Jon Huntsman, we hardly knew ye.


BlaiseP is the pseudonym of a peripatetic software contractor whose worldly goods can fit into an elderly Isuzu Rodeo. Bitter and recondite, he favors the long view of life, the chords of Steely Dan and Umphrey's McGee, the writings of William Vollman and Thomas Pynchon, the taste of red ale and his own gumbo. Having escaped after serving seven years of a lifetime sentence to confinement in hotel rooms, he currently resides in the wilds of Eau Claire County and contemplates the intersection of mixed SRID geometries in PostGIS.

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37 Responses

  1. Christopher Carr says:

    “Nobody can win the presidency campaigning from the No Man’s Land of the middle.”

    You didn’t mean to say nobody can win a primary campaigning from the middle, did you?Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    “Methinks Huntsman had Hillary-itis”

    A very insightful and complete summary of the man’s insurmountably flawed attempt.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe says:

      To crooked eyes, truth wears a wry face.   The comparison between Huntsman and the Hildebeest fails sooner rather than later:  Hillary had more scars on her ass from previous campaigns.   She had more supporters, too.

      Hillary would have been a far better president than Obama, had she been able to downplay her vote for the War on Iraq.   In this, she’s like Huntsman:  instead of doing a Romney, backpedaling and lying and generally playing the St. Peter in the courtyard of Pilate, denying he ever knew Jesus, Hillary and Huntsman both defended their positions, always a bad move in an era of ever-decreasing soundbite size.

      Both Hillary and Huntsman are people who speak in paragraphs, a distinct liability in these times.


      • Mike in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Both Hillary and Huntsman are people who speak in paragraphs, a distinct liability in these times.

        Obama tends to speak in paragraphs as well. It’s one of the things the right wing has attacked him for, not being “plain spoken” enough when most of their candidates, as well as the right wing hate machine, can boil anything they need to down to a bumper-sticker sized “Barack Huszein iz a Commie!” slogan of some sort or other. You know their type: they post here under names like Tom Van Dyke.

        It is a mark of sadness for America that actually electing intelligent people is not even a secondary goal of a sizable minority of the electorate, and every day the right wing inches closer to electing President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho and having cabinet members brought to you by fast food franchises.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Mike says:

          “can boil anything they need to down to a bumper-sticker sized “Barack Huszein iz a Commie!” slogan of some sort or other. You know their type: they post here under names like Tom Van Dyke.”

          I think you’re confusing Tom with Bob.  Tom is the one with the big sunglasses.Report

        • Matty in reply to Mike says:

          You can accuse TVD of many things but that kind of brevity is not one of them. He’s the guy who won’t write God where he could write putatively theistic explanationReport

      • Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Hillary dissembled the snot out of her Iraq war vote during the primary.  (Some combo of the Bush lied argument and one that said a vote authorizing the use of military force wasn’t really a vote for war)Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe says:

          Had she simply said “The party leadership told me to vote for the war and I did so.  Blame them.  I stood with John Kerry and said there had better goddamn well be WMDs.   There weren’t.   I want an end to the war, NOW” she could have gotten out of it.   She didn’t.Report

          • Jeff in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Indeed.  I’m willing to listen to more than a sound-bite from someone, so if Ms Clinton had made some kind of justification for her vote, it would have gone a long way with me.  Of course, being from Cali, I don’t have much if any impact on the Primaries.

            That said, “Bush lied” can’t just be swept under the rug.  If you have the head of the CIA lying to Congress, where are the Senators supposed to get their information?Report

  3. wardsmith says:

    Tow things. One this is an excellent article. What this country NEEDS is a Jon Huntsman leading things from the middle rather than what we’ll get, another polarizing politician ginned up by the media to drive advertizing revenue (middle left vs middle right = middling income). Obama speaks in paragraphs NOW, because he can, he’s got the bully pulpit. But as was famously proven during the campaign, his supporters had no fishing idea what he stood for, they just heard the word “Change” and saw something different.

    The second thing is you appear to have gotten front page status while I was busy elsewhere? Still don’t see your name on the masthead Mr. Pascal, but this is an excellent addition to an excellent cast of characters. Belated congratulations are in order sir.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

      Many thanks.   Indeed the country needs someone to govern from the center.   But that’s not the way to campaign.   Revelation 3:

      I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

      Obama’s campaign tried to be post-partisan, as Obama himself had been during his time in the Illinois Senate.  Obama had plenty of substantive positions and papers to support them.  True, not many folks were prowling around his website, looking for those positions.   But his enemies were, and they knew he would try to reform health care and get rid of Guantanamo.

      To say Obama’s supporters didn’t understand his message baffles me, frankly.   Hopey Changey he might have been but he explained his changes in great detail. People do not extend hope like a blank check:  they hope for something.

      Hope, you see, is rather like falling in love.  Most of our political choices are the same:  we project our hopes, very specific hopes, onto the beloved.   Many times those hopes will not be fulfilled yet we hope, all the evidence notwithstanding.  Those people may not deserve our hopes: nobody can fill in the potholes in the road of someone else’s life.

