The most reliable way for a Republican to attract fleeting hosannas from the mainstream and liberal press is to attack members of his own party as being "too conservative." Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman appeared on ABC's This Week on Sunday, and took a number of such shots at his GOP rivals. This approach earned him the coveted praise of....race-baiter and deceptive editor extraordinaire, Ed Schultz, who promptly attempted to exploit Huntsman's words to discredit the entire field:
Okay, I'll confess that I also cringed at Michele Bachmann's irresponsible "guarantee" of two-dollar-per-gallon gasoline if she's elected president. (Speaking of gas prices, if you want to see some really ridiculous rhetoric on that front, feast your eyes on this oldie but goodie from our buddy DWS). I also agree that Republicans could more adroitly deflect the "anti-science" label by going on offense -- arguing credibly and forcefully against the Left's destructive climate change policies. Liberals' policy prescriptions on the matter would wreak havoc on the US economy, wouldn't even begin to alleviate the catastrophe their flawed models project, and ultimately amount to a massive centralized government power-grab. But by sneering at his Republican competitors -- and hinting that virtually all of them are "unelectable" -- Huntsman does himself no favors at all. Except in the eyes of intellectually dishonest lefty blowhards like Schultz -- oh, and Howard Dean:
To be perfectly honest, I'm not exactly sure what Huntsman's strategy is at this point. He attacked his opponents in the clip above, then turned around and said he'd accept a hypothetical offer from Michele Bachmann to run as her VP. Since his chances of winning the nomination are essentially nil, could he be angling for a Secretary of State appointment in a future Republican administration? (Not a terrible idea, actually). At least he's abandoned his doomed "no names" strategy, and is sharply criticizing President Obama's policies. His latest web ad:
Many conservatives will bristle at Huntsman's characterization of his former boss as a "good" and "earnest" man, but as far as his soft-pedal campaign is concerned, the rest of this critique constitutes fighting words. Huntsman's deferential tone may have been effective politics in mid-2009, perhaps, but today? I'll leave you with Huntsman's nimble take-down of President Obama's duplicitous posturing on pending free trade agreements.
It seems as though many "true conservatives" want to run this guy out of the party. I object. Hunstman strikes me as a smart and decent man who simply lacks the fortitude, dynamic conservative vision, and charisma to unite the party and beat Obama. I'm grateful he's "on the team," so to speak, but can't envision myself pulling the lever for him in a presidential primary.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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