Jon Huntsman, The Democrats’ Tool

 

I do not have a television set. So, Sunday morning, ca. 11:15 a.m. ET, when I posted a piece, drawing attention to Vogue’s fawning profile of Jon Huntsman, Jr.,  and suggesting that the former Utah Governor was positioning himself as a possible running mate for Barack Obama, I had no idea that he had just appeared on This Week on ABC News, trashing his fellow Republicans in a fashion that gibes perfectly with the manner in which he was introduced to the readers of Vogue.

The Democrats seem to have been clued in ahead of time – for, almost immediately after the interview, the Democratic National Committee posted an edited version (which is no longer available now), and later in the day, under the title Don’t Take Our Word for It: Jon Huntsman Slams his Republican Opponents, they substituted a piece in which they provided a link to the ABC  interview and then quoted liberally from Huntsman’s remarks:

Huntsman Said The Rest Of The GOP Field Had “Zero Substance” And Were “Too Far To The Right.” Huntsman on ABC’s This Week: “We have people on the Republican side too far to the right. We have zero substance. We have no good ideas that are being circulated or talking about that allow the country to get back on its feet economically so we begin creating jobs.” [ABC News – This Week, 8/21/11]

Huntsman Said He Would Not Trust His Opponents With The Economy Because They Would Have Allowed The Country To Default. When asked by Jake Tapper, “Would you trust a President Bachmann to do the right thing with the economy?” Huntsman replied, “I wouldn’t necessarily trust any of my opponents who are on the recent debate stage with me when every single one of them would have allowed this country to default.” [ABC News – This Week, 8/21/11]

Huntsman Said The Republican Party Has “A Serious Problem” In Becoming “The Anti-Science Party.” On ABC’s This Week, Huntsman said: “I think there’s a serious problem. The minute the Republican Party becomes the party, the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people, who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012 when we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, we take a position that basically runs counter to what 100 to 900 climate scientists have said with what the national academy of science has said. What is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it. We find ourselves on the wrong side of science and therefore in a losing position.” [ABC News – This Week, 8/21/11]

Huntsman Said “We’d Be Here All Afternoon” To Talk About Romney’s Flip-Flops. On ABC’s This Week, Huntsman said, “If we talk about inconsistencies and change on various issues, we’d be here all afternoon.” [ABC News – This Week, 8/21/11]

Huntsman Said He Had “No Idea Where” Romney’s Based His Claim That Corporations Are People. “Huntsman was also asked about Romney’s ‘corporations are people’ remark at the Iowa State Fair, which he quickly turned into an opportunity to cite Massachusetts’s poor job creation ranking during the years Romney was governor of the state. ‘I have no idea where that might have come from, entrepreneurs are people, but how it came out in his event, I’m not sure what it was based on.’” [ABC News, 8/13/11]

Huntsman: Romney Ranked 47th In Job Creation. “‘Massachusetts under governor Romney was number 47,’ he said. ‘We’re going to want a governor with a track record of success as opposed to one who was number 47. First versus 47th, I think there’s a huge difference in that, particularly going up against a president who doesn’t have a track record at all of expanding the economy or successfully creating jobs.’” [ABC News, 8/13/11]

Huntsman: Romney Has Flip-Flopped On The Flat Tax. On ABC’s This Week, Huntsman said, “I know in 1996 he was against a flat tax. […] If he’s in favor of a flat tax now where he wasn’t before, at least he’s moving in the right direction.” [ABC News – This Week, 8/21/11]

Huntsman: “Call Me Crazy” But “I Believe In Evolution And Trust Scientists On Global Warming” Unlike Governor Perry. “Jon M. Huntsman Jr. is eager to stand out. Just not too much. In a Twitter message sent Thursday afternoon, Mr. Huntsman wrote: ‘To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.’ The message was a direct shot at his newest rival, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who said this week that climate change was ‘a scientific theory that has not been proved’ and called evolution ‘just a theory.’” [NY Times, 8/18/11]

Huntsman Slammed Perry For His Secession Comments And Attacks On Bernanke. When asked to comment on Perry saying that Bernanke would be treated “ugly” in Texas and that printing money was “treasonous,” Huntsman said, “I don’t know if that’s pre-secession Texas or post secession Texas. In any event, I’m not sure that the average voter out there will hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate that sounds like someone serious on issues.” [ABC News – This Week, 8/21/11]

By half past noon, let me add, Politico had posted a piece entitled Democratic National Committee’s New Surrogate Jon Huntsman.

I rest my case. By now, if he ever entertained the possibility that he would actually get the Republican nomination, Huntsman knows better. He is now seeking another post. Remember: You read it here first.

There are 16 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway

    I completely buy this argument. And I think it would be a very savvy move from the President.