      If people put their hopes onto Obama, his enemies had the same reaction in reverse.   Obama was the enemy, despite his amazing record of bipartisanship in Illinois.   His record in the Senate wasn’t so terrible either.   No matter.  What Rush Limbaugh said was truth enough and the compliant GOP wouldn’t cooperate with anything Obama did because Rush told them not to.   We really must discuss the impact of the talk radio blowhards on the GOP sometime.  It seems obvious to me the GOP is weak willed, completely unable to free themselves from the maniac fringe.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Romney leads by 23 points nationally.  I’m not feeling the narrative.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Well, yes he does.  Romney isn’t campaigning from the middle.   Allow me to be the Clue to the Clueless here, so many of my carefully honed screeds tend to zoom over the flattened frontal lobes of some folks hereabouts. He’s calling Obama the Socialist Debbil and he’s the Grand Exorcist who will Fire People.

          Now, Romney doesn’t really think these things, he knows Republicans are a collection of stupid mouth breathers who listen to Rush all the live-long day, alternately stuffing their mouths with popcorn and screaming that half-chewed popcorn into their laps in terror like so many kids watching some horror movie in the multiplex theater.   It’s all so much entertainment.   Rush knows it, you know it, I know it…. but let’s face facts here, Tom, Republicans are not exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer.

          So Romney will say whatever people want to hear.   He’s already backed away from RobomneyCare and everything else he did as a perfectly reasonable moderately conservative governor.   But we know better, he means exactly none of it.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Blaise, Romney’s a squish on social issues and a fiscal conservative, what “everybody” says they want.

            Nobody buys Romney’s obligatory tap dance for the right, not even his supporters.  Other people aren’t as dumb as you think they are, not even Republicans.  😉Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              How very right you are, Mr. Van Dyke.   You are not dumb.   Most of the readers of this blog are not dumb.   You know Romney’s shuck and jive is all for show.   And we all know Romney and the Republicans are all noisily fellating Fox News and the FM Blowhards.   TV ads are expensive.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              I question Romney’s fiscal conservatism.   Tom, I don’t believe a word that man says.   He’s a Chatty Cathy doll.  You can see the string coming out of his back.   Pull it and he’ll utter something stupid and banal and focus group tested.

              Romney is a squish, from prow to stern.   He will keep none of his promises.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              If you’re on the campaign trail and you’re doing a self-beneficial tap dance for one of the ideological sides, whether it’s the jig you do when you get out of bed in the morning or not, still that is what it is to campaign from a side rather than from the middle.  If Romney starts dancing for the middle in the summer (of course he will) or next month (conceivable), more power to him; that’s when he’ll be campaigning from the middle.  But right now he’s campaigning from the right (for example just today calling for a federal Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and nothing else).

              Campaigning is an act, not an identity.  Although perhaps it’s starting to get to be an identity for Willard Romney.Report

          • I agree with TVD. Romney is a classic panderer. His voting record doesn’t even differ that much from BHO’s. He’ll definitely make a sharp left into the middle as soon as this insane primary where only the most insane fringe of the populus votes is over.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Christopher Carr says:

              I’m fine w/Romney’s record of fiscal responsibility and technocratic competence.  He’s just what we need and has been my affirmative choice all along.

              That’s he’s not ideological is a virtue in my eyes, at this particular moment in our history.  Neither would I admire him for refusing to play the game, as Jon Huntsman did.  Seeing through the game isn’t the same thing as winning the game; I don’t want Don Quixote or Hamlet as my nominee or president.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Hope is what we’ve got when nothing’s happened yet.   You’re being led down the primrose path.   Soon enough it will all end up in a very bad place.   Romney’s no model for technocratic competence.   He’s a mule skinner.   You will rue the day you ever plumped for his skeevy ass.

                I sorta hope Romney wins, just so Rush Limbaugh will die of a massive brain aneurysm when he realizes how badly he was duped.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                TalkRadioRight has not been onboard with Romney.  They admit they’ll be dragged kicking and screaming to the GOP altar.  We’re not discussing reality here.Report

      • Wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Old news I’m sure but huntsman threw in the towel and threw in with mitt. Wonder if president romney will make him ambassador to china?;-)Report

      • DarrenG in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Indeed the country needs someone to govern from the center.

        I wish this particular myth would die a long-deserved death. On many issues there simply *is* no center (science vs. received wisdom, economics-via-Ayn-Rand-novel vs. anything else…).

        Many of the most important issues require taking a definitive stand between competing and mutually exclusive ideologies. Trying to find a halfway point between is futile in these cases, and even if you did it likely isn’t the best possible policy outcome.

        On others, the parties are already center-right vs. extreme right (war vs. Even More War, corporate welfare vs Even More Corporate Welfare, indefinite detention vs. indefinite detention with a side of extra torture), so “governing from the center” would be a large lurch toward the left.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to DarrenG says:

          Let’s consider your point on a practical basis.  Were all our politicians to stick to their guns, rejecting all compromise, we should have no working government.   This we see from the GOP these days:  they refuse to put judges on the bench nor will they allow Obama to appoint department heads.

