Gov. Hutchinson's Distortion of President Reagan
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas raised ire from conservatives for vetoing legislation passed by the Arkansas state legislature that would have banned "gender-affirming" medical treatment for transgender minors.
This includes treatment such as hormone therapy, puberty blockers and surgery associated with gender identity.
The legislature then overrode Hutchinson's veto, making Arkansas the nation's first state to ban these procedures.
Of particular interest is Hutchinson's rationalization of his veto; he defined it as a conservative stance and used former President Reagan to justify his thinking.
Hutchinson argued during a TV interview that allowing government to prohibit these procedures pushes up against conservative principles of limiting the role of government.
"I go back to Ronald Reagan, to principles of our party, which believes in a limited role of government," he said. "Are we as a party abandoning a limited role of government and saying we're going to invoke the government decision-making over and above physicians, over and above health care, over and above parents -- and saying, 'You can't do that. You cannot engage in it'?"
Reagan was a conservative president who did indeed want to limit government's control of our private lives. But the word is "limit," not "erase."
Let's consider Reagan's words in one of his most famous speeches, known as the "evil empire" speech, which he delivered to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983.
In that speech, Reagan called the then-Soviet Union "an evil empire" and cast the struggle between the U.S. and the USSR as a struggle of good against evil. He saw communism as evil because of its explicit godlessness.
However, Reagan also used that speech to make a broader statement regarding the general question of good and evil and his own country.