Republicans In Turmoil After Asa Hutchinson Caves On Arkansas Religious Freedom Bill


The Republican Party is falling apart, and factions are at each other’s throats over the self-inflicted wound of pushing religious freedom bills that would legalize discrimination.

Video of Hutchinson speech:

Hutchinson explained why he reversed course and decided not to sign the bill unless it is changed, “The bill that is on my desk at the present time does not mirror the federal law. It doesn’t mirror it in a couple of ways, particularly allowing the First Amendment to be asserted in the private litigation between parties or reliance on the state law in those claims. Therefore, I asked that changes be made in the legislation and I’ve asked that the leaders in the General Assembly to recall the bill so that it can be amended.”

The divide between Republicans is between the business community and social conservatives. There is also a generational divide between younger and older Republicans that is typified by the fact that Hutchinson’s own son signed a petition asking him to veto the bill, “My son Seth, signed the petition asking me, Dad, the governor, to veto this bill.”

All of the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates with the exceptions of Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul have come out in support of the religious freedom bills. What is happening is the now traditional process of the Republican rank and file pulling their presidential candidates too far to the right to be electable.

In Arkansas, Gov. Hutchinson isn’t looking for a way out because he had an overnight epiphany. Hutchinson is trying to escape a brewing political firestorm that has spread outwards from Indiana and is engulfing the Republican Party.

History is repeating itself. This time the discussions aren’t centered around “legitimate rape,” but an attempt to legalize discrimination behind a thin disguise of religious freedom. The same old divides that have undone the Republican Party in previous election cycles are alive and well, but the GOP’s biggest problem is that their economic, social, and political agenda remains wildly unpopular and out of step with modern times.

35 Replies to “Republicans In Turmoil After Asa Hutchinson Caves On Arkansas Religious Freedom Bill”

  1. One problem I have with the article is you try to separate the crazy from the truly insane. Its a mistake we all make because in our hearts we want to find common ground with the other party.

    That has to change. Their is no common ground. Anyone who belongs to that party are the enemy. No only to us but our country and democracy. Call them out. All of them for what they are. TRAITORS

  2. The epiphany this man had was at the hands of the people that own him in the state, Walmart. Walmart actually did the right thing this time, and urged the governor not to sign it. Thank you Walmart. I’ll probably never utter those words again! Lol.

  3. I wonder if the multibillion dollar Walmart corporation telling him to reconsider signing it had anything to do with his epiphany.

  4. The good thing is, that as long as the Re-thug-li-KKKlans are fighting, they won’t be elected. Like a previous comment said > the GOP is the enemy of our nation, and our democracy. They’ve even become the enemy of our freedom. The Right only wants “freedom” for rich, white, straight male Christians, the rest of us, chattel to be owned, worked to death, and discarded. This is unAmerican in the worst way, and needs to be stopped.

  5. Agreed. They also want us all to conform to their religious beliefs which are beyond insane. People don’t call right-wing Christianity “Christ-Psychosis” for nothing!

  6. Ok, since there seems to be an effort to make these laws conform to the Federal law, we need to look at that law.

    The act says, ” “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

    There are two exceptions; 1. the burden must be necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest.” and 2. “the rule must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.”

    I would like to know what “compelling government interest” there is in allowing anybody the right to refuse service to someone based on their gender or sexual identity. And in what way does that refusal to provide service to “further the government interest”?

    The only “compelling government interest” I see is to allow the religious zealots within the government to allow other religious zealot the freedom to push their agenda of forcing everybody to conform to their beliefs.

  7. Both Hutchinson and Pence were aware the bills put forth didn’t mirror federal law. If that was the plan they could have used the fed plan as a template for the state. Just replace fed language with with state. I get the reasoning behind the push for these laws all of a sudden. I know other states have them, but it seems like they coincide with court rulings on gay marriage. Seems more like a, we’re going to show you law.

  8. You have to remember, is that in Arkansas, if the Governor doesn’t sign or veto the bill within 5 days of passage, then the bill goes into effect, just as though he signed the bill.

    So all he has to do is prevaricate for a few days, and the bill will go into effect, but he can declare that he didn’t sign it.

  9. That is because they are Ass-backwards. They haven’t learned yet that they are still doing the same thing they did years ago and it ain’t workin’.

  10. It seems to me that Charlie Manson would have loved the RF laws. He’d be a free man today if this were the law in 1968.

  11. With states such as Indiana and Arkansas it is understandable why Republicans can still win elections.

  12. I’m in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

    Just a few years ago, the Republicans lead us into a war we didn’t need to fight that killed and maimed- emotionally and mentally – thousands of Americans. They wrecked our economy and drove America’s reputation in a ditch just a few years ago.

    They neglect this country’s poor and homeless, they are treasonous, dangerous, racist and they keep us divided as a nation by keeping unnecessary shit stirred up.

    And, yet, after all that and more, just a few years later, the party that brought America to it’s knees is back in control of everything again?

    Really, America?

    Until we get a public published paper trail of everyone who steps out of voting booths and until more people start voting against The Cult of the Republican Party, just wait a sec.

    With all the power Republicans are in control of again, at state and federal levels, you ain’t seen nothing yet and we’ve just crossed over into The Twilight Zone.

