Monday, July 24, 2006

Who Your Friends Are (Governor's Race)

Asa Hutchinson has been using his connections to bring in a wide array of big names to speak on his behalf. Vice President Dick Cheney was just the latest. There has also been Rudy Guiliani, John McCain, and others. While not all Arkansans like each of these men, many do, and even for the rest it highlights the fact that Asa has some pull that he could use to help Arkansas nationally.

On the other hand, Attorney General Mike Bebee seems to have far less drawing power. His "name" backers seem to come from Hollywood rather than serious political leaders. Barbara Striesand and Ted Danson, along with Michael Moore, dot the list of Bebee contributors. A lot of the rest of it seems to be from those connected to large companies like Tyson Foods. Bebee has said that the state should have NO ROLE in the enforcement of immigration law, while Hutchinson- who once had the job of securing the border at the Department of Homeland Security, has said we need defense in depth to reduce illegal immigration. Hutchinson would use state resources to turn back illegals. This disparity might explain the one-sided nature of the Tyson money from a company that usually plays both sides.

Of the two lists, most Arkansans are going to be far more impressed with Asa's list than Bebee's. It is not that one candidate "believes in Arkansas" and the other does not. Both "believe in Arkansas", but only one has the national stature to help Arkansas prosper.

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Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

But what about the Hollywood Starts contributing to Bebee? Do they even know who he is? I doubt it. If they did they would not donate. My guess is that their donations represent payback against Asa Hutchinson for his role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Were those donations at the behest of Clinton, or was it their idea? Will Clinton directly intervene in this race? Time will tell, but if he does it will not be for love of Mike Bebee, but rather payback agaist Hutchinson.

The bottom line is that he will do it if he thinks he can do it without hurting the imgage of Bill Clinton, because ultimately, it was always all about him. If he does it, it is going to be ugly on all sides. There could be a lot of crossfire. All the Democratic candidates will be quick to follow Clinton's lead, but there are also quite a few moralists on the Republican side who don't back down from controversy. If Clinton tries to torpedo Hutchinson's image directly, he may not escape unscathed.

My guess is that Clinton will work behind the scenes until he senses which way things will go- Clinton will not risk losing face by openly backing a loser in his home state. At the first moment it becomes clear to the insiders that Bebee is going to win it, Clinton will jump in to run up the score and try to take credit. He will get surrogates to do his dirty work on others, then play the victim when he gets a heavy dose of his own medicine in return.

Hutchinson's team needs to get in front or at least keep it so close that Clinton is detered from jumping in. If we get to October and Bebee is up even a hair, look for Clinton to come "home" for a little payback.

3:58 PM, July 24, 2006  
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