Posted on | August 22, 2011 | 23 Comments
During my Iowa trip, I began referring to Jon Huntsman as “Governor Asterisk,” because his support in the GOP primaries is somewhere between “too small to be measured” and utterly non-existent. He is an irrelevant footnote to the campaign, a spokesman for no meaningful Republican constituency, who clutters up the stage at debates and gets vastly more media attention than he deserves.
Instapundit last night linked a Politico column pointing out that the Democratic National Committee sent out a memo quoting Huntman’s statements on the Sunday talk shows. Huntsman’s presidential campaign is therefore functioning as a propaganda tool for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
Huntsman doesn’t represents any particular Republican faction. Rather, he represents a point in time — late 2008 through spring 2009 — when a lot of “smart” people in the GOP seemed to believe that the Obama ascendancy was more or less permanent. The way to succeed as a Republican in the Obama era, these people believed, was to cooperate in the patriotic spirit of Bipartisan Compromise.
You can run down the list of names of those who succumbed to this nonsense: Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, Dede Scozzafava, Bob Bennett — and, while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and throw John Cornyn‘s name in there, too.
When Huntsman accepted an appointment from Obama as ambassador to China, the former Utah governor probably little suspected that the political tide would turn as soon as it did. He might have expected that he could return from Beijing in a couple of years and be welcomed by a GOP chastised by defeat. Instead, by the time he returned to seek the presidential nomination, the Republican Party had rolled to its biggest mid-term landslide in more than half a century.
Huntsman is the fossil remnant of a brief political epoch — the Age of the RINOsaurs, if you will — and is destined to the oblivion that all such creatures richly deserve.