It is spring and we know the minds of the young turn to romance. I guess the minds of politicians -- especially those seeking a new spot, once term-limited turn to -- well, Presidential politics.
Let's face it (and we hope Asa Hutchinson faces it as well), the U.S. Senate seats are locked down for Arkansas -- with the runaway GOP Primary victory for Senator John Boozman later this month. Plus, now our Junior firebrand Tommy Cotton has made a zillion TV ads saying he and "Boozman are a team," there will be no future challenge to that duo in the near Republican election decade.
So our term-limited Governor, also coming off the year spent as Chair of the National Governor's Conference, is looking for a new "gig."
Arkansans are now facing the first time in a while that the marathon man -- the guy always running for office, but not always winning, Asa Hutchinson _- is looking for a new elective contest.
And why not go to New Hampshire, Iowa, New York or Colorado, or any other place where the GOP will gather to listen and find a "new standard bearer," for 2024?
Asa told Fox News (who else?) on a Sunday national television appearance the shocking news.
There is something ethereal, I guess, akin to taking a fine sip of smooth bourbon on a chilly fall afternoon, to going on the Fox Network and slipping out a little news item that is meant to radiate across the nation.
It must feel just like that hot gastronomic burn from the bourbon to the belly, to a Republican, I would guess.
Either way, our lame-duck governor just "dog whistled" to all his fans and foes within the state GOP -- he's gone looking for a bigger and better gig.
He's given up on running the state, he's packed his bag and is carrying a bigger toe sack for donations than ever before and hit the road seeking attention, donations and any microphone available.
Our chief executive for the last seven years, or someone in his office, spent very little time on what Asa hopes will be a whale of a moniker for this campaign, a catchy little abbreviation that spells out hope for the people.
W.I.N.S. -- Hutchinson unveiled a platform of W (for workforce development), I (for infrastructure), N (for new economy jobs), and S (for strengthening Arkansas families).
Well first off, he had better change the S to "strengthening America's families -- to make it salable to the American public.
And where in Arkansas did Asa ever develop these "new economy jobs," over the last 7.5 years?
Remember: Arkansans have been sold on his ability to be governor two of the last three times he has run for that office.
So, a catchy little W.I.N.S. moniker will also be accompanied with what he says in his becoming, "... a leading voice for a new direction for our (the Republican) party," he told Fox News.
Just to hedge his bets, Asa said: "I am not ruling out a presidential run."
I do know from recent in state-poll results from Arkansas Business & Politics, our governor is sitting with a 59 percent approval rate -- not bad. Still, even after 7.5 years in Arkansas, he maintains a 38 percent disapproval rate.
Just to 'quiet' noisy reporters, Asa said he "...will not be using state transportation to attend..." these far-flung soirees on speaking presidential to New Hampshire folks, Iowans, New Yorkers, Coloradans or Floridians.
And maybe he can fill that big 'toe-sack' with enough cash to indeed make a presidential run.
Others, in his own party, including Mike Huckabee, have tried and failed to reach that pinnacle.
Plus, there is still the "Chief Insulter of The Republican Party," one Donald J. Trump, out there frantically looking for a microphone to insult those who seek the spot he once occupied.
Beware of the impending and very personal insults on you, Asa, direct from your own political party's leader.
They are coming.
-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.