Posted on January 16, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 25 Comments
Given my endorsement (such as it was) of Jon Huntsman, I’m getting e-mail and tweets from people who want to know what my thoughts are about the man dropping out of the presidential race and endorsing Romney. Well, neither is exactly a surprise, now, are they. Huntsman, conservative but pragmatic and willing to work with (and even for) people of different political stripes, never really caught on in this year’s political scrum; the fact that he worked for the evil death-panel-loving socialist Obama in any capacity pretty much sealed his fate before he even got started. Some people wish to intimate that was Obama’s reason for appointing him ambassador to China in the first place, which would have been some pretty deep thinking on the president’s part. Not that Obama’s not smart, but I’m not inclined to give that hypothesis much credence.
I think it’s a shame Huntsman didn’t get much traction for reasons that I’ve already noted, but look. Even in a world where Huntsman hadn’t have taken the China ambassadorship from Obama, he would have been a long shot, especially in the current political climate. At a certain point he was going to have to cut his losses; personally I suspect that point was when he saw that he could get Romney to agree to make him his Secretary of State, which is a gig I could see Huntsman wanting, enjoying and possibly being really good at. Throwing his 5% at Romney in South Carolina, when Romney’s been on the decline and conservatives are desperate to keep him from getting a victory? That’s a pretty good time. At the very least it confirms my opinion that Huntsman isn’t stupid.
He sure isn’t stupid enough to stay in a race while spending milions he doesn’t have to, unlke a few other candidates who are staying in the race even while they have the chance of a snowball in July of lasting.
I hope they go broke doing it (Gingrich).
Ah, races where “isn’t stupid” is a ringing endorsement!
Gingrich surely isn’t using his own money.
I have heard Huntsman referred to as the Conservative that only non-Conservatives like. And that squares with what I’ve seen. Most of the people I’ve heard who like him aren’t Conservative.
Despite his obvious Conservative credentials, Huntsman never really clicked with Conservatives. And he never had a chance at the nomination.
Some trailers tend to stay in the race hoping to pick up some delegates for convention horse-trading. Indeed, some of them get in the race in the first place just to have delegates for the intra-party power plays at the convention.
Huntsman got in hoping to be the compromise andidate between party factions, but Romney already had that ground covered.
“Gingrich surely isn’t using his own money.”
That’s probably true. Ha, so his backers would be just as dumb or dumber then?
Pawlenty – out
Cain – out
Bachmann – out
Huntsman – out
Interesting that two of the four major candidates to drop out of the race so far were rational moderates of some stripe. (And Cain, for obvious moral reasons. (Why are recently discovered indiscretions so bad versus historical ones?))
(Bachmann – Batshit crazy can get you only so many votes.)
Why does it feel that Perry and the rest are staying in the race, hoping to become the ANYONE but Romney candidate?
I’ve been wondering if he’s doing what Romney did, and is setting long-term groundwork for the next election cycle in 2016 if Romney doesn’t (and I don’t think that he’ll be able to beat Obama) win the election this time around.
My first thought this morning when I heard the news was that he he just got himself appointed Sec. of State if Romney wins.
Waiting to see what happens with the Stephen “Not My Super PAC Any More” Colbert run for the Presidency in SC. That could get interesting.
I’m perfectly willing to give credence to the view that sending Huntsman to China to muffle his political capital was *a* reason, but definitely far behind “dude’s a perfect fit for the job” and bipartisanship.
I’d also agree that Huntsman may well be looking at 2016.
Honestly I think Obama *did* appoint Huntsman as Ambassador to China because right before he did so Huntsman was pegged the Republicans new rising star most likely to win in 2012. I also think that Huntsman *only* ran this time to get his name out there for 2016, his best chance for winning the whole enchilada.
Gah! An entire phrase disappeared from my first sentence! It should read, “Honestly I think Obama *did* appoint Huntsman as Ambassador to China as an election strategy…”
No dumber than any other political donors. With few exceptions, I think most candidates run on other people’s money. The only one I can think of right now that did spend at least some of his own money is Bloomberg.
Much of what Huntsman’s campaign became for non-conservatives (and for some of Scalzi’s support) is in RIchard Dreyfuss’ monologuing rant from 2006.
Regarding the “Obama was devious and appointed Huntsman as ambassador to China to undercut him in the 2012 primaries”… um, doesn’t that imply Huntsman is not that bright for accepting? If he truly felt that he wanted to run for President at the time the nomination was made and he felt that accepting the post would hurt him in his party then he could have declined. You can’t make the argument that Huntsman is bright and a decent candidate AND make the conspiracy-nut argument that Obama was scheming to undercut him. Pick one.
