Vote

Whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, the main message you should take from the Supreme Court leak is that, if you truly do care as much about the issues as you claim to care about them when you’re posting online, you need to vote because elections actually do matter. And the parties, if they truly want to have enough votes to pass laws and make policy, need to actually nominate candidates who can win.

Asa Hutchinson For President?

I was as shocked as anyone to hear that Asa Hutchinson was thinking about running for President.

Who is Asa Hutchinson?  He is one of the most forgettable Republicans out there.  The only thing that shocked me more than learning that he was thinking about running for president was learning that he was still governor of Arkansas.  I was under the assumption that he had served as governor during the previous decade and had long since gone into retirement.  That’s how little of a national impression that Asa Hutchinson has made.

Asa Hutchinson has been around for a while.  He’s served in a number of distinguished positions, even if he’s never made much of an impression.  His older brother, Tim, served a term in the Senate, from 1997 to 2003.  (After a messy divorce, Tim was defeated for reelection by Mark Pryor, who was himself later defeated by Tom Cotton.)  When Tim moved up to the Senate, Asa inherited his seat in the U.S.  House.  In 2001, Asa left the House to serve as the head of the DEA under George W. Bush.  Asa first ran for governor of Arkansas in 2006 and lost to Mike Beebe.  He ran a second time in 2014 and was elected as a part of the Republican wave.  He was reelected, by a record-setting landslide, in 2018.  If Asa runs for President, he’ll point out that he was reelected despite the Democratic wave but Arkansas has been trending so red that I think any Republican would have won the 2018 election.  It’s going to be a long time before even a moderate Democrat like Mike Beebe or Mark Pryor can again run a competitive campaign in Arkansas.

And now, Asa has announced that he’s exploring running for President as an explicitly anti-Trump candidate in 2024 and potentially competing with Tom Cotton for the right to be Arkansas’s favorite son.  In 2024, Asa will be 74 and, as a result of term limits, he will also be out of office.  Most people don’t have the slightest idea who Asa Hutchinson is but I think every Arkansas governor thinks that he can be the next Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee.  (Even Mike Beebe considered running in 2016.)

I’ve read that every politician — whether they be a Congressperson, a governor, or just a city council member — wakes up every day and sees a future President when they look in the mirror.  That’s probably true.  If Jim Gilmore and George Pataki can both run for President, why not Asa Hutchinson?  At least, that’s probably what the governor is thinking.

Myself, I wish Asa luck but I doubt he’ll make it to the first caucus.  If he runs, he will not only be largely unknown but he’ll also be competing with all of the other anti-Trump candidates, people like Larry Hogan, Will Hurd, and probably Adam Kinzinger as well.  And even if Hutchinson does somehow break out of the pack, the explicitly anti-Trump primary electorate is so such a small part of the body that he’ll still be lucky to be much of a factor.  On paper, Asa is the type of non-flashy candidate who could have done well 20 years ago but times have changed.  Voters want more than a resume now.

The Slap Heard Around The World

Lisa and I watched the Oscars last night but somehow, I managed to be out of the room when Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped Chris Rock.  I’ve since watched the incident on YouTube and I’m pretty sure I understand what happened.

Chris made a joke about Jada starring in GI Jane 2.  A lot of people are making excuses for Chris, saying that he didn’t know that Jada suffers from alopecia.  I don’t really buy that because I knew it and if a random person like me knew it, I find it hard to believe Chris didn’t know it.  I think Chris was doing what he always do, which was roasting his audience.

Will laughed at the joke.  Watching the footage, it’s obvious that Will laughed long and hard.  Jada did not laugh and she gave Will a look that said he was going to be in big trouble after the ceremony.

Realizing he was now in trouble with his wife, Will tried to make up for it by overcompensating, which in this case meant walking up on stage and slapping Chris Rock.  Will then went back to his seat and yelled at Chris not to say his wife’s name.  What significant is that Will didn’t say that to Chris on stage.  Instead, Will returned to his seat because Will knew that the Best Actor presentation was still coming up.

Chris started to say, “I could have said….” and he was probably going to mention something about all of the rumors that have surrounded Will and Jada’s marriage over the years.  But Chris thought better of it and moved on to awarding best documentary.

According to the reporters who were at the ceremony, Will and Jada huddled with Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry, and their publicist during the commercial break.  When the show returned to commercial, Will won his Oscar and then gave his weird speech where he seemed to put the blame on God for expecting too much of him.  It was all pretty dumb.

As for the rest of the show, it was ok.  I was happy Troy Kostur won and that Dune swept the technical awards.  Otherwise, it was a boring show and we will all have forgotten about it by next week.

Zelenskyy and the Oscars

I really hope that Zelenskyy does not appear on the Oscars tonight.  Right now, Zelenskyy is winning the hearts of people across the world.  I think appearing on the Oscars, as is rumored might happen, would only serve to cheapen him and his struggle.  It’ll make him look like just another celebrity, instead of being a man fighting to protect his country from a tyrant.

Despite all of the attention that Ukraine and Zelenskyy have received over the past month, I think some people still fail to understand that this is a serious struggle and a serious war and that, given the way Putin deals with his enemies, Zelenskyy is not only fighting to save Ukraine but also his own life.  Appearing on the Oscars and doing a bit with Amy Schumer will only distract from the seriousness of what’s actually happening in Ukraine right now.

Jeff Fortenberry Resigns

This is good news.  Fortenberry was a Republican Congressman from Nebraska who, for the past few years, has been dealing with legal and ethical issues.  He was finally convicted on charges related to foreign campaign donations.  Fortenberry had been taking a defiant tone all through the trail but, with the guilty verdict, he has announced that he will step down.  I was dreading the idea of him running again and being tied, Todd Akin-style, like a millstone around everyone’s neck.

This is a seat in Nebraska.  Following redistricting, it’ll be a little less red than it is currently but still, this is Nebraska and given the way the year is shaping up, the GOP should be able to hold onto it with little trouble.

Filemon Vela Resigns

U.S. Rep Filemon Vela (D-TX) will resign from Congress

Filemon Vela resigning from Congress is just weird.  He was already retiring at the end of his term but, by suddenly resigning, he’s ensuring that the taxpayers will have to pay for a special election, along with the usual general election.  He’s resigning to join a law firm but wouldn’t that firm be willing to wait until his term expired in just a few more months?

Vela’s putting Democrats in a bad position because the candidate to succeed him in November is Vincente Gonzalez, who is currently representing a different district.  (The two districts will be combined by redistricting at the start of the next Congress.)  If Gonzalez runs in the special election, he’ll have to resign from his current seat which will lead, however temporarily, to two empty Democratic seats at a time when the Democrats have a very slim majority.  Chances are that the Democrats won’t seriously contest the special election so, for at least a few month, Vela’s seat will be occupied by the Republican who will be running against Gonzalez in the general.  It’ll be a mess but I guess Vela was really eager to get out of Washington.

The Worst Job In Politics…

…is being Vice President.  You get all of the bad publicity of your boss but you get absolutely none of his power.  If you’re a good politician, the Vice Presidency is terrible because your skills are wasted for at least four years.  If you’re Kamala Harris, the Vice Presidency is terrible because it’s just a position that reminds everyone of how incompetent you are.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you do eventually get to move up.  Joe Biden did it, despite the fact that Obama was apparently telling everyone behind the scenes that they should go with anyone but Joe.  Mike Pence would obviously like to do it, though I think Mike’s moment has probably passed.  Usually, though, being Vice President is just four unrewarding years of being forced to take whatever project the President doesn’t want to get involved with.

There’s a reason why Veep is considered to be the most realistic show about politics.