Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson came under fire early this week for vetoing a bill that would prohibit doctors from providing children suffering from gender dysphoria with hormones, puberty blockers, surgeries, or other treatments that would ‘affirm’ their ‘identity’. The governor’s response to this criticism was to pour gasoline all over himself and light a match.
There are few good long-term studies on the use of hormone and puberty-blocking treatments for transgender youth, primarily because such drugs have only been used in the past on a short-term basis to treat conditions like precocious puberty. They were not intended to suppress puberty indefinitely. Research suggests, however, these treatments can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts or depression. They can stunt normal growth of sex organs or even cause infertility. Considering children’s brains are not developed enough to offer ‘informed consent’ on such medical procedures, and that a significant number of children ‘detransition’, the long-term effects of these ‘treatments’ are especially sad and horrifying.
Luckily, the Arkansas legislature overrode Hutchinson’s veto, making it the first state in the country to ban ‘gender-affirming’ treatments for youth.
Hutchinson was stuck in the position of explaining why a so-called conservative would ever think it a good idea to veto a bill that would protect children from such abuse. He fell into a trap all-too-common among politicians: he thought he was the smartest person in the room. So, Hutchinson decided to appear on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Tuesday to try to explain his veto.
The interview was a disaster for Hutchinson, to say the least. He insisted the issue was one of ‘limited government’, such that only doctors and ‘patients’ should be able to make decisions on matters of their health. Hutchinson, who claims to be pro-life, would hopefully never make the same argument about abortion.
‘I go back to William Buckley, I go back to Ronald Reagan, to principles of our party, which believes in a limited role of government,’ Hutchinson insisted as Carlson looked on in horror.
I’d venture a guess that Buckley and Reagan would have been OK with an otherwise ‘limited’ government stepping in to stop doctors and parents from causing irreversible damage to the nation’s children. But what do I know?
South Dakota governor Kristi Noem made a similar error when she appeared on Carlson’s show last month to explain why she issued a ‘style and form veto’ on a bill to ban biological men from competing in women’s sports. Noem insisted that the NCAA would take South Dakota to court over the bill and that she wasn’t interested in picking a fight that she knew she would lose. She also made several appeals to unnamed ‘constitutional scholars’ who advised her not to sign the bill.
The problem with too many in our elite and political class is that they are often filled with arrogance and disdain for those they rule over. ‘You just don’t get it!’ they exclaim. Hutchinson, by invoking Buckley and Reagan, and Noem, by invoking ‘constitutional scholars’, told their constituents that they know better than them. So sit down and shut up.
The problem with Hutchinson’s and Noem’s defenses of their cowardice is that the people aren’t listening anymore. They are tired of politicians hiding behind their so-called ‘principles’ to avoid taking the hard but necessary stances to protect society and culture. As they should be. Too often, these alleged principled positions are really just cover for something much more sinister. Hutchinson claimed to Carlson that he had not spoken to any corporations about the transgender youth bill, but he told Rachel Campos-Duffy on March 31, ‘We’re the home of some major global corporations here in Arkansas, they’re certainly worried.’ Noem admitted that she was concerned about losing tournaments and other NCAA-driven economic activity in her state if she signed the transgender sports ban.
Hutchinson’s disastrous Tucker Carlson interview should be a reminder to all politicians that their power comes from the people, and the people are done with weak excuses and bowing to corporate interests. The nation’s kids are at stake.