Tag Archives: jon huntsman

Secretary of State Jon Huntsman?

Jon Huntsman  _   http://mariopiperni.com/

Just finished reading a HuffPo piece on Jon Huntsman and his thoughts on the Republican primary and his party’s shortcomings. I’ve always viewed Huntsman as far and away the most rational of the Republican nominees. Unfortunately, he was much too rational for a political party where right-wing fanaticism ruled and science had become little more than a four letter word. Any chance Huntsman had of winning the Republican nomination ended the day he tweeted the following:

How warped was Republican’s thinking during the primary? Well, one can say with a fair amount of certainty that had the primary come down to a choice between Jon Huntsman and the amazingly ignorant Herman Cain, pizza man would have taken it. Here’s how Huntsman now views those heady days of lunacy.

Some do it professionally. Some were entertainers. I looked down the debate stage, and half of them were probably on Fox contracts at one point in their career. You do that. You write some books. You go out and you sell some more. You get a radio gig or a TV gig out of it or something. And it’s like, you say to yourself, the barriers of entry to this game are pretty damn low.

With Bachmann, Cain, Santorum and Gingrich in the running, “pretty damn low” is an understatement.

Some are now floating the idea that President Obama should choose Huntsman to replace Hillary as Secretary of State. It’s an idea definitely worth considering.

Huntsman on foreign policy:

We used to be the party that put out wars: Eisenhower, Korea; Nixon, Vietnam; Reagan, the Cold War. And here we talk about starting wars. That’s all Republicans on the defense side seem to want to talk about — not negotiating a way forward diplomatically, as we had under earlier Republican administrations, but always falling back on the war option as if we haven’t had enough over the past 12 years.

As much as I’d love to see Susan Rice get the nomination because: a) she’s as qualified as any to fill the post, and b) just to stick it to John McCain who has solidified his bitter old man persona with his ridiculous Benghazi stance, a Jon Huntsman pick would work on many levels.

  • he has the respect of most Democrats so confirming him as  Secretary of State would not pose much of a problem
  • his position on foreign policy matches the President’s and Huntsman’s years as Obama’s ambassador to China shows that the two can work together
  • bipartisanship would get a major boost

As much as the GOP deserves every bit of scorn and criticism that’s been thrown their way by the left, they still are the choice of half the nation. President Obama’s bipartisanship efforts over the last four years have not gained him any favor with wingnuts but now that he’s been given a second mandate, a willingness to bridge the great divide between left and right is well worth the effort.

As for people like the conservative who wrote the following in a HuffPo comment, let them rant on in their shrinking world. Responsible decisions should never be governed by what the crazies perceive as truth.

There was only one issue in 2012 – would America’s leeching Takers continue to be allowed to rent seek off of our Makers at the point of a government gun.

After three quarters of a century of the advance of socialism under the guise of our growing social democratic state, the Takers finally won the political war – with Huntsman the RINO advocate for appeasement.

From here on, the war must move to non-violent, extra-democratic means to destroy the social democratic state and restore freedom to all Americans … and Huntsman, the accommodationist to socialist ambitions, has no place in this revolution.

He and America as we have known it are history.


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Jon Huntsman Slams Republican Candidates

Jon Huntsman was asked what he thought of the Republican debate in Vegas.

I was totally embarrassed- completely embarrassed by the lack of seriousness, the lack of focus on the issues that really matter to the American people- issues about reviving our economy and addressing joblessness were given short shrift. Our role in the world and securing our position of pre-eminence were given short-shrift. It was more game-show-like than anything else.

There are not a lot of positive things one can say about the GOP these days.  It’s 40 year descent into the slime pit of politics took an even more drastic turn to the extreme fringes with the election of Barack Obama.  But if there is hope that the party will one day emerge as a viable political force worthy of respect, that hope lies in the likes of people like Jon Huntsman.  It won’t be this year but should Republicans ever shake off the Tea Party nightmare, look for Huntsman to be a serious player in 2016.


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Republican’s Primal Scream and Other Stories

A roundup of thoughts on last night’s Republican debate.

Dana Milbank:

The hottest candidate in the field is Herman Cain, a fast-food tycoon who never heard of neoconservatism, has never held office, has no foreign policy and a three-digit number for a domestic policy, and likes to joke about electrocuting illegal immigrants. By contrast, Jon Huntsman, governor, ambassador, the man who in a normal political environment would be the most qualified and formidable candidate in the race, wasn’t even on the stage.

A system that rejects a Jon Huntsman in favor of a Herman Cain isn’t a primary process. It is a primal scream.

I made the same point yesterday.

Jonathan Chait:

Romney necessarily spends most of his debates playing a character type only loosely related to the actual Romney. He had one delicious, authentic moment when Perry assailed him for employing illegal immigrants. Romney claimed that he had fired them, and described his thinking at the time like so: “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals!” I am totally convinced this was what Romney was really thinking. With everything else he says, you’re always peeling away the layers of the onion to figure out what the true Romney thinks. Perry, characteristically, was too dim to notice this, but his handlers will probably train him to quote it at the next debate, by which point Romney will have a slick response that leaves Perry flustered.

