Archive for January 4th, 2013

Governor Asa

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There is “breaking news” today that Asa Hutchinson has said he expects to run for governor in 2014.

That ain’t news. It’s olds.

It was nearly two years ago now — well, 20 months or so — that Asa invited me to lunch at the Copper Grill and we chatted. That afternoon, back out at the Legislature, I told a Republican insider that I’d just come from lunch with Asa and that it was fine and pleasant and that maybe we’d all mellow out in our old ages. And the insider looked at me and said, “He’s running for governor again.”

He thinks he’s earned one more round and that his time is now because the party for which he’s been a loyal soldier is now in command.

He’s only 0-3 in statewide races — losing for the U.S. Senate to Dale Bumpers, for attorney general to Winston Bryant and for governor to Mike Beebe.

He is a worn and weary brand, but it is in fact true that his time has come and he has earned the right. It’s also true that other prospects have faded. Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is down, I suspect, to running for 3rd District congressman if Steve Womack goes for the Senate. Be reading Sunday column on that.

I figure Asa will get the nomination and then, yes, the governorship. I think he’ll run, oh, two points lower than a competent and able fresher face would run on the Republican side, but that he’ll probably have two points to spare.

That he is a worn and weary brand — and so guarded as to be kind of unappealing — is the only Democratic chance.



Written by jbrummett

January 4th, 2013 at 11:18 am

Posted in Arkansas Politics

On that Medicaid special session . . .


Well, Gov. Mike Beebe is dismissive of the idea floated in my Sunday column that these tyro conservative Republican legislators might defer Medicaid expansion to a special session.

Fine. It’s probably irregular to start planning for the overtime period before the game starts.

But permit me to tell you what’s going to happen:

These tyro conservative Republican legislators are going to spend the regular session arguing about the deficit in existing Medicaid. We’re going to hear all manner of accusations of waste and fraud and abuse. We’re going to see all manner of proposals for ┬ábusiness-like reforms. We’ll be lucky to get out of that alive.

I’m telling you — there is no way I can see to overlay that commotion with a workable debate about Medicaid expansion that could conceivably achieve the requisite House majority of 75 votes.

But, and this is big: The two Republican leaders, Sen. Michael Lamoureux and Rep. Davy Carter, are receptive to, indeed persuadable by, the compelling arguments that hospitals urgently need expansion, that denying expansion would leave a gap of working poor people alone without health insurance and that expansion actually solves some, not all, of our existing Medicaid funding problems.

I’m just fast-forwarding. I think there’s an outside possibility Lamoureux and Carter could eventually buy in, and that, if so, they would need time and focus to have any hope of achieving the three-fourths majorities.

Meantime, the governor of course must proceed as if he fully intends to pass expansion in the regular session.

I’ll just leave you with this thought: Deferral to full focus is better than rejection.



Written by jbrummett

January 4th, 2013 at 8:19 am


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