Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his presidential bid last week. This is an odd move. There’s no demand for Hutchinson in the pro-Trump GOP base. He’ll be lucky to net one percent in polls, and he has a reputation for going against his own voters’ interests [Asa Hutchinson’s Low-Key, Long-Shot Route to the White House, by Susan Milligan, U.S. News, March 30, 2023]. Then again, Hutchinson will campaign as the anti-base candidate, meaning anti-Trump candidate. It’s aimed at getting Respectability in Washington D.C.—hence his general uselessness on immigration—and among the tiny number of Republicans who think “civility” is the strategy for victory. Hutchinson is arguably the worst possible candidate who will run. His almost certain humiliation will permanently discredit and perhaps even kill the decrepit, dying GOP brand he represents.
Hutchinson was elected Arkansas governor in 2014 and served two terms. He completed his term in January. Prior to that, he was a congressman and served in the George W. Bush administration. But Hutchinson is most proud of being a U.S. Attorney in the 1980s—because it allowed him to prosecute “white supremacists.”
On VDARE.com’s signature issues, immigration and the National Question, the former Arkansas governor is useless. Of course, he speaks, blandly, about securing the border [Asa Hutchinson to Newsmax: We Need Border Security Bill, by Nick Koutsobinas, Newsmax, February 8, 2023]. But he actually supports mass immigration.
In 2019, he rejected the Trump Administration’s offer to allow states to bar refugee resettlement. “Arkansans have a history of welcoming refugees,” Hutchinson wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “While we fully support control of our borders and oppose illegal immigration, we also value the contribution of immigrants and understand the importance of America continuing to be a welcoming nation for those truly seeking refuge and following the legal path to our land” [Gov. Hutchinson agrees to allow refugees into Arkansas, THV11, December 23, 2019].
In 2021, he welcomed poorly vetted Afghan refugees to his state. “Arkansas understands the American responsibility toward those families, those brave people that supported the United States of America in its mission,” he told reporters. “Arkansas would welcome them as part of the other states that are welcoming those that need a place of refuge” [Arkansas open to refugees from Afghanistan, governor says, by Adam Roberts, KHBS, August 19, 2021].
Whatever Arkansans think about flooding the state with Afghans, importing refugees is a key part of Hutchinson’s 2024 pitch. After all, they “love freedom and love America.” He also believes Treason Lobby refugee policies establish America’s “global leadership” [Why Asa Hutchinson’s view of the world isn’t working for Republicans, by Alexander Ward, Politico, March 30, 2023].
It should be noted that Hutchinson’s son, Asa Hutchinson III, operates a law firm that specializes in immigration law. That might just explain the former governor’s immigration boosterism.
Hutchinson’s son aside, after reading his views on immigrants and immigrants, you don’t need to be psychic to know his thinking on other issues that explains his pride in “tackling hate” and obsession with “white supremacy.”
The highlight of his career as a federal prosecutor, he says, was targeting a crazy Christian Identity group called the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord. Hutchinson delivered the wrath of the mighty power he represented. An FBI–state police siege on their compound ended in a peaceful surrender of the group’s leaders. Hutchinson sent the leaders to jail and the group died afterwards [Asa Hutchinson: A Distinguished Career in Domestic Counterterrorism, by Jacob Ware, Council on Foreign Relations, April 3, 2023].
Hutchinson incessantly cites this case to burnish his anti-hate, pro-”equality” credentials:
Nearly forty years ago, I joined a band of hundreds of good people who linked arms to confront those who believed violence and racial hatred were the answer to their anger. Sometimes I fear we are not moving fast enough toward an America that is truly equal. But we are making progress as long as we listen to each other and care about each other.
[Governor addresses standing against hate, KTLO, April 24, 2022]
Why the existence of a crazed group of weirdos forty years ago means “we are not moving fast enough toward an America that is truly equal” is a mystery, but in contrast even meeting with Official Undesirables is off limits. Thus Hutchinson condemned Donald Trump’s meeting with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West for empowering “racists” [Arkansas GOP governor says Trump’s meeting with Holocaust denier is ‘very troubling’ and ‘empowering’ for extremism, by Devan Cole, CNN, November 28, 2022]. Earlier, after the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, he said he had seen the “evil of white supremacy” and declared America has a “white nationalist problem” [Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks out about ‘evil of white supremacy’ in El Paso shooting, THV11, August 4, 2019].
In other words, “white supremacy” is a particular obsession:
Hutchinson’s response to the death of St. George of Fentanyl and the ensuing nationwide Floyd Hoax Riots was equally cucked:
The death of George Floyd is such a landmark site in America, and it’s troubling to anybody who appreciates law enforcement and their role in public safety. To see the death in such a way that George Floyd is crying out, ”I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” you understand the outrage that the American people feel, the outrage that I feel, the disappointment that we have in law enforcement officers who are sworn to uphold the law, and yet, they cross every line and abuse the system. They don’t honor the system. They don’t honor the rule of law and justice...
[Gov. Hutchinson on George Floyd killing: ‘I understand the outrage, the disappointment, the fear, and the distrust,’ by Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics, June 1, 2020]
When riots broke out in Little Rock, Hutchinson met with local Black Lives Matter leaders. “They’re clearly outraged and frustrated and angered, and that’s understandable and it’s important to hear them out,” he said at the time. “And part of it is what they see as a criminal justice system that disproportionately goes after minorities.” America doesn’t offer enough opportunities to minorities, he said, which is why the rioters were so “frustrated” [Gov. Hutchinson meeting with protest participants to explore solutions, Talk Business & Politics, June 3, 2020]. The grievances of “white nationalists” make them terrorists, but the grievances of BLM rioters deserve a hearing.
Hutchinson also supports eliminating Confederate heritage. In 2020, he said it was time for his state to relocate the Capitol’s Confederate statues [Gov. Hutchinson appears to support removal of Confederate statues from state Capitol, by Max Brantley, Arkansas Times, June 28, 2020]. He signed legislation to remove his state’s two statues from the U.S. Capitol—Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator James P. Clarke, a “white supremacist,” and lawyer Uriah Rose, who supported the Confederacy (and helped found the American Bar Association—maybe that’s reason to remove him). Hutchinson disingenuously claimed the change was made “to update the statues with representatives of our more recent history” [Johnny Cash to replace Confederate statue on Capitol Hill, by Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, April 17, 2019]. Right.
He also backed changing the meaning of a star in the Arkansas flag from honoring Confederates to honoring Indians. “I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. But he couldn’t leave it at that, of course:
I don’t know that we need to recognize Arkansas in a state of rebellion. I think we’d be better off recognizing those nations, from the Indian tribes to others. …
Whenever you see the hurt it brings to a significant part of our population, I don’t think it’s worth it.
I think you ought to strive as a state to remove that hurt and this seems like a reasonable approach to that.
[Arkansas governor backs removing Confederate link to flag, by Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press, March 4, 2019]
Hutchinson also pushed “Criminal Justice Reform,” leftist code for permitting criminals, particularly black criminals, to run amok. He even bragged about releasing the “mentally ill” from state prisons. But visitors to any major city know that way too many deranged, violent people are roaming the streets [Reduce mental illness in criminal justice system with treatment, not incarceration, by Asa Hutchinson, Fox News, August 22, 2018].
Even worse for Hutchinson’s prospects, he’s a detested figure to the GOP base for his squishiness on social issues. In 2021, he infamously vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender surgery for minors. Of course, conservatives were furious [In Post-Trump GOP Split, Gov. Asa Hutchinson Often At Odds With His Party, by Daniel Breen, NPR, May 7, 2021]. In 2015, he helped neuter a religious freedom law in the state so it wouldn't upset the “LGBT” lobby [Arkansas governor signs amended ‘religious freedom’ measure, by Eric Bradner, CNN, April 2, 2015]. And he says he regrets signing an abortion ban that does not allow exceptions for rape and incest, which won’t go over well with hardliners on that issue [Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson laments lack of exceptions for rape, incest in abortion ban, by Julia Shapero, Axios, June 26, 2022].
So the only enemies Hutchinson seems eager to fight are “white supremacists,” whatever he means by that term. On every other issue, he caves.
The good news: Hutchinson has little shot of winning the nomination. He has no constituency. And he further hurt himself when he told Trump to withdraw from the race after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted the former president on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records [Asa Hutchinson announces presidential bid, says Trump should withdraw from race, by Kelly Garrity, Politico, April 2, 2023]. That won’t sit well with the vast majority of GOP voters who (rightly) see the criminal charges as politically motivated.
Hutchinson’s lack of charisma and a strong reason to run further compound his problems. Born in 1950, he would be 74 in 2024, and unlikely to serve two terms if elected. in He doesn’t have an issue that sets him apart from the field besides his blandness and unwillingness to fight for conservative causes.
Hutchinson represents the worst of the old, Ruling Class establishment. He’s a boring politician who bends over backward not to offend leftists even as he betrays his own people. He reveres Black Lives Matter more than his own ancestors. He freed criminals and wants refugees to overrun his own state and people. He is terrible for the Republican Party and terrible for America.
Watching him lose in embarrassing fashion, and take his wing of the party down with him, will be a gift for all immigration patriots and America patriots.
Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.