Jonathan Bernstein:

Perry is confronted with a tough problem, and is taking a sensible way out. The tough problem is that doing policy in the GOP nomination contest is almost impossible. What motivates Tea Partiers and other enthusiastic primary voters? A lot of it is mythical, such as the immanent Obamcrackdown on fracking seen here, or Obama’s apology tour, or Obama’s plans to seize everyone’s guns, or all those IRS agents that Jon Huntsman was complaining about in last week’s debate. Others are internally contradictory; good luck proposing a budget that eliminates the deficit, cuts taxes, and doesn’t cut spending on the military or current Medicare or SS payments. Still others are massively unpopular general election positions; that part is normal in all presidential nomination contests, but particularly an issue this time around. And hanging over all of it is the possibility that something on the approved list today could be the mark of a RINO tomorrow (see: Mitt Romney, health care reform). Not to mention that there are a half dozen or so “candidates” who are prone to making up stuff intended to ingratiate themselves to the crazies (well, it’s really mainly three — Newt, Bachmann, Cain).


It’s not Rick Perry and Mitt Romney who aren’t serious; it’s the party they’re trying to lead.

Robert Dreyfuss:

Take some Tylenol before you read the transcript of the Republican debate in Las Vegas last night, filled as it is with gobbledygook about Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, Mitt Romney’s hiring of illegal aliens, Cain’s plan to electrocute people crossing the US border, Michele Bachmann’s fulminations about “anchor babies,” and Rick Perry’s musing on whether or not Mormonism is a cult. Woody Allen said it best: the scariest thing is that these people might actually be the GOP’s Best and Brightest.

Nate Silver:

Like Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum is not lacking for raw political talent — you need some of it (as Mr. Santorum likes to remind us) to get elected as a staunch conservative in a swing state like Pennsylvania. Still, if Mr. Santorum’s execution was strong again on Tuesday, he hasn’t really found a way to shift the debate back to social issues, his major competitive advantage over the rest of the field.

DJ Pangburn:

Rep. Ron Paul is definitely the only Republican candidate who has displayed a degree of sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and last night he proved it on a national stage by addressing resident Republican crazy man (one of many), Herman Cain.

Cain has suggested that OWS is anti-American and that they have only themselves to blame for their troubles—not Wall Street nor the government whom they have been petitioning for a grievance.

Cain stated in the debate, “They’re directing their anger at the wrong place. Wall Street didn’t put in failed economic policies… Wall Street isn’t going around the country trying to sell another $450 billion. They should be standing in front of the White House.”

Well, Sir, they are, in fact, standing as close to the White House as they can and everywhere else across the country.

Paul defended the protesters by stating, “Mr. Cain has blamed the victims. There are a lot of people who are victims of this business cycle.”

Paul, of course, traces a lot of the economic problems back to the Federal Reserve, the fractional banking apparatus of which Herman Cain was a member (of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank), and which allowed a number of banks and investors to make risky investments with criminal financial instruments (the credit-default swap), knowing full well that the Federal Reserve and the federal government would have no choice but to bail them out if toxic mortgage securities began to implode.

“[The Federal Reserve] creates the financial bubbles,” said Paul. “Who got stuck? The middle class got stuck. They lost their jobs and they lost their houses.”

And Paul said what so many politicians are unwilling to say, “We have to blame the business cycle and the economic polices that led to this disaster.”

I also loved Paul’s honesty regarding Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair.  The man definitely has his moments.

Michael Medved, on the other hand, didn’t take too kindly to Paul speaking ill of a “conservative saint”.

After a seemingly endless series of eight prior candidate encounters, one of the GOP presidential contenders finally came up with an ingenious debate strategy that counts as fearless, distinctive and utterly original: attacking Ronald Reagan over the arms-for-hostages deals during Iran-Contra.

Near the conclusion of a deeply damaging slugfest that weakened every candidate on stage, Congressman Ron (“Dr. Demento”) Paul outrageously trashed the Gipper’s memory in response to pre-debate Herman Cain comments about trading Guantanamo terrorists for a hypothetically kidnapped American soldier. Newt Gingrich shouldered his way into the discussion and seized the opportunity to defend Reagan’s legacy (and to plug a documentary the former Speaker co-produced with his wife Callista) by reminding the audience that the most popular Republican of the last 50 years actually regretted sending weapons to Iran in return for American captives.

When a big CNN debate that’s supposed to focus on America’s future concludes with an utterly irrelevant dispute about a 25-year-old scandal that tarnished the reputation of a conservative saint, then you know it was a terrible night for the party. One of the savviest political observers I know (who’s been working for Republicans since the Nixon era) sent a terse text message offering an appropriate reaction to the Destruction Derby: “GOP, RIP.”

