Jon Huntsman, we hardly knew ye.
When your biggest supporters in print are people who won’t vote for you, your campaign’s in trouble. The Liberals killed Huntsman with kindness, or at least that sort of condescending attitude which says “Hey, you don’t sweat much for a fat girl.”
Huntsman shouldn’t have run in the first place. Coming off an ambassadorial appointment from a Democratic president, he just smelled too bipartisan in a race which doesn’t want to play that tune. He needed to reinvigorate his GOP mojo, get some more credentials in the Conservative camp, whispered in more important ears, forged a sword worth swinging.
Methinks Huntsman had Hillary-itis.
‘Memba when Hillary Clinton was running for president? She’d worked hard in the Senate, building up bipartisan chops, making important friends on both sides of the aisle, doing good work for New York State, getting out there in the back country ( it’s a large, often poor and intensely rural state, with many conservatives back in those frozen valleys and rust belt cities) humbly listening to the concerns of her constituency, earning their grudging respect. Orrin Hatch, a fundamentally decent man, capable of working with his intellectual opponents became something of a friend and mentor for Hillary Clinton. Hillary threw a baby shower for Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) at her own home. Hillary was deferential to senior members of the Senate, exhibiting the values and precepts we’d hope to see in a politician who’d made her share of mistakes and learned from them.
Both Hillary and Huntsman sought to bring their brand of reasonable bipartisan spirit to the Executive and both failed. Nobody can win the presidency campaigning from the No Man’s Land of the middle. This is a country where brand carries more freight than quality. It seems Advertising understands us as a species rather better than we do, ourselves. This paragraph is composed of threadbare platitudes but the presidency has become sealed into the realm of mythic heroes. We want a Beowulf to slay the monsters. What we get is Lemuel Gulliver, mostly, become a weapon in the political wars of the Big-Endians versus the Little-Endians.
Jon Huntsman came to Washington in Ronald Reagan’s train. He served capably as an administrator of trade and commerce under Bush41. Huntsman only entered the race for governor of Utah when his friend and mentor, then-governor of Utah Mike Leavitt went to work for Bush41. Mike Leavitt is another one of those too-nice-by-half guys, unfit for promotion in the partisan ranks of the GOP for that reason. Oh, and Mike Leavitt helped work on ObamaCare. Bad, bad, bad.
Presidents get the credit for things they didn’t do and none for the things they accomplish in their terms in office, cases in point, Bush41 (and Al Gore) for putting the world online through the Internet, leading to the Internet boom — and Jimmy Carter for deregulating the Savings and Loans, which led to the brief flush of false prosperity under Ronald Reagan. It would be Bush41 who would be left holding the bag when all those speculative commercial real estate ventures failed and he would never get a second term. Al Gore was scorned for noting his own role in creating the Internet, though Vint Cerf, the actual architect of the Internet would defend Al Gore.
Well, Plastic Man Romney will likely get the GOP nomination and Huntsman has thrown him his support. Both Obama’s and Romney’s chances vary directly with the economic recovery and the price of gasoline at the pump. The economic recovery cannot be directly controlled by the US government, though that’s what you’ll hear from the stump. Neither Obama nor Romney can be relied on to campaign honestly, not that either man is a liar. They both know America will only listen to what it wants to hear. Platitudes and the application of cheap nostrums is what we seem to want these days. The GOP isn’t above lending some support to a dissenter such as Ron Paul, but this doesn’t violate the trend. We want simple answers to complex problems, most of which are beyond the abilities of even Gulliver in Lilliput.