    • #1
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    @HumzaAhmad

    Call me crazy, but this is a Huntsman I can get excited about. He’s come out swinging, and on some good points; Romney’s flip-flopping, lack of job creation cred and off the cuff remarks about corporations, as well as Perry’s comments that seem to only make the rest of the Republican field look farther to the right than most of the country the longer the other candidates leave those comments unchallenged.

    Further, I have been hearing from many, many centrist and independent friends that the Republican candidates don’t seem to have any clear cut policy positions or solutions, just posturing. I can’t disagree with them, though I don’t think that’s a problem yet. This far from the primary, it’s probably best that posturing is all candidates are doing, but at some point in the near future, the lack of policy specifics is going to become a real problem. Huntsman hit that nail on the head.

    That said, by giving that interview, Huntsman has basically further decreased his chances of snagging the Republican nomination. At this point, his actual goals in this endeavor are about as clear as mud.

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    @KennedySmith

    Huntsman is a truly atrocious politician. He’s just really bad at it. If he had started his campaign by attacking Obama, he could easily have gained some traction in New Hampshire as the moderate, non-scary Republican who has as low an opinion of Obama as the rest of the country.

    New Hampshire, is, after all, an open primary. A good showing there could have given him some prominence and a decent bargaining position. I suspect now the eventual nominee will feel neither the need nor desire to feature Huntsman at all.

    So that leaves the Democrats, further displaying Huntsman’s lack of political acumen. The idea of party switching is to switch to a party with momentum and share in the victory. This is not going to happen. Also, turncoats have a very brief honeymoon. He’s trying for the Arlen Specter role of being mistrusted by all sides.

    Which leads me to conclude he’s not very bright, and that switching him for Biden would be basically a wash in net IQ.

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    @Mimi

    Very perceptive and informative articles. A joy to read. Thanks, Dr Rahe.

    • #4
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    @SteveS

    Dr Rahe, you have no argument from me about Huntsmen being a “Tool” whether of the Democrats or the stand alone kind.

    I guess he will next be stating how “broke” the Washington system is and he is the only one to fix it.

    I’m amazed how easy it seems for the wrong candidates to find money and support and to run and the ones who truly should be in this race, decide against it, are not sure or the timing isn’t right. All very legitimate and reasonable justifications but we are in dire straits here. I want Paul Ryan, as you do, to run for the presidency.

    I’m reminded of David when he was called upon to defend the armies of Israel against the Philistine giant, Goliath. Paul Ryan needs to leave the comfort and familiarity of the flock, pick up his sling and stones, and proceed to plant one right between the eyes of the Washington Giant, those progressive leftists, who wish to bring about this country’s same destruction and to rule over us in much the same arrogant manner the Philistines sought to rule over Israel.

    • #5
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    @jetstream

    hmmmm, now we know what happened to Eddie Haskell. Kind of liked the old Eddie better, he seemed more sincere.

    • #6
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    @tabularasa

    This has got to be my hundredth post on Huntsman. He is everything that’s wrong with American politics: completely unprincipled wrapping himself in vague principles; vacuous; a man who will be whatever it takes to find the next high office to which he is entitled (the principled conservative governor of a very red state has long ago been thrown out the window); and, worst of all to me, a man who doesn’t have the moral courage to defend his own religious beliefs (or, in the alternative, a man who pays lip service to a religion he no longer embraces, while becoming a sanctimonious advocate of moral and cultural relativism).

    He is a creepy man we can do without.

    • #7
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    @CandE

    I saw the Jake Tapper interview; 90% of his time was used to spew venom at Republican candidates. Although he says that the other candidates have no ideas, he touted solutions to the economy that have been floating around on the right for a while: tax reform a la Paul Ryan (not raising taxes at all), regulation reform, and energy independence. He mentioned Obama’s name one (1) time. Disgusting. He is the right’s Manchurian candidate.

    Also, I was started to like Tapper for his turning up the heat (however slightly) on the administration with his persistent questioning during the debt ceiling debate, but with that interview it’s obvious that he’s still a leftist lapdog.

    -E

    • #8
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    @MatthewGilley

    I wonder if Huntsman has “[any] idea” why something like 90% of the people in the state he used to serve as governor prefer Mitt Romney?

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: after watching Huntsman’s limp performance in the Iowa debate, all Obama would be doing is exchanging a fool for a wimp.

    • #9
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    @Giberson

    There is no doubt that Huntsman’s views are contrary to the majority of voting Republicans these days, so Mr. Rahe’s thesis that he has no chance of being nominated is valid. But the notion that he is therefore a Democratic mole is just too big a leap. Likewise, anyone with Obama’s Republican-appeasing track record (other than Obama himself) could NOT possibly win the Democratic nomination, but I do not think that means Obama is a Republican mole. He is just a moderate Democrat.

