Ask Asa: The Republican candidate on Twitter | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ask Asa: The Republican candidate on Twitter

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM

TWEET TWEET: Asa Hutchinson takes questions.
  • TWEET TWEET: Asa Hutchinson takes questions.
Asa Hutchinson, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, took questions on Twitter tonight. They were mostly softballs. Will you please stop this turrible Obamacare? You know I will.

You can see some of the exchanges here at the hashtag directory for the event.  And all his answers on his page.

There were a few pointed questions, but it became clear that Twitter is the perfect format for taking tough questions.

 ENDA would make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. Would you support such a law? 

Hutchinson responded:

A: There should not be discrimination in the workplace. 

Sounds good, but it is a disingenuous answer. If you don't support ENDA, you don't support legal protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation. Asa Hutchinson opposed  ENDA and thus opposes equal treatment under the law for gay people. That's the record.

Similarly, in questions about women's rights, he said he supported equal opportunity in the workplace. But he doesn't support the ERA and you can bet he doesn't support improvements to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Or, if he does, he's never mentioned it. Most Republicans don't and fought its initial passage. Likewise, he says he supports the Violence Against Women Act, but does he support the unacceptable one passed by House Republicans or the better bill passed by Senate Democrats? Big difference.

It's  a poor forum for such complicated issues. Another:

Hutchinson said he is "pro-life" and would have signed the bill banning ALL abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Mike Ross said he, like Gov. Beebe, would have vetoed it.

Sounds good, particularly since a majority of American people, not fully understanding the intricacies of this issue, apparently favor such laws.

I wanted to ask: Do you, Mr. Hutchinson, believe you should sign laws that under clear court precedent are unconstitutional? Do you really favor making ALL abortions after 20 weeks illegal in Arkansas, regardless of health of the mother or fetus? Have you read the story of the Little Rock Air Force base officer and the gut-wrenching decision he and his wife had to make for a late-term abortion because of a grave fetal abnormality? Do you really believe, Mr. Hutchinson, that women should be required by the state to carry dead fetuses to term? Apparently he does.

Hutchinson fell back on the "teachers should teach" line about more guns in public schools — about the only time he verged even slightly toward a moderate answer. Several schools in Arkansas are fighting to allow even kindergarten teachers to pack concealed weapons into class. He fell back on that answer, too, when he was asked about his nephew, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, and his admission that he shot a teacher (actually a copy playing the role of a teacher) with a rubber bullet during a practice exercise on a shooter in a school. No matter.  See the NRA guidance, said Hutchinson, a hired shill for the NRA.

The short answer format lends itself to bromides and talking points. It wasn't hardball, much as Asa's sycophants wanted to depict it as such. I suspect Mike Ross could handle it equally adroitly. But I bet his inbox would be salted with far more oppo questions than Democrats threw out tonight, most of them beginning with Obama.

Lots of pie in the sky from Hutchinson, I should add. Hutchinson promised to cut the income tax without raising other taxes and without cutting services. After that, he'll saw a woman in half and pull three rabbits out of her dismembered torso.

Oh and, yes, he wants more money for teacher health insurance. But he said that problem should be fixed now — before he takes office — by the current governor. Again: very easy for him  to say this with nobody handy to ask the obvious followup: How, would-be Mr. Governor?

ONE OTHER THING ABOUT TWITTER SESSIONS: They are mostly discussions among the committed.  Only about 1,700 people follow Hutchinson on Twitter, a goodly number of them people like me looking for something to criticize to the Arkansas Blog's 8,600 followers.

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