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Reward for the timid 


 Asa Hutchinson has resigned, he says, from the Washington lobbying outfit he hooked up with as soon as he left the government payroll. We know that Asa sets his ethical standards comfortably low – that was established when he joined in the Impeachment Plot – so his reason for resigning probably was that somebody told him being identified as a Washington lobbyist was not helpful to a person running for governor, not in these post-Jack Abramoff days. Even at Republican gatherings like the one he attended in Memphis the other day, it could have been embarrassing to be introduced as “Arkansas gubernatorial candidate and Washington lobbyist Asa Hutchinson.”
So it was just plain Asa who told the Tennessee GOPsters that he wanted to “continue the reform of education that began under a great Republican leader, Gov. Mike Huckabee.” (The reform movement in Arkansas really began with court decisions by Democratic judges, but Asa doesn’t obsess over accuracy.) Here was a vaguely progressive-sounding statement until Asa clarified that he won’t continue the reform too far; specifically, that he won’t seek any more consolidation of the numerous small schools in the state. Huckabee has insisted that further consolidation of tiny rural schools is needed, a position that is highly unpopular in some quarters. Asa obviously prefers reform without risk, which usually means no reform at all. We have this awful fear that should he be elected governor, Asa Hutchinson could cause us to miss Mike Huckabee. We do not say this lightly.

Manchurian justice
 From a letter written by new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to James Dobson, head of a right-wing fundamentalist group:
“This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period. … the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force. As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me. I hope that we’ll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future. In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have done.”
It wasn’t the prayers, it was the Republican majority in the Senate. A scary letter, in any case. And we don’t even know what he wrote Falwell and Robertson.

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