his voters and has kept faith with it. He’s led the populist conservative movement, not without occasional mistakes, but with a fealty and integrity that the Asa Hutchinsons of the world have never bothered to offer to us. Trump wouldn’t even exist as a political entity but for all their broken promises and quiet/not-so-quiet contempt for their own base.

But, somehow, because the GOP allowed Democrats to degrade our elections into a contest for mail-in ballots and the party was put out of power on Trump’s watch, we’re supposed to bring Asa Hutchinson and Mitch McConnell and their money changers back into the temple?

It’s insulting.

Go ahead and run for president, Asa. See if that grift will trail you in a few corporate rupees. Just know that when it comes to asking for votes, the results will be embarrassing.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and RVIVR.com, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at Amazon.com. He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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