Former McCain mastermind John Weaver, now a key Huntsman strategist, said this week the campaign will be "mellow." More like "marshmallow." Instead of trashing enemies by name, they'll keep it vague and mushy. Huntsman has been buoyed by months of glowing coverage from left-leaning, dead-tree media, whose reporters have lapped up his trashing of the GOP as "devoid of ideas" and "a very narrow party of angry people." See? No names. No nasty. Embrace the civility!
While politely paying lip service to principles of tea party fiscal restraint, Huntsman hopes no one remembers how 2,000 Utah tea party activists booed him in April 2009 so corrosively it could have stripped the paint off a fleet of Harleys.
Utah conservatives raised their voices at the seminal tea party rally against Huntsman for championing $1.6 billion in Obama stimulus funds (Huntsman wanted even more money than that) -- and against GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch and then-GOP Sen. Bob Bennett for backing the Bush-Obama TARP bailout. The grassroots message: "Send them home!" A year later, voters ousted Bennett from the GOP primary after four profligate terms in office. And Hatch is in for the fight of his entrenched incumbent life.
While state governments across the country are rejecting or repealing onerous cap-and-trade environmental regulations, Huntsman is a climate-change Republican who backed radical emissions limits and green job fantasies. Just like McCain 1.0 did.
While state governments across the country follow Arizona's immigration enforcement model and Washington repeatedly rejects mass amnesty programs in the face of 9 percent unemployment, Huntsman supports the costly DREAM Act, an illegal alien bailout with a wider "path to citizenship." Just like McCain 1.0 did.
While state governments rein in middle-class entitlement spending and Washington turns to means-testing, Huntsman turned the SCHIP government-funded health plan for low-income children into a universal health insurance mandate. McCain 1.0 was for SCHIP before he was against it.
McCain's Straight Talk Express ran out of gas when his former media paramours inevitably turned against him -- and his gambit to out-big government the Democrats blew up in his two faces. So it will be with McHuntsman and his campaign wheels to nowhere.