  13. I do take issue with your headline.
    “Caves” is a nasty word I would expect the RWNJs to be using a verb like that because they feel betrayed. When someone like Hutchinson makes a move like this that we WANT to happen, let’s be thankful, or at least respectful.
    We want to encourage this sort of behavior, not slam it just as negatively as the Tealiban will be doing.

  14. I think caves is appropriate! When a Govenor’s vetoes the bill, then we can use our outer two words” pushes Back”!

  15. If that is the case and he doesn’t sign, then Arkansas should be ready for what Indiana has been going through — plus Walmart won’t be happy.

  16. “Caves” is correct because he, Hutchinson, pushed the bill through committee and said he would sign it as is. Then came Indiana and Pence … and he caved. He knows the legislature can override his veto with just a majority vote.

  17. I love reminding we the self righteous dems/progressesives standing on the sidelines as the repubs “fall apart”.

    Ginsberg 82 yo
    Scalia 79 yo
    Kennedy 78 yo
    Breyer 76 yo
    Thomas 66 yo
    Alito 65 yo
    Sotomayor 60 yo
    Roberts 60 yo
    Kagan 55 yo

    The next president might appoint 4 or more members of the court! If he/she is a repub they could extend their control of the US out to 2050 or later! Do you really think the repubs won’t unify by Nov 2016 when the prize is so big? We underestimate the repubs at our own risk! I believe that some of the repub justices would retire to make way for a younger member if they knew it would be a repub president doing the selecting. I’ll say it again, we mock and underestimate them at our own risk !!!

  18. I tried and failed to edit my previous post. Just one more reminder, it 20 months until the election. Plenty of time for more and stronger voter suppression laws to enact and enforce. Laws that a crooked supreme court will hold to be valid. Laugh now, but if we underestimate the repubs they will have the last laugh.

  19. You are sooooooo right about Walmart. I saw a title yesterday that said, if Walmart and Target say you’ve gone too far, ……Oops!
    ever saw a GOPPER
    When all those companies and even basketball and conventions start screaming that they’re going to lose money, (face it, that’s the real reason that this is happening, not that they ‘love the gays’) Wallyworld has to pay attention.

    That was the prettiest dance I’ve ever seen a Gopper do. I hope he had Depends on.

  20. since there seems to be an effort to make these laws conform to the Federal law, we need to look at that law.
    No, you don’t. You’re over-thinking the whole thing when it’s all pretty straight-forward stuff.

    Even if the RFRA were FULLY repealed in Indiana, businesses there could STILL discriminate. It’s a “right” – if we can call it that- that Indianans have possessed for 200 years going back to the creation of the state.
    If the critics of Indiana RFRA are truly concerned about discrimination against gays, then they should stop talking about a law that changes NOTHING. Seek legislation that would prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community by making sexual orientation a *protected class*.

    The RFRA helps to protect adherents of ALL religions. Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, the Amish and whoever else I’m forgetting and -believe it or not – atheists.

  21. It seems so strange that regardless of how many years go by, whites are still trying to drag the US back into 1920’s before civil rights. Why do they hate so much?

    Here we are now in 2015, but still want freedom to discriminate — this time basing it on religious freedom.

    So any clerk, or manager, or human resources officer can simply say, “Sorry, it’s against my religion to serve you or hire you or promote you. So blacks and faggots and Arabs (and anyone else my religion doesn’t like) get the hell out.”

    Why cannot whites move forward?

  22. We used to call them WASPs, White AngloSaxon Protestants. Then that went out of fashion and we started to forget how powerful they are. Well, they have always been there and now they are terrified because their greatest nightmare is equality. Why? Because they fear they will be treated as they treated others in the past. Look in a history book and find what whites feared after the Civil War – that Free Blacks would rape and murder their former owners – just what they had done to their slaves for generations. Now, like cornered rats they have come out fighting. They are at their most dangerous and we cannot let our guard down for a second. Every attack on freedom must be exposed for what it is, a cowardly attempt to stay in power.

  23. Paul, you are absolutely correct, we Progressives cannot sit back and watch the TPGOPPERs tear into to each other. We need to insure that everyone learns how despicable they really are and how they use double speak to sound reasonable. They have become masters of double speak. To read how they view RFRA is amazing. They need to be exposed for what they are – bigots hiding behind religion.

  24. Excuse me! I’m white and I hope this damn bill dies (everywhere)! How dare you lump all whites together as assholes! If anything is racist, that is. Just because someone is suffering oppression in one area of life doesn’t mean you get to ignore your privileges in (that privilege of being able to bag on white people as racist). How about we just say that people of all color, religion, nationality, genders, etc. can be assholes?

    Sincerely, a democratic, liberal/progressive, asexual, genderfluid, white “female”.

  25. But that puts them in the sights of those who can recall! Over ridden vetos tend to do that in off years! Even when Ealker won, two tea party nuts got kicked to the curb!

  26. If he does NOT VETO it, he bill WILL BECOME law after 5 days, because the AK constitution states the Governor MUST VETO a law to prevent it from becoming law.

    Simply NOT signing it doesn’t do anything other than delay the bill from becoming law for 5 days.

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