Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jon Hunstman: Dead Man Walking

Latest Newspaper Column:

"To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." In a sane world, this sort of pronouncement wouldn't be necessary. In a sane political party, it wouldn't be an item of controversy.
But we don't live in a sane world, and Jon Huntsman, who expressed those sentiments a couple of weeks ago via Twitter, doesn't belong to a sane political party. He's running for the GOP presidential nomination, a race in which being a member of the reality-based community is an actual handicap.
You know, if he had a chance of getting the nomination, Barack Obama might have something to worry about in Jon Huntsman. He's smart, articulate and fiscally conservative, and he's got some serious credentials, as well as good hair. Not as good as Romney's, but still very presidential hair.

He's also worked in the Obama administration as ambassador to China, which would certainly cut the legs out from under any attempt by the president to attack Huntsman's judgment and/or character. ("Well, Mr. President, if he's that much of a boob, why'd you hire him?")
Fortunately for the president, however, Huntsman is far too rational for the Teahadist fanatics who can be counted upon to swarm the early primaries. They don't want to hear anything about no fancy science stuff or any of that "bipartisanship." They'd rather chow down on the sort of red meat served up all fresh and bloody by demagogues like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.
In an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper, Huntsman stated that he didn't think that calling Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "traitorous" made Perry sound "serious" on the issues. In the same interview, Huntsman also criticized Bachmann and other wingnuts for their willingness to allow this country to default on its debts.
Huntsman was, on both counts, completely correct. He is, therefore, completely doomed.
I mean, really. Trust scientists? Why should we, as good Americans, give any credibility at all to people who actually make a career out of studying an issue, like the 98 percent of the scientists actually working in the field of climate science who believe in man-made climate change?
 Why believe in the clear empirical evidence, including striking photo after striking photo of glaciers and icecaps retreating?

In the words of the guy who got caught in bed with another woman by his wife: "Who you gonna believe, honey, me or your lyin' eyes?"

Trying to reverse or even slow down the clear damage being done to the environment would be hard. It might be expensive. It might even, horror of horrors, cut into the profits of the oil companies, reducing said profits from "totally inconceivable by the brain of man" to merely "mind-boggling."
Why go through all that when you can just wave a hand, say a few magic words ("Al Gore owns a big house!" or "It snowed last winter!"), and make all those uncomfortable facts disappear from the minds of your loyal followers so they'll pose no threat to your corporate donors?
Or, if you're a Texas-size con man like Rick Perry, you can just make stuff up, like his claim that a "substantial number of scientists" were found to have been "manipulating their data." The truth is, a half-dozen scientists were accused, based on eight emails hacked and stolen from their computers. There were five separate investigations. All found no evidence of wrongdoing or data manipulation.
You can look it up. But why would any Republican candidate bother to do that? The truth doesn't set you free in the GOP, unless what you want to be free from is any chance of surviving Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Mitt Romney certainly saw the writing on the wall. After saying back in June when he announced his candidacy that he favored reduction of "greenhouse gases that might be significant contributors" to climate change, Mitt saw Rick Perry take the lead and did one of those deft backflips for which he is so justly famed. He now says he's an agnostic on the matter:
"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that, but I think that it is," he said. "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans. What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to."
Jon Huntsman is a sane, reasonable moderate who believes in science. Which is why he's a dead man walking in the GOP. And that's why President Obama, for all his faults, is going to win a second term.


J. Carson Black said...

Teahadists! I love it. I'm taking it. You're right - those fools wouldn't know a real contender if they fell over him.

Jody Maxwell said...

Excellent piece! The fact is unfortunately that the Republican Party is currently not Lincoln's party. He would disavow himself from the 2011 bunch quickly. Tea Partiers really need to form their own party and stop using the "Grand Old Party" as their umbrella to give them validation. Either they should stand on their own or get out of the political arena. My grandfather, a true lifetime Republican, must roll over in his grave every time any GOP candidate turns him or herself over to the control of the Tea Party people. Unfortunately, a relatively small group (compared to number of voters in USA) is taking its toll on all of us!

JD Rhoades said...

JCB: that's because of what's been described as "Epistemic closure". The wingnuts only watch their own news (Fox) they only listen to right wing radio, they only read blogs by their own radical kind, etc. So the far right thinks they're the majority, until they get a chance to whine about being oppressed. they think a Bachmann or a Perry will appeal to the moderate majority, and they're simply wrong.

