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Huntsman the Truth-Teller

One of the problems being a moderate right now is that the Republican party has gone so far to the crazy right that it is hard to find any balance in politics. So it is absolutely wonderful to see a candidate like Jon Huntsman, who is something I didn’t think I would see in the current presidential election: A Sane Republican. At a time when other candidates are falling over each other to double down on craziness, Huntsman is doubling down on sanity.

Huntsman started with this tweet:

To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.

Ten minutes later, most Republicans would be trying desperately to explain what they really meant to say. So who could have guessed that Huntsman would follow up by saying something like this on national TV:

The minute that 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, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science – Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.

This gives me hope for the Republican party. Hopefully, the current race to the extreme right will eventually burn itself out (and even more hopefully take Fox News with it) and when that happens, Huntsman, or a candidate like him, will be there to be an actual alternative to the Democrats.

Already, some of the pundits are guessing that Huntsman is only running this time as a warmup for the real event, in 2016. Other pundits are being more generous, crediting Huntsman of playing a much-needed role in our current nutso politics — the truth teller.

But still other pundits worry that Huntsman, while saying things that are brave by Republican presidential candidate standards (note that these standards are pretty low, consisting mainly of praising Saint Ronnie and damning Obama), are still fairly safe things to say, since they are things that most of the media (with the exception of Fox News) generally agree with. So Huntsman’s statements tend to get plenty of media attention, while other bold statements, like Ron Paul calling for the end of the failed “War on Drugs”, are pretty much ignored by the media.

So is what Huntsman is saying brave, or merely canny? You know, I don’t really care. I’m just happy that there are actual candidates out there willing to help bring the Republicans back from the brink of insanity.



  1. Mark wrote:

    I am with you… at least someone is out there trying to balance and bring reason to the right… not that anyone would get my vote, but geez, give me something to think about so I have to make a choice other than defaulting to the Dems because the Repug candidate is so terrible…

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
  2. A REGULAR READER wrote:

    …And then Huntsman announces that he would gladly serve as Bachmann’s VP. (The sanity was nice while it lasted.)

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Arthanyel wrote:

    If Bachmann were to be elected (heaven forbid) then I would hope Huntsman was the VP – it could trigger (pun intended) the shortest Presidency in history.

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    Today I e-mailed my sister and said”The only Republican candidate I’d be interested in is Huntsman. She said that she and her mailman had come to the same conclusion. Then you write this article. Really ironic.

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  5. Don wrote:

    My curiosity is piqued with Houseman. At this point, unique among a field of crazies and CS peddlers.

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    “A Regular Reader” — at least he tried to backtrack from that statement. See

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink
  7. A REGULAR READER wrote:

    Praise the proverbial Lord for that bit of backpedaling! It so embarrassing to live in a country where every opposition candidate is a cartoon, and Huntsman seemed liked the one exception.

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink
  8. David Freeman wrote:

    Every politician, every human for that matter, needs to backpedal on statements occasionally. Who among us has never inserted foot in mouth? Who has never held and expressed a stupid opinion? Who has never been ignorant and blithely ignorant of said ignorance?

    It’s the ones who refuse to acknowledge error and refuse to grow that scare me. When found wrong, Palin, Perry and Bachmann double down and put it in overdrive.

    That said, I’d like to see Huntsman carefully lower his arm from when he joined the other 7 in the Fox debate in refusing to raise $1 in revenue even in exchange for $10 in cuts. Really?

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink
  9. starluna wrote:

    I’m with David on this one. I’m very happy to see any Republican join the rest of us on issues that have a fairly heavy evidence base. But his views on evolution and climate change are less important than his views on economic policy. At least at this moment. If he is bent on “starving” the federal government of any revenue to support real science education, do real science that has a relationship to evolution (like all vaccine research), or prepare for (and maybe even mitigate) climate change impacts, his views on the matter are not as important. At least not to me.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    I didn’t say I agreed with everything Huntsman believes in (or even everything he says he believes in). Heck, I don’t even agree with some things Obama believes in.

    But (being a fiscal conservative) I at least have sympathy for people who do not want higher taxes and want to reduce government spending. So while I agree with David that Huntsman shouldn’t have raised his arm, I’d like to point out that even starve-the-beast Reagan raised taxes when he had to. I would love to see an actual fiscal conservative Republican party that keeps constant pressure on to lower unnecessary government spending (rather than the current Republican party that spends money like drunken sailors on wars and welfare giveaways to big business when they are in power).

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  11. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    The reason you like Huntsman so much is that he is obviously on Team Obama!

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink