Hutchinson says Republican leader should have condemned Boebert’s anti-Muslim remarks; dodges vaccination failure in Arkansas; blames inflation on Biden

Hutchinson says Republican leader should have condemned Boebert’s anti-Muslim remarks; dodges vaccination failure in Arkansas; blames inflation on Biden

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The good Asa turned up on CNN’s State of the Union this morning. He said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy should have condemned Rep. Lauren Boebert’s anti-Muslim remarks. Hutchinson also commented on “two very good verdicts” in the last week that showed “we can hold people accountable when they take the law into their own hands.”

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If his reference was to the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse and convictions of three white men in the murder of a Black man, Ahmaud Barbery, I’m not exactly sure how his description fit the Rittenhouse verdict. Rittenhouse had deputized himself as something of a peacekeeper in Kenosha, Wis. He killed two and wounded another. One was unarmed (Rittenhouse said he tried to grab his military-style rifle) and one was armed with a skateboard and was shot as he attempted to stop what he believed to be an active shooter. The wounded man had a pistol; he, too, was said to have been attempting to stop what he believed to be an active shooter.

Hutchinson said the country needs more civility in discourse and less divisiveness.

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UPDATE: A reader guesses, perhaps correctly, that the governor was not referring to Rittenhouse case but to the Arbery case and the award of damages against the white nationalists who spawned the torchlit rally in Charlottesville, Va. The Rittenhouse case was decided Nov. 19, the Charlottesville case Nov. 23 and the Arbery case Nov. 24.

Whatever else was said, in the Boebert matter, Hutchinson did go where no Arkansas congressman has been willing to go. In a Trump state, that’s something, I suppose.

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UPDATE: Here’s the transcript. The governor also was asked about concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID. More mush after Dana Bash noted that more than half of Arkansans remain unvaccinated:

But I think the message, as a governor, is steady as you go. We obviously have to have more information. But let’s take this window to get better prepared by increasing our vaccination rates. We’re making great progress in Arkansas. We continue to go up in our vaccination rate.

We continue to encourage that. And we have got a window here to seal it off. And you compare where we are now to last year, when we were really spiking up, we’re much less than that. Our vaccination rates are up. So I’m much more optimistic about getting through this winter.

But, obviously, a new variant is a concern. Let’s get vaccinated. That’s our best protection.

But Bash pressed. She noted that the governor opposes vaccine mandates and has been begging people to get shots, but the state remains among the bottom 10 in vaccination rates.

BASH: So, is it time to acknowledge that your approach isn’t working?

HUTCHINSON: Not at all.

In fact, what we have seen is that, through education, through information, vaccination rates go up. And that’s more productive than a mandate that comes down that people instinctively resist. And so you have to know the culture. You have to know what — how people respond to it.

And, in Arkansas, that information-based education is what is working and will be effective. The mandates are not something that the people of Arkansas are going to respond well to. So, that makes progress.

Asa must have failed arithmetic. Or he simply chooses to ignore it. Yes, a trickle of new people are getting shots. But consistently at a rate lower than most of the rest of the country. Result: Top 10 in COVID rate and deaths from the virus.

Hutchinson also hewed the party line that President Biden is to blame for inflation, including in oil prices driven by the Middle East cartel.

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Much of the supply challenges are at his feet, in terms of reducing production domestically and relying more upon international energy for the United States. We have to been energy-independent.

Biden didn’t reduce production. It was reduced in response to pandemic-related drop in demand. It has bounced back some but the Middle East is encouraging higher prices over greater production.

Doesn’t Biden get some credit for the booming economy and declining unemployment, Bash asked. He said he didn’t have a problem with Biden trying to take credit, but added:

But our pressures on inflation and on this supply chain, particularly energy, is something that he needs to correct. And so there’s problems that he needs to address. And we all want to come out of this. He puts it all on COVID. And I don’t believe that is the biggest — well, it is a challenge, but there are other things you could address, such as the inflationary pressures, that he can control.

D-minus to F in arithmetic and economics for the governor’s CNN report card.

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