Drat…I was so hoping for SOMEONE I could vote for in March in the Ohio Primary…
I figured Obama appointed Huntsman to China because he had previously been ambassador to Singapore and he speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. Besides which, he isn’t a “death to the other party” fanatic like so many are these days.
The knock on Huntsman from inside conservative political wonkery is that Huntsman was a smug, pedantic, egotistical RINO. (Special note: I am not saying this, they are saying this.) It’s not all that different from the knock on Romney in 2008. One of the truly bizarre things about the Republican party and conservativism in general is that perceptions of brains is a net negative. One can’t get caught being too smart lest one see one’s conservative credentials confiscated. Of course, Obama’s arguably one of the more intelligent Presidents in recent times, yet this hasn’t translated terribly well for him in the leadership department. Which (perhaps?) speaks to the difference between being smart, and being wise. Are any of the remaining Republicans wise? How about Obama, after four years in the hot seat? I know Newt fancies himself as the wise one, but here again I think we have some confusion between brains, and wisdom. Newt’s a theorist at heart — and the problem with theorists is that they often get very angry when reality fails to conform to their ideals.
I still say Mitt by 52%, after a long, taxing election year — when enough Democrats and Republicans and unaffiliateds alike look at their dwindled choices in the ballot booth, and sigh, “I just can’t buy another 4 years of Hope and Change.”
Although I’m one of the few who was on Team Huntsman, he certainly didn’t make that easy. Even though his positions, political background, and agenda were conservative, Huntsman went out of his way to distance himself from conservatives; the people who actually vote in Republican primaries; and appeal to the MSM; the people who don’t vote in Republican primaries.
Blame it on the rain. And Huntsman’s campaign consultant John Weaver who considers Republican primary voters as “cranks” and did his best to keep Huntsman away from Republican voters.
I still think Huntsman has the potential makings of a great Presidential candidate, but not for this election cycle. Maybe he can try again without Weaver.
There was a period in my life when I was urged to go into State politics as a candidate. I am so glad that I dodged that bullet. I’m really becoming almost becoming afraid that the winner (probably Obama) will pull it off with like 48% of the popular vote and less than 300 in the Electoral College.
So, uh, any other Republican contenders who aren’t climate-change or evolution denialists?
I don’t see any, and the implications of that should fucking terrify you.
Well, this Republican is a naturalized citizen. That means I actually stood and took the oath to pledge my loyalty to the United States. At no point in the process was asked to pledge my loyalty to either political party.
And so if the Republican Party can’t get it together enough to nominate a character who is not a megalomaniac (Gingrich, Perry), empty suit (Romney, Santorum) or utter loon, then this R is switching to RINO and will be campaigning for Obama. Huntsman was the only mature adult and conscientious statesman running this time around, and everything that’s good about him is also everything that’s made him lose the nomination.
Maybe if Romney promises to nominate Hunstman for the State secretariat, it would not be too awful. But then, President Obama can do that too if Secretary Clinton retires.
No. One could certainly infer that Huntsman is not bright, if one were to assume that there’s no benefit to the ambassadorship whatsoever, and that if there is, it is far outweighed by the net political gain of staying home. Because I don’t infer that Huntsman is not that bright, I assume that he is capable of weighing pros and cons and deciding that the pros weighed in favor of his accepting. Oh, and then there’s that whole service-to-one’s-country thingy. The fact that you can’t manage to reconcile ‘Huntsman was smart to accept’ and ‘Obama had perhaps an ulterior motive or two in addition to the larger ones’ does not make everybody else a conspiracy nut. Also, btw, I’m curious as to whom you think the current administration conspired with
@Brad: Dude. We get it, you adore Romney and you’re sure he’ll win by 52%, but you’re starting to sound like a teenager smitten with a brand-new significant other. You know, the one who can’t talk about any subject without bringing the boyfriend/girlfriend into it. “Cold, isn’t it?” “Oh, sure. Do you know, Pat grew up in Montana and it gets even colder there!”
Huntsman will be missed. I doubt that he’ll get a nod for VP, because he won’t bring in the conservative vote that Romney will need.
Huntsman was the only person that I would have considered voting for. I probably won’t vote this year, because I’m tired of the political climate in washington. Obama, while not bad, has not been good either. He should have done more when he had the congressional majority backing him. I’m generally a republican, but I can’t see anything I feel hopeful about.
And for those of you who say I can’t bitch unless I vote…well, thats fucking stupid. Of course I can. Its America. And if I’m abstaining from the political process because I can’t really differentiate between the two flavors of shit being shoved down my throat, who are they to judge me? I at least pay attention to politics, year round, and try to vote with my ideals. If you’re only voting for a party line, then I say YOU are the problem with America.
(sorry if this post comes off as aggressive. Its really not)