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    @tabularasa
    Matthew Gilley: I wonder if Huntsman has “[any] idea” why something like 90% of the people in the state he used to serve as governor prefer Mitt Romney?

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: after watching Huntsman’s limp performance in the Iowa debate, all Obama would be doing is exchanging a fool for a wimp. · Aug 22 at 8:09am

    Matthew: I think he knows–he just doesn’t care. Those of us in Utah are “so last year.” Mitt (yes he’s waffled a bit and I hate Romneycare) is an infinitely better and more talented man. The people of Utah, who have seen them both, know that.

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    @cdor

    Giberson

    “Likewise, anyone with Obama’s Republican-appeasing track record (other than Obama himself) could NOT possibly win the Democratic nomination, but I do not think that means Obama is a Republican mole. He is just a moderate Democrat.”

    Well…OK…If you say so. BUT I would love to get his ranking as a Senator (when he voted other than Present) from Tim Groseclose. I was always under the impression that Obama ranked at the top of the liberal scale. He has found that it is easier to be a complete leftist as a Senator than as a President, thanks to a group of geniuses called the Founding Fathers.

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    @Giberson

    Cdor: Good point. When Obama had only the the state of Illinois and primary voters to impress he was decidedly more liberal. His move to the center is apparently driven by pragmatism instead of ideology.

    Mr. Rahe: The large tax cut in the stimulus, the lack of a government option in Obamacare (notwithstanding its popularity), and the extension of the Bush tax cuts not excluding the rich (again, popular sentiments notwithstanding) are examples of Republican appeasement. Giving in to Republican threats to willingness to raise the debt ceiling only in exchange for a massive spending reduction is another biggie.

    Also, I think the “mainstream” of the Democratic party looks more or less like the Democratic House Caucus.

    Anyway, I do not think you would disagree with me that most Democrats are very disappointed with Obama. And not because his policies are too liberal, but because they are less so than Bush’s were conservative.

    Also, that Obama appeased Republicans “begrudgingly” does not mean it was not appeasement, as I understand the terms. Still, if your point of distinction with Huntsman is that Obama agreed to Republican conditions without agreeing to their merit, then I think it is a fair point.

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    @PaulARahe
    Giberson:

    Mr. Rahe: The large tax cut in the stimulus, the lack of a government option in Obamacare (notwithstanding its popularity), and the extension of the Bush tax cuts not excluding the rich (again, popular sentiments notwithstanding) are examples of Republican appeasement. Giving in to Republican threats to willingness to raise the debt ceiling only in exchange for a massive spending reduction is another biggi · Aug 22 at 2:04pm

    The tax cut in the stimulus had nothing to do with the Republicans and everything to do with the desire to pump up consumption. The absence of a government option in Obamacare had to do with Democrats in the Senate and not with Republicans, and the notion that the government option was popular is nonsense. How many Republicans backed the stimulus? Obamacare?

    As for the extension of the tax cuts, that was to avoid being blamed for the fact that unemployment remains high. It had nothing to do with appeasing Republicans and everything to do with the election in 2012. And the “massive reductions in spending” that you mention are not in the bill.

    This is weak, Giberson, weak.

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    @PaulARahe
    Giberson:

    Mr. Rahe: Also, I think the “mainstream” of the Democratic party looks more or less like the Democratic House Caucus. Aug 22 at 2:04pm

    If that is true, the party is on its last legs.

    Giberson: Mr. Rahe: Anyway, I do not think you would disagree with me that most Democrats are very disappointed with Obama. And not because his policies are too liberal, but because they are less so than Bush’s were conservative. · Aug 22 at 2:04pm

    The Democratic Party is — or, at least, used to be — a pretty big tent. A lot of Democrats are disappointed with Obama, to be sure. But their reasons are different. The hard left, dominant in the House, think that he should bring down the country rather than give an inch, and the folks at MSNBC and Newsweek stand with them. The ordinary Democrat looks at the unemployment and underemployment rates and thinks him a failure. Some Democrats worry that he is hostile to Israel. Some do not like Obamacare. Others do not like Dodd-Frank. But not liberal enough? He was liberal enough to bring the Republicans back from the dead. That is quite an accomplishment.

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    @PaulARahe
    Giberson: Obama’s Republican-appeasing track record . . . I do not think that means Obama is a Republican mole. He is just a moderate Democrat. · Aug 22 at 8:56am

    Edited on Aug 22 at 10:01 am

    Here is a challenge. Can you name a Republican whom Obama has appeased or genuinely sought to appease? The Republicans voted against the stimulus, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank, almost to a man. Now that they control the House Obama does have to do business with them, to be sure. And grudgingly that is what he does. But appeasement?. And if he is “a moderate Democrat,” I would like to know who counts as a mainstream Democrat. Giberson, you seem to be repeating the White House’s talking points. Are you by any chance in their employ?

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