Parade of Mediocrities Gets Longer: Somebody Named Asa Hutchinson Is Running For President

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

It’s very likely that the first time many people heard of Asa Hutchinson was when he announced that he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. But Hutch used to be governor of Arkansas, and presidential lightning has struck the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion before. So why not ol’ Asa? Because he is serving up the same tired establishment gruel that so many other candidates and controlled opposition Republicans are offering. Is this a case of a man’s ego running way, way ahead of the reality of his situation?


Hutchinson announced his candidacy to Jonathan Karl on ABC’s This Week amid a swirl of clichés and standard-issue candidate rhetoric he could have bought off the rack at the presidential candidates’ wholesale outlet: “I am going to be running. And the reason, as I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country, and I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts. I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America.” People want new leaders who will appeal to our best instincts? Wow, Asa, no presidential candidate has ever said that before!

Obviously, Hutchinson had a candidate in mind whom he thinks appeals to our worst instincts, and that candidate is not the demented corruptocrat in the White House now. Hutchinson, a solid member of the Republican establishment, is talking, of course, about that enemy of establishment Democrats and Republicans alike, one Donald J. Trump.

Hutchinson has been running against Trump since at least Jan. 2022. When Karl asked him whether Trump should withdraw from the race now that he has been indicted on the flimsiest of pretexts in an obviously political prosecution more characteristic of Third World dictatorships than of American politics up to now, Hutchinson was in no mood to speak up for the rule of law. He answered: “Well he should. But at the same time, we know he’s not. And there’s not any constitutional requirement.”


Even Jeb Bush, who has no love for Donald Trump, has spoken out against this banana republic indictment, but not Asa Hutchinson, who blames the victim for having become a “sideshow and distraction”: “I mean, first of all, the office is more important than any individual person. And so for the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that’s too much of a sideshow and distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process.” This indictment has nothing whatsoever to do with due process, and Asa Hutchinson should have had the integrity to say so. But vice presidential candidacies aren’t made that way, are they?

Related: When No One Cares: Why Is John Bolton Running for President in 2024?

Surely a vice presidential candidacy must be what Hutchinson has in mind. He can’t really think that he really has any actual chance to become the Republican nominee for president in 2024, can he? Or is he surrounded by ego-massaging advisors who have vastly inflated his sense of himself? On the other hand, maybe he knows that his chances are slim to none, barring some seismic upheaval in American politics (which certainly could come) but realizes that running for president these days is a good way to attract donors and media attention?

After all, Tulsi Gabbard was an obscure congresswoman from Hawaii and today would be an obscure former congresswoman from Hawaii if she hadn’t run for president in 2020, despite the fact that her candidacy went nowhere. Now she is a national figure. Could Asa Hutchinson be running to be the next Tulsi Gabbard?


Meanwhile, one genuine selling point that Asa Hutchinson has in his favor is the fact that he is in the full bloom of youth. If he somehow manages to be the one taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2025, he will be a sprightly 74 years old, a full two terms younger than Old Joe Biden and one term younger than Donald Trump. Maybe Asa is banking on voters opting for the youthful candidate, the one full of Kennedyesque vigor. Or maybe this is all about getting a few choice Meet the Press appearances and a lucrative book deal or two.

The bottom line, however, on Hutchinson’s candidacy is this: in this hour of America’s deep crisis, is there no end to the parade of self-infatuated mediocrities who confidently promise us they’ll fix everything?


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