Leslie Rutledge is an example of how every Republican has to be slimy

Rutledge seems to be one of those people representing the future of the Republican party.

Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general of Arkansas, is a rising star in the Republican Party, especially under President Donald Trump. She gave a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016, which she dedicated to bashing Hillary Clinton with conspiracy theories about the alleged evil deeds of the Clinton Foundation. Rutledge is currently head of the Republican Attorneys General Association and has been Arkansas attorney general for three years. (She is up for re-election this fall.)

Rutledge, who worked for former Gov. Mike Huckabee both in state government and on his presidential campaign, appears to be tight with the Huckabee family, who are immensely powerful in Arkansas.

First sign of trouble: she’s buddies with the Huckabees? Why are those cornpone sleazy yokels “powerful” in Arkansas in the first place?

But, you should be asking, “What about her emails?” She has a very ugly history.

Most of the emails are smarmy sex jokes or contain foul language, which was clearly embarrassing for a Republican with a wholesome image. But one stands out, in particular, for the racist content.

Rutledge apparently copy and pasted another email from “a friend of mine” who “works d’town with battered women” that purportedly tells a story about clients coming to her office. Rutledge’s friend wrote it in a heavily stereotypical dialect that appears meant to mock the clients. Here is an excerpt:

De problem be wit his baby momma. Actually it turn out he not be de daddy (I saw the paternity test results) but he done been payin’ chile suppote fo 5 year cuz Jesus done sent dat baby and it doan make no diffence who be de daddy iffn Jesus want him to be de daddy and take o’ dat baby what nobody want ‘cept him and his own mama.

The email goes on for five paragraphs in that vein, as the author writes that “baby’s momma done turn into a ho and a stripper and she be raisin’ fusses” and mocks a client’s mother by writing, “we be getting de Gospel Punctuation from his mama: ‘Hallelujah! Amen! Oh yes Jesus! Um hm!'”

That’s the kind of thing that would be the kiss of death for a Democrat — we’d be waving their career bye-bye. It’s no problem at all for a “Christian, pro-life, gun-carrying conservative woman,” though.

Something did get her booted out of one Arkansas office, at least. We don’t know exactly what she did, but it must have been terrible if it offended an Arkansas Republican.

These two emails were sent in August and October of 2007. Rutledge left Arkansas DHS in December of that year. After that, a note was added to her file accusing her of “gross misconduct” and instructing that she not be rehired. It is unclear whether the alleged misconduct was related to these emails or to other matters. Emails from Salon to Arkansas DHS asking for further clarification received no response.

She’s definitely one to watch. At this rate, she’ll be running for president in 2020.


  1. equisetum says

    Something did get her booted out of one Arkansas office, at least. We don’t know exactly what she did, but it must have been terrible if it offended an Arkansas Republican.

    She probably saved a kitten from drowning.

  2. Walter Solomon says

    Sounds like Trump’s next SCOTUS nominee should any other justice checks out; perish the thought.

  3. says

    Here’s a sure fire method to enrage the GOP and get a Republican politician thrown to the curb. All she had to do was say “We could consider reducing our military budget in order to pay for national healthcare.”

  4. says

    Why are those cornpone sleazy yokels “powerful” in Arkansas in the first place?

    Don’t be fooled. They know exactly what they’re doing and have been successful at it for years.

  5. Holms says

    She might have done something truly heinous, like endorse abortion or come out as gay. The horror!

  6. unclefrogy says

    as a good god fearing gun totin’ trump supporting republican red neck she probably threatened them with grave bodily harm like maybe she pulled out her gun and waved it around.
    uncle frogy

  7. Allison says

    Arkansas DHS = Arkansas Department of Human Services.

    I think she was probably fired for the kind of behavior that is described in the OP. Just because the top politicians are assholes doesn’t mean that the civil servants who keep the wheels of government moving would enjoy that kind of behavior in their office. She sounds like a generally offensive person, and people like that are hard to work with. Plus, her attitude of contempt for the kind of people her department is supposed to be helping is another reason to get rid of her.

    Cf. James Damore — a number of people who worked for Google indicated that it was not his political views that were the problem, it was his attitude. Someone who displayed the attitudes he showed with his memo would not work well with other people.

  8. chrislawson says

    OP: “every Republican has to be slimy”

    This is the saddest truth of the whole last decade of American politics. I never liked the Republicans but even under Reagan and Bush Sr they had some respect for the norms of politics and for independent expertise. Ever since Bush Jr though, internal party politics has made it impossible for any sensible/decent Republican politician to reach any position of influence. It is actively helpful to a Republican’s career to be racist, sexist, deceitful, corrupt, and dismissive of knowledge.

  9. chrislawson says


    Damore’s work colleagues may have found his personal attitudes made him difficult to work with, but it was that memo that got him fired. This is an indication of what is wrong with Google’s corporate governance. Damore was clearly a nightmare within the company for a long time, but Google was willing to expose their workforce to his toxic personality up until he created a public embarrassment for the company. I mean, sure, kudos for sacking the venomous toad, but it should have happened years earlier. And if they had done that, then they wouldn’t have had to go through all that very public mess. And goodness knows how many Google employees’ lives would have been made better in the meantime.

  10. chrislawson says

    I’d also say that Damore’s political views and toxic attitude were not separate issues. He wasn’t just a conservative, he was a malicious anti-feminist who thought that being male entitled him to a golden escalator ride to the top of Google management and publicly attacked his own company for promoting women when he, a poor oppressed male, was only on a middle wage.