Politico’s Arena decided to have a debate over the Huntsman candidacy. My initial contribution can be found here. Christine Pelosi, daughter of the former Speaker, decided to try to get cute. I personally believe that she got a little too cute for her own good.
Unfortunately for Jon Huntsman, his problems are not restricted to the Pelosis of the world. The Purgiest Purge in the History of Purgedom (phrase inspired by Mary Katherine Ham) is beginning anew on the Right. Thus, we have this. I didn’t know that Republicans are now supposed to be upset that Republicans are calling for tax cuts, but apparently, there was a memo to that effect, and I missed it. One wonders whether the authors of that memo know that extending the Bush tax cuts–which I was for–costs $900 billion in the short term. Obviously, those of us who advocated extending the tax cuts did so because we believe that it is important to get the economy rocketing back to life again, and because we believe that it will be easier to collect revenue when the economy is growing. But there is no denying that there is a short term cost to the government having to give up that revenue, even as we believe that it would do the economy good to have the tax cuts extended, and that people should be able to keep more of their money as a general matter of principle. Tax cuts are stimulus. They are not even remotely the kind of stimulus that the Obama Administration fought for in 2009, and they are not the kind of stimulus that was enacted. And Huntsman’s quote makes clear–the Hot Air commentary notwithstanding–that he was calling for a significantly different brand of stimulus than the one that the Obama Administration pushed for. But the Purgiest Purge in the History of Purgedom is not interested in making such distinctions.
Huntsman’s other perceived sin is his statement that politics works in cycles, and that eventually, a cycle may work against the Tea Party. The statement is so obvious as to be banal–fortunes go up and down in politics–but it is being treated as blasphemy of sorts. The mind reels; there is no doubt that the Tea Party has done much to revive the fortunes of the center-right, but there is also no doubt that it has done much to sabotage those fortunes as well (see Angle, Sharron and O’Donnell, Christine). One may argue that the good outweighs the bad, but one cannot argue with a straight face that the Tea Party will remain ascendant from now until The End Of Time. But apparently, by not arguing that the Tea Party will remain ascendant from now until The End Of Time, Jon Huntsman has shown himself to be an unworthy potential President.
The Politico article linked to in the Hot Air post also informs us of the following supposed Bad Thing About Jon Huntsman:
On winning the ‘intelligentsia’: We’ve drifted a little bit from intellectual honesty in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, for example, where they would use rigorous science to back up many of their policies, and in this case many of their environmental policies. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We declared the war on cancer.
A lot of intellectual rigor went into the policies of those days, and we’ve drifted a little bit from taking seriously the importance of science to buttress much of what we’re doing today.
Are people really targeting Huntsman for defeat because they are upset that he said “being smart is a good thing, and we need to get smarter”? If so, what are those people doing in positions that might help determine our country’s destiny?
I don’t have any illusions. I will either support Mitch Daniels, or Huntsman, knowing full well that whomever I choose will likely not get the nomination. Instead, we will likely witness anew the ability of the Republican party to throw away its prospects for an electoral victory with both hands. I hope that I am wrong about all of this, but I expect that there is a greater chance that the GOP will nominate a Palin-Bachmann ticket to take on Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the fall of 2012, and that the resulting calamity for the GOP will make Adlai Stevension, Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, and Walter Mondale look like Electoral Titans.