          Why is this so?  Because in a very real sense, you’re right.  He whose negotiations begin with an overture for compromise shall harden the spine of his adversary.   You don’t start the game of tug-of-war holding the rope in the middle or you’re immediately pulled over the line.  Obama simply didn’t understand the rules of the game.

          Well, neither did the Republicans.   Confronted with the Tea Partiers in their ranks, they found their Intransigence worked against them when they most needed a little flexibility.   The country very nearly came to the brink of the abyss and the Tea Party would have let it fall in.   We all know this is true.

          Our republican form of government obliges the Congress to reach internal consensus.   The House is supposed to take the short-term popular view of things, the Senate the long-term view, or thus it was constructed initially.   Though there never was a time when political parties didn’t have influence,  it seems obvious enough the problem isn’t so much Left or Right anymore.   It’s party leadership locked in endless trench warfare.   Half the stuff the GOP opposes today they cheered a few years back. The Democrats, for all their righteous indignation, never stood up to Obama on Executive Privilege and took back the marshal’s baton they’d handed to Bush43.

          May I second your assessment of Center Left versus Extreme Right.   The Liberals in this country are as extinct as the plesiosaurs.


          • Jeff in reply to BlaiseP says:

            ” The Liberals in this country are as extinct as the plesiosaurs.”


            Meep!!??  (That’s Plesiosaur for “Say it ain’t so?  Than what am I????”)Report

          • wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Blaise, tu quoque arguments are non-starters for obvious reasons, but I clearly remember the Democrats not allowing up-or-down votes on over 100 judge appointments during Bush43’s reign. I also remember haranguing from their side of the aisle about any number of things that you correctly recognize are given a pass by both the former Democrat majority and the current mainstream media.

            Politics as practiced in this country is a dead end proposition. “Governing” has gone out the window, replaced by raw unadulterated power ploys. The alternate history fiction story that always runs around my head is Flight 93 running into Congress, just as Tom Clancy ahem, intended.Report

          • DarrenG in reply to BlaiseP says:

            I’m not sure you responded to my actual point about there not being a center between some propositions. How do you even approach compromise between mutually-exclusive endpoints (i.e. what’s the midpoint between the PPACA and Ryan/Romney’s VoucherCare?)

            Can you expand on what “governing from the center” actually looks like, according to you?Report

      • mike in reply to BlaiseP says:

        We really must discuss the impact of the talk radio blowhards on the GOP sometime.  It seems obvious to me the GOP is weak willed, completely unable to free themselves from the maniac fringe.

        Funny. When I point out how the lobotomized idiots that make up the core of the GOP follow the word of the Big Fat Druggie and the rest of his cohorts in the right wing propaganda machine, I’m called “extreme” on this site.

        Morning talk radio is Orwell’s “two minutes hate” writ large; Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck can interchangeably be the real-life equivalent of Lewis Prothero. And it’d be trivially easy to take Limbaugh and Godwin this thread right now as well, save that he knows he makes more money being a hatemonger behind a microphone than actually running for office.

        And then we get to the revisionists. The “retooling” of Ronny Reagan the Patron Saint of Holy Conservatism, the outright lies and idiocy of Palin, Huckabee, Bachmann, and Gingrich that makes the “Ministry of Truth” look like amateur hour at the Improv. The amount of doublethink required to keep the brains of people like TVD from attempting explosive cranial exit must be staggering.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to mike says:

          Some while back, I got on the Atheists’ case about Obnoxious Street Preachers, that they lack manners, condemning what others believe out of hand. I’ll be damned if I’m going to fall into the same trap with Conservative Demagogues.

          Rush Limbaugh is a force to be reckoned with in the world at large, but let’s not condemn his followers without a fuller understanding of why they listen to him.   Consider Fox News, how do they achieve those amazing ratings/share numbers?   Every Liberal attempt to enter that market space has proven a dismal, pathetically hilarious failure.

          Liberals make terrible demagogues.  Now that’s the sad fact of the matter.

          That’s why we need a discussion on the subject. We’re our own demagogues hereabouts. I’m genuinely interested in finding out what other folks think about why Rush and Fox are so popular and why Liberals make no headway in this space.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to mike says:

          Funny. When I point out how the lobotomized idiots that make up the core of the GOP follow the word of the Big Fat Druggie and the rest of his cohorts in the right wing propaganda machine, I’m called “extreme” on this site.

          The problem lies in the oh-so-clever nickname Big Fat Druggie. As well as your assumption that people who say things that you disagree with are Limbaugh’s acolytes. And that you refer to those who disagree with you as “lobotomized idiots.” There’s more than that, but that’ll do for now.

          However good your ideas may be, you do not present yourself as someone to be taken seriously.Report

  4. Thank you for your article.Really thank you!Report