Mid-afternoon updates: A Supreme Court appointment and a vacillating gubernatorial candidate | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mid-afternoon updates: A Supreme Court appointment and a vacillating gubernatorial candidate

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 2:35 PM

As we wait for another bout of winter weather, some more thoughts on a couple of ongoing stories:

click to enlarge DIANE BLAIR: Her papers a trove of Clinton history.
  • DIANE BLAIR: Her papers a trove of Clinton history.
BEHIND A SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENT: I finally got around to reading all the raw documents posted by the Free Beacon to go with its account of what it had found in looking at Diane Blair's papers about Hillary Clinton. Fascinating stuff. A full reading draws, as Hillary herself noted in a document I excerpted this morning, a more complicated person than the one-dimensional caricature of many. This is particularly true in the case of her reaction to the Lewinsky scandal, in which the full recitation of what Hillary told her friend Blair seems to depict a woman wholly disapproving of her husband's actions, but, for  reasons she lists, hoping to hold her family together.

And then there's the failure of President Clinton to appoint Judge Richard Arnold to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whatever her feelings, as reported this morning, about Arnold's former brother-in-law, Walter Hussman, and his newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a full reading of the document seems to indicate that Arnold's cancer was indeed the driving reason for the decision not to choose him. (The memo indicated Hussman had offered to fly Blair and Clinton friends Connie Fails and Leslie Singer to Washington help Arnold's cause.)

But other considerations were part of the process. One tidbit is a note that indicates Judge Arnold had been vetted on Roe v. Wade and passed the litmus test:

The following is a photo of a typed transcript of a May 1994 memo attached to the Free Beacon article. It was written by Blair (these typed transcripts likely were transcribed from Blair's shorthand notes, Jay Barth tells me. Barth collaborated with Blair on books about Arkansas politics.) "Dale" is Sen. Dale Bumpers. "Kay" is presumably the judge's wife, Kay Kelley Arnold. This is only a portion of the memo. An earlier segment quotes  David Pryor as saying an assistant to Mike Huckabee had obtained Richard Arnold's divorce case records in Texarkana. Arnold and Bumpers were close. Bumpers defeated Huckabee in a race for Senate in 1992. It was the possibility that dirt would be thrown at Arnold that provided context for Hillary's anger over the reporting about her husband in the Democrat-Gazette. She seemed to indicate it made all in Arkansas fair game for similar coverage. The "Webster" decision referenced below is a key case that allowed states to regulate abortion beyond what had previously been thought to be limits set by Roe v. Wade.

click to enlarge arnoldroe.png


Justice Stephen Breyer, still serving on the court, got the appointment.

Time's take on the documents is similar to my own: 

... the papers represent a collection of thoughtful reflections and evolving positions on Clinton’s part, rather than a smoking gun of anything damning, or even surprising. But they do offer a colorful look into the thoughts of the former first lady, senator, secretary of state and possible 2016 presidential candidate.

* REPUBLICANS TRY TO HELP ASA: The Republican Governors Association is preparing to spend a bundle on TV to make Mike Ross out to be a liberal. If only. This is to overcome Ross' big money edge over leading GOP candidate Asa Hutchinson.

Speaking of Asa Hutchinson: He STILL WON'T SAY where he stands on the PRIVATE OPTION. But he's doing his best imitation of a shucking, jiving and dodging politician. See The City Wire clip in which he proclaims he's a steadfast and dedicated foe of Obamacare, but, gee, really thinks we can't just leave in the lurch all those thousands of Arkansans who are now beneficiaries of, yes, Obamacare! Watch it. (He wishes Congress would "address" it, presumably mean repeal. Maybe he should call Congressman Tom Cotton and get his top political aide, Republican state Rep. John Burris, to stop pushing for implementation of Obamacare in Arkansas, for starters.) Also please note that Asa is now saying the state will have a big shortfall if it doesn't re-authorize the private option at this point (a problem for the legislature, you understand, not Asa!) Hutchinson once accused gov. Mike Beebe of "fuzzy math" for saying that precise thing. Apparently somebody who can do arithmetic has arrived in the Hutchinson camp.


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