Paybacks: Two Presidents to Visit Because of Hutchinson
Yesterday saw the announcement that Bill Clinton would come to Arkansas and visit a Mike Beebe fundraiser on September 7th. Previous to this, the Asa Hutchinson camp announced that President Bush was coming to our state for one of Asa's fundraisers.
Make no mistake, both men are coming to town because of Asa Hutchinson. First Bush and his motivations: It could be argued that Hutchinson served Bush better than almost anyone in his cabinent. There was not one mass terrorist attack on American soil for the four years Hutchinson was in charge of stopping them. If only Rumsfeld, Rice and those other names you hear about more often had served Bush as well as Hutchinson did. Maybe then the administration would not be having the poll troubles that it has. Bush is helping Hutchinson because he owes him, and it is a good idea to publically help those who served you well.
Clinton also "owes" Hutchinson, but in this case it is about payback. It's about revenge. Clinton has no special love of Mike Beebe. Certainly less than for old friend Jimmie Lou Fisher, who he also came to Arkansas for. Maybe about as much love for Beebe as he did for Bill Bristow, who he let twist in the wind in his race against Huckabee in 98. But this one is not about alliance or afftection. It is about payback for Asa's role in the impeachment proceedings.
It is also about flexing his political muscles in one of the few places Clinton may still be able to do so. He endorsed Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Senate primary, but the incumbent senator still lost in the liberal northeast. He was also against Howard Dean getting the Chairman's job. Is he losing relevancy? We will see.
Something else to look for: will Clinton stick up for Bill Halter like Bush is doing for Hutchinson? Rumour has it that there is some friction between the two. I look for Clinton to curse him with faint praise. There will be no special trips to Arkansas for the Halter campaign.