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The Failure of the Huntsman campaign mirrors the failure of the Republican Party

Call me crazy, but the fact that Jon Huntsman couldn’t get any traction at all with Republican voters and is now dropping out of the race, shows how bankrupt the Republican party has become.

It is ironic that the day Huntsman announced he was withdrawing from the race was the same day he was endorsed by South Carolina’s largest newspaper. They endorsed him because Huntsman was “more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message.” Actually, it seems to me that Huntsman was the only candidate who had a message, other than the message of the other “Party of No” candidates who seem to simply against anything and everything Obama has done.

Huntsman distinguished himself from the other Republican candidates by running a largely positive campaign, spending “more of his time in debates pushing his own views for improving the economy than thumping the president or his opponents.” As Huntsman put it himself “I don’t think you need to run down somebody’s reputation in order to run for the office of president.”

But the fact that he had served the Obama administration as Ambassador to China tainted Huntsman. What kind of political party views serving your country as “working on behalf of the opposition”? Has partisanship become so much more important than love for your country?

Huntsman was also ignored by conservatives because he was unwilling to kiss up to the radical right. Huntsman was the kind of conservative I respect — a fiscal conservative who also believes in science. What kind of party rejects a candidate because he openly believes in evolution, and listens to scientists when they warn us about global warming?

In the end, Huntsman didn’t have what it takes to be a Republican candidate, which seems to be a consuming message of hate, a willingness to change your principles to kowtow to the radical right, and lots and lots of corporate money to spend.

UPDATE: Huntsman ended his press conference Sunday by saying “This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy of this critical time. At its core, the Republican Party is a party of ideas, but the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause.” Amen.

I just have to add, I can’t figure out why nobody (neither the media or the voters) paid much attention to Huntsman. He is photogenic and charismatic, making him a good opponent for Obama. He had a stunning 90% approval rating as governor of Utah, one of the reddest and most conservative states in the US. As a moderate, he also appeals to independents; critical to winning a presidential election. Time magazine called him “the Republican Democrats fear most” and Obama’s campaign manager said that the prospect of facing Huntsman in 2012 made him “a wee bit queasy”. Critics say that he didn’t have enough name recognition, but that didn’t stop Republicans from supporting Sarah Palin. Do you have to be a nutcase to get attention in the Republican party?



  1. thefunrev wrote:

    Huntsman was the only candidate in the GOP field that I could even imagine voting for…and that only if, as the nominee, he had been able to stand up to the right wing and pick a superbly qualified non-ideolog as a running mate. I respect him tremendously for stepping up when the President called on him to serve, as I would have respected Judd Gregg had he not withdrawn from consideration as Commerce Secretary. I am saddened and scared by the insistence of the extremists in the GOP who fail to understand that service always trumps ideology.

    I sincerely hope that in 2016 a similarly wide-open GOP field offers Huntsman another opportunity to be a frontrunner because I hope that by then the party has come to its senses. Assuming, of course, that we aren’t foolish enough to elect Romney and his undoubtedly troubling running mate this year. Ugh.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  2. David Chess wrote:

    “Do you have to be a nutcase to get attention in the Republican party?”

    Ummmm… Is that a trick question? 🙂

    See also Gary Johnson.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  3. Duckman wrote:

    Please pick up a popular democrat for VP and make a run as independent 🙁

    On that note…


    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  4. Rusty Patella wrote:

    “Do you have to be a nutcase to get attention in the Republican party?”

    No, but it helps.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    He didn’t have Karl Rove behind who doesn’t care a bit about the conservative issues but knows they are the ones that get the people riled. And the only news people who don’t have Internet is Fox News to brain wash. No newspapers.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink
  6. ThatGuy wrote:

    I was hoping he wouldn’t endorse Romney, or anyone for that matter. The fact that he did is disappointing, as Romney has absolutely no convictions other than wanting to be president, whereas Huntsman was respectable for a number of reasons listed above.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink
  7. Sammy wrote:

    I think your answer lies in these six words: “…who also believes in science.”

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Thatguy — I think Huntsman’s strategy this time around was to gain name recognition for a run in 2016. In that case, it is good tactics to endorse Romney (even though he has previously called Romney a “well oiled wind vane”).

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  9. Sammy wrote:

    My dad was a math teacher. I should be more careful counting.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
  10. Falkelord wrote:

    My theory is that Huntsman did all he could to run a legitimate, well-oppositioned campaign to challenge romney and obama.

    he threw everything he could and didn’t get as close as the ones who are sensationalist.

    So he says “fine, you want crazy? you obviously don’t want decent platforms I’m offering, so go ahead. Vote for mitt romney. Let him lead you and you’ll realize what a mistake you’ve made.”

    If so, he’s a cold cold bastard. He’s the only candidate I feared that could take on obama.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:38 am | Permalink
  11. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I actually like that he didn’t decide to double down on insanity…at least not too much. I have much more respect for the man who says, “you are all nuts, I’m out” than one who says, “ok, you want crazy? I’ll give you crazy.”

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink