FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Asa Hutchinson: the next Bob McDonnell?
Right now there is a lot of buzz around Republican Asa Hutchinson, a favorite for governor in Arkansas in 2014. In fact, I saw a poll that said he’s got an early lead over Democrats Mike Ross and Bill Halter.
As the race in Arkansas unfolds, expect Asa to point repeatedly to his appointment by President Ronald Reagan as a U.S. Attorney as well as his work with the NRA to get resource officers in schools following the Sandy Hook shooting.
In other words, Hutchinson will be getting lots of praise and accolades as a Reagan conservative running for Governor.
Before I buy that line, Hutchinson has some explaining to do.
You see, we have enough big government Republicans in the Senate and in the House. We’ve even got one or two in governor’s mansions. I’m really not interested in propping up anymore so I’d love to find out why Hutchinson seems to be closer to Governor McDonnell than he is to Governor Perry.
Why did he vote for a $2.7 billion in taxes on airlines as a congressman in 1997? I’m sure he’ll say it was just to fix a lapse that had taken place over a budget dispute that year. Alright, then why did he support new airline taxes just three years later?
When there was a measure that would get rid of the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal tax in gas prices rose above $2, why did he vote against it? Was it really more important for the government to keep their money than it was for the citizens to keep theirs?
Why did he disappear on a vote that would’ve saved families $400 billion over 10 years by eliminating the marriage tax back in 2001? Was this not important enough to be involved in?
Even when votes weren’t on the line, Hutchinson seemed to not know whether or not to support something as simple as a cut on grocery taxes when he ran for governor in 2006.
I’ve already experienced candidates that don’t instinctually think conservative on issues like this. Based on what I’ve found on the guy, I’m waiting for Hutchinson to announce that he’s “severely conservative.”
Now I know that out of a long career, it is easy to pick a few things to latch on to and then call someone big government. Well I’m not doing that. I simply want answers. And my need for those answers is not without precedent.
Perhaps in 2006, I would not have batted an eyelash at a record like this. But when we have people that have had stellar conservative credentials and voting records turn around and cave in on things as important as Obamacare … it makes me a bit more cautious. And when I look into someone’s past and the first thing I find is a history of ambivalence or support of higher taxes … that cautiousness creates a healthy dose of skepticism. Color me unconvinced, Asa Hutchinson.