Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama Removes The GOP's One Sane Contender From 2012 Presidential Race-- Huntsman Accepts Job As Ambassador To China


Huntsman will need a very large compound in Beijing

A few days ago David Plouffe looked over the motley array of Republicans positioning themselves for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination-- Newt Gingrich, Pyush Jindal, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee... and he said none of them had enough connection to the political mainstream to be of concern. He then mentioned that Utah's current governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr. is "the one person in that party who might be a [serious] potential presidential candidate."

Huntsman is a mainstream conservative who has lately come under fire from the dominant Cheney/Limbaugh teabagger wing of the Republican Party. Despite an 84% approval rating-- the highest of any Republican governor in the U.S.-- Huntsman's mainstream attitudes towards science, the environment, Obama's stimulus package, immigration, and even gay people, has not endeared him to the stalwarts of the Party of No.

Huntsman, who announced a couple weeks ago he would not be running for a third term as governor, did his Mormon missionary work in Taiwan, is fluent in Mandarin and adopted a little Chinese girl he found abandoned in a vegetable market 10 years ago. Today President Obama announced that he will appoint Huntsman ambassador to China. Assuming that the obstructionists in his own party don't torpedo his confirmation, this pretty much takes Huntsman, the son of a billionaire, out of contention for the 2012 GOP nomination.

The mainstream policies Huntsman has advocated have endeared him to moderates in the GOP and to independent voters but there is no room for that kind of talk as far as the party's current dictators are concerned. Huntsman's civil unions approach for gay couples has driven the far right off the cliff and by signing a regional initiative setting up a cap-and-trade effort to reduce global warming, he is looked on by the extremists as a traitor to the GOP. Speaking in Shanghai in 2006 about the need for close cooperation between the U.S. and China on environmental issues, he used all the wrong words as far as the radical right is concerned: "good stewards of the Earth" translates in Republican-speak as not supporting unrestricted development and market-based capitalism. They abhor him. A right-wing hate group in Kent County, Michigan (the Republican Party) withdrew a speaking invitation to Huntsman because of his mainstream views. The crazed bigot who leads the local party, Joanne Voorhees, wrote in the local newspaper that "The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots. Unfortunately, by holding an event with Governor Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite."

Huntsman has refused to kiss up to the national extremists in his party and got into hot water with them when he told the Moonie Times that he blames the GOP's dire straits on the low quality of congressional leaders the party is stuck with. He says he doesn't know them and has never met them. "I don't listen or read whatever it is they say because it is inconsequential-- completely." Mike Pence, one of those leaders and one of the least competent and most ideologically extreme of any elected official in America, claims that GOP leaders "aren't as incompetent as they might appear."

Even in that interview Huntsman used a Chinese phrase to describe Republicans:
He said congressional Republicans failed to score political points for opposing the bill - only three Republican senators supported it - because the public saw them as objecting to being shut out by Democrats from helping write the bill rather than as taking a principled stand.

The governor said congressional Republicans are being frustrated by a lack of credibility on the party's No. 1 tenet: fiscal responsibility.

"That's why no one is paying any attention," he said. "Our moral soapbox was completely taken away from us because of our behavior in the last few years. For us to now criticize analogous behavior is hypocrisy. We've got to come at it a different way. We've got to prove the point. It can't be as the Chinese would say, 'fei hua,' [or] empty words."

...Mr. Huntsman, who was in Washington for a meeting of governors, said the failure of Republican leaders in Congress to move beyond "gratuitous partisanship" has left it to the party's governors and other state officials to come up with "big, bold solutions and ideas" that will win over voters and revive the party.

On the other hand, as Adam Green pointed out today at Open Left, let's not get too carried away with Huntsman, the way Obama just did. Huntsman is clearly better than intellectual midgets and knee-jerk obstructionists like Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Carrie Prejean, Jim DeMint and Mike Pence but what kind of a bar is that? OK, he thinks Mormons should be allowed to buy booze on Sundays, gays should be separate but almost equal, and he even speaks a foreign language. Better than most Republican elected officials-- but still... a Republican.

Al Giordano makes an interesting case about 3 dimensional chess and how Obama is strengthening his ties with Mormons in swing states like Colorado, Arizona and Nevada with Mormons who will be pissed off that the Mormon-hating evangelicals will again deny Bishop Romney the Republican presidential nomination for only one reason: his funny underpants.

Unless the GOP plans to just bite the bullet and run Rush Limbaugh-- after all a great many hate talk show hosts have been elected Republican members of Congress, including J.D. Hayworth and Mike Pence-- the Republicans are going to have to find a new face to present to the public in 2012. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor of Georgia, John Oxendine, is perfect for the GOP, threatening to run Planned Parenthood out of Georgia when he's elected. He bragged that he had painted his son's nursery "Confederate Gray." Another secessionist like the kook in Texas, here's Oxendine's tweet from last week:

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At 1:24 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Those aren't all his wives, are they?

At 1:29 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Well... I hope that baby isn't!

At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Andrew Price said...

WWe can be certain that Huntsman will use his new postion in China to promote Mormonism . The Mormons are desperate to get into China . May God protect the Chinese people from Mormonism .

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Dreamer said...

The chances of him getting the nomination would've been pretty low, at least based on the current state of the party. He at least seems reasonable, and if as Adam Green says this turns into a boon in 2016, so be it. If the election hinges on such a thing, it probably wasn't one worth winning anyway.

There is little doubt that mormon missionaries will use the appointment to try to make inroads, but I doubt he would push it very far himself. For one, he seems to be somewhat culturally aware, and second it would be illegal.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Daro said...

"Those aren't all his wives, are they?"

See... when you say things like that, you steal my line!


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