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?