The Jon Huntsman Syndrome (An Insiders Look at the GOP)

Dennis Sanders

Dennis is the pastor of a small Protestant congregation outside St. Paul, MN and also a part-time communications consultant. A native of Michigan, you can check out his writings over on Medium and subscribe to his Substack newsletter on religion and politics called Polite Company.  Dennis lives in Minneapolis with his husband Daniel.

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16 Responses

  1. BlaiseP says:

    Mark Kirk is the Republican’s version of John Kerry. Good lookin’ guy with a great service record — who just can’t stop embellishing it. He’s embarrassing. Politicking in uniform, too.Report

  2. MikeSchilling says:

    Regardless, it’s true that GOP primary voters are far more conservative than the general electorate (including other Republicans who vote in the general), and thus more moderte candidates are handicapped in the primary. That might not be dispositive: a good candidate can overcome that handicap, but it’s a fact.Report

  3. Tim Kowal says:

    Thanks for sharing Liz Mair. I’ll keep my eye out for more from her.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    Good find. Feel free to have stuff like this go up on the FP rather than OTC, btw.Report

  5. M.A. says:

    I read the whole thing and it sounds like just yet more of the “we don’t need to change, we just need to message better” nonsense.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to M.A. says:

      Then you ignored large parts of it.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m sorry, but I kind of have to agree with M.A.

        Yes, she mentions the problem with immigration and education and rightly points out that George W. Bush got traction because he stood for actual policies on those things, rightly or wrongly. Also, it mentioned that the party needs to be ‘for’ something, instead of just against Obama.

        But, there’s no realization that for the most part, Republican ideas simply aren’t selling all that well and it’s the underlying ideas that are the problem, not just the candidates or the fact Obama’s technology team was much better.

        Note, I’m not saying a center-right party couldn’t win an election. But, what I am saying is like many in the GOP, there’s no sense of, “what we’ve been selling for the past thirty years has reached the end of the road. We need to take a new path or we’re done for. Here’s some ideas on what we can stand for instead.”

        I understand why she can’t say, “we need to shut up the crazies and not be obsessed with Benghazi anymore.” But, there also doesn’t seem to be a lot of solutions put out there than typical, kinda weak-tea, “be for something strongly!”Report

        • Just because she doesn’t advocate the policy changes you would like tosee ddoesn’t mean that she’s only talking about branding. She’s talking about the partyaasking itself what it wants to be and making policy proposals accordingly. I think that’s exactly right and not a shallow re branding.Report

    • Russell M in reply to M.A. says:

      I have to go with will here. Liz actually wants republicans to stop being the stupid and if they want to stop losing winnable races to do the work and be consistent. her point on Akin being the best candidate in the primary was spot on.(if depressing)
      My interpretation is she wants the party to actually live up to what they say their ideals are which is the last thing the Jindal/Cantor/Rubio “Rebranding” is about.Report

      • M.A. in reply to Russell M says:

        The same guy (Jindal) who called for them not to be the “stupid party” is pushing creationism-in-schools in Louisiana. There’s not a lot of room to assume good faith that they don’t actually want to BE stupid, they just want to lose the branding that got them to that perception.Report

        • Russell M in reply to M.A. says:

          yes i know which is why i would prefer that the republicans actually adjust to reality rather then just window dressing. no amount of media training could make Akin not look Stupid. so I hope they get better because i do tire of constant war.Report

  6. Russell M says:

    Thanks for sending me to liz DS. i am always trying to add republicans i can disagree with who make sense to my Blogroll. living in the echo chamber is bad for my health.

    Also nice to read whatever you put up.Report

  7. Will Truman says:

    Now that I am at a computer, I can respond more completely.

    Thanks for sharing the link, Dennis. I agree with parts of it. My current view of the primary problem of the GOP is that it is an exercise in cognitive dissonance. This addresses that without yielding to the temptation of “… and this should be settled by the GOP supporting exactly those policies which I happen to prefer!” trap.

    I think the Huntsman article is… incomplete, though. It is the case that Huntsman (disclaimer: I voted for him) made some mistakes, though I do think that the biggest mistake was one he made prior to be a candidate: accepting a position in the Obama administration. Once you do that, Republican or Democrat, it’s really hard to win your party’s nomination. I do agree that the other candidates mentioned made mistakes, but I don’t think that the implication that therefore they would have made bad general election candidates applies. Once they had the nomination, they would have had a lot more institutional support than they did, I think.Report