“Terrible night” for the party?  Try a terrible decade for the party…and it’s only going to get worse.


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Republicans – On The Wrong Side of Science

In the last post, Gary Johnson spoke of Republicans, social issues and intolerance.  Let’s now take a look at Republicans and the views on climate change held by those vying for the President’s job.

Rick Perry:

“I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.”

Michele Bachmann:

“I think all these issues have to be settled on the base of real science, not manufactured science.”

Rick Santorum:

“It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life.  And I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.”

Jon Huntsman:

“The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem.  We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.  When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science – Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.”

And we won’t even get into Republicans and evolution.

Make no mistake about it, the Republican Party is the anti-science party.  But if critical thinking is not your thing and you happen to be a Fox News guzzling lapdog who watches and believes the crap served on that network, then Perry, Bachmann and Santorum are the ones you should be sticking with.  And if Sister Sarah joins the race, throw her into the moron heap as well.  But if you’re a thinking conservative, then you might want to consider Huntsman.  A presidential debate between Mr. Huntsman and President Obama would be a fine thing to watch and would do much to elevate American politics beyond the cartoon spectacle it has now become.  Sadly, it’ll never happen.

Who is leading the Republican primary?  Rick Perry. Who doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning the primary?  Jon Huntsman.

Obviously, the GOP has no intention of relinquishing its well earned title as the Party of Ignorance.


Michael Tomasky is also impressed with Huntsman…

Far be it from me to fail to do my small part to help seal Jon Huntsman’s doom, so count me as one more impressed liberal. His tweet from last week about believing in science and evolution and his remarks from his This Week appearance on Sunday, in which he disparaged his opponents on various reality-based grounds, were the words of a man who actually occupies this planet (and I mean the 4.5 billion-year-old one, not the one formed divinely 6,000 years ago when caveman and dinosaur fell simultaneously from the sky). Occupying this planet, of course, gives him no chance of winning the GOP primary, but it does give the rest of us a narrow thread of hope about the future.


The Huntsman strategy here is obvious: position himself as the moderate and reasonable guy on the off chance Republicans decide to be moderate and reasonable. We must assume he is aware that his odds on this are rather long, so what he’s really hoping for is to be the consensus candidate of 2016. Maybe the party just has to go through this purge, this Reign of Terror; so just let it do that, and once it does and nominates an extremist who can’t beat a weak incumbent during a time of 9 percent unemployment rates, and the heads are piled high enough in the tumbrels and enough people finally have returned to their senses, he will ride the Thermidorian wave to victory after Obama leaves town.

…but with a warning for liberals.

Remember: at the recent Fox News debate, when the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they would oppose a long-term budget deal that cut $10 for every single dollar it raised in revenue, Huntsman’s hand shot up just like Mitt Romney’s and Newt Gingrich’s did. There are some forms of standing out he is clearly not willing to do, and let’s keep focused on those, because liberals are too easily won over (as he surely knows) by Republicans who sound reasonable on cultural issues.


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Jon Huntsman – The next Republican President?

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Great analysis on Jon Huntsman’s possible future plans for taking the White House…

Over the weekend, President Obama named Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as the next Ambassador to China, a masterstroke of political strategy.

Huntsman may be the most important person you’ve never heard of. He’s a moderate Republican governor in one of the most conservative Republican states, where, until the time of his appointment, he enjoyed approval ratings above 80%. A few weeks back, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe unintentionally elevated Huntsman on the national stage by suggesting that he was one of the few Republican politicians that appeared formidable in 2012.

From all indications, Huntsman is quite the hotshot.

Huntsman is young, exceptionally smart, quick on his feet, amiable and incredibly articulate; when he speaks, he exudes reasonableness, a quality almost entirely void in the modern Republican party. He has the potential to be for the Republican Party what Obama was for the Democrats – a man capable of simultaneously exciting his base while appealing to an ever-more critical group of Independent voters. To hear him speak is to know he’s a guy an Independent would love.

Huntsman might very well have realized that Obama is, in all liklihood, a shoo-in for a second term and figured his time would be better spent building up foreign policy credentials for a 2016 run.  All he’ll need is an actual party to run as a candidate for.

“…the obstacle that Huntsman will face – a Republican primary electorate that will be as unforgiving of his Mormonism as it will be of his time in the Obama administration. And after eight years of John Boehner and Sarah Palin, of Mitch McConnell and Rush Limbaugh, Huntsman may find that there isn’t much party left to mobilize.”

As for Obama…

The president recognizes that the Republican party is quickly unfurling and that those currently leading it will be incapable, over the next few years, of righting such a wayward ship. There are few Republicans who can fill the void, reverse the hemorrhaging and rebuild the party. Huntsman, once counted among those few, is now off the stage, and on the other side of the world. By co-opting such a valuable politician, Obama has left the GOP flailing. Without a reasonable voice, the noise that has become the skeleton of a once dominant party will echo, unchecked.

In the immortal words of Lyndon Johnson,

“Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.”


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