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Asa Hutchinson is passionately partisan, but hates to admit it. When he participated in the impeachment of a popularly elected Democratic president, he didn’t mention that Republican Party leaders chose him for the job because they knew he wouldn’t vary from the party line, and because he represented a safely Republican district and need not fear political reprisal. To hear Hutchinson tell it, his was a case over patriotism over party, his political career endangered by his serving as a prosecutor.

He’s practicing the same sort of deception in regard to the minimum wage. Depending on how the political winds were blowing, he has over the years voted for an increase (sort of) and against an increase, said he was for an increase and said he was against it. The only thing consistent about Hutchinson’s position is his steadfast refusal to come clean. The one time he voted for a minimum wage bill in Congress, it was because features had been added to the bill, such as tax cuts for the rich, to assure that low-income workers would not be the only beneficiaries. Hutchinson is no longer a member of Congress, but the Republican leadership continues to use the same strategy, supporting a mini-mum wage increase only if it’s accompanied by gifts to big corporations and heirs to vast fortunes. The U.S. Senate rejected such deception last week.

Unkindest cut

Republican attorney general candidate Gunner DeLay promised that he would take off the gloves in his race with Democratic candidate Dustin McDaniel, and he wasn’t bluffing. Last week, DeLay accused McDaniel of not being a judicial money-grubber. If true, this could cost McDaniel his license, or at least the respect of his peers.

According to DeLay, McDaniel’s 1998 participation in a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer was “political,” McDaniel’s chance of sharing in a huge verdict hardly considered at all. Only a demented person would suggest that an Arkansas politician could gain support by being on the anti-side of a gun lawsuit, so when DeLay says that McDaniel’s action was “political … about restricting people’s right to bear arms” he suggests that McDaniel was after neither money nor votes, but motivated solely by idealism. This would breach the lawyers’ code: “No representation without generous compensation.”

The idea of a lawyer acting from conviction rather than cash is, DeLay said, “far out of the mainstream of Arkansas values.” McDaniel denied that he had been influenced by principle in his actions as a lawyer. By the end of the week, it appeared both men were committed to keeping morality out of the courtroom, so this should cease to be an issue.

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