I, and most other left of center voters, knew the candidate who surveys showed we most agreed with, Dennis Kucinich, was too liberal to ever get elected. So we went with the more moderate candidate who could get elected rather than the one who'd give us four or less years of McCain and God knows how long of Palin. The Republicans,. however, are letting the inmates run the asylum.

Lise McClendon said...

Can we have Huntsman as Secretary of Hair?

Robert said...

What do you mean the universe doesn't revolve around me! That's not science, that's heresy!

Charlieopera said...

Now if Obama would only stop rewarding big business, quit killing the labor force in America, maybe get us the hell out of these wars, once in a while show he has balls bigger than his rhetoric ... I guess quit being a Republican, maybe it would make a difference who won in 2012. As of now, with his track record, I (like Cornell West wrote in the Times last week) kind of wish his supporters would look a lot more left (if they insist on staying within the party) and push Bernie Sanders into the spotlight.

Or maybe he should just step down and let Biden play a little hardball. He'll win in 2012 because the GOP has nobody, but I'm not sure they can do more damage to labor than Obama did. Regan, with all he did to kill unions in 8 years, didn't come close to this guy.

You're right, though, he'll win in 2012. Oh, friggin' joy ...

Celine said...

Charlie, I'd love to see Sanders (or Grayson!) swipe the Democratic nomination from Obama. But AFAIK, there's no internal procedure for same-party challengers to run against a seated President... which means we either vote for Obama, who might start playing hardball once he doesn't have to worry about re-election, or we vote for whatever guanopsychotic candidate the teahadists put on the ballot, who will definitely NOT be sane.

Charlieopera said...

I hear you, Celine, but why should we trust a guy who had majorities across the board and did nothing with them (Dem blue dogs he should've hung out to dry) in this atmosphere (where a relative few extremists on the right manage to get their way)?

If liberal Dems haven't learned the lesson of the tea party, they're doomed to vote what they "think" is the lesser of two evils (we're no longer sure, I'm sure not sure, not after this guy's damage to labor). The tea party scared the crap out of the GOP and effectively took control. Liberal Dems can do the same thing to their party, but refuse to budge. That's something I'll never understand, I guess; the idea of backing a proven loser because the other side might be worse. There will have to be a revolution sooner or later, whether it comes in the form of a liberal tea party (threatening to leave the Dems) or a violent revolution like those in the middle east only time will tell. But so long as the policy of the Dem left is to play the lemming, well ... it's happening right now.

Maxine Waters two weeks ago, Cornel West last week ... I think it's a good sign ... but at least West won't cave.

Capitalism simply doesn't work anymore, not for the greater good. It is poison. And now, under this two party system (owned by corporate America), it is unchecked. Soemething has to give sooner or later. Staying loyal to a party that is unwilling to act bodly just drags it out (change) and those who suffer the most are those who had the most hope.

Does Obama really deserve the support of the middle class and poor? Is he the best they can hope for? I think it's time the middle class and poor start looking at alternatives. IF change is going to come so incrementally, maybe it's time to make it genuine change.

David said...

Celine:I'd love to see Sanders (or Grayson!) swipe the Democratic nomination from Obama. But AFAIK, there's no internal procedure for same-party challengers to run against a seated President...

It happens. It just doesn't happen very often, and it works even less often. IIRC, the last sitting President to get even a half-serious primary challenge was Bush the Elder in 1988, and the last one to drop out after an intra-party challenge was LBJ in 1968. Not exactly an inspiring record, even if there was more time to organize a challenge.

I think you're right. At this point, we either have someone who often seems like he'd be at home in the area around Mammoth Cave, or someone whose motto might as well be "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

Charlieopera said...

On the other hand, we can always look forward to Obama's next pledge to walk the union line the NEXT time collective bargaining is threatened. We can HOPE he means it this time. And should he actually do it (miracles do happen), it would be a CHANGE (for him).

Or he can write another memoire. I'm told they sell really well ...

Celine said...

the idea of backing a proven loser because the other side might be worse

Wrong frame -- in fact, completely backwards frame. This isn't even a choice between More Bad and Less Bad; it's a choice between Bad and Unthinkably Bad. You think I'm going to vote for someone whose stated goal is to destroy the government and usher in a cyberpunk-style dystopia? Not a fucking chance. Yeah, I'm disappointed (to say the least) in Obama; does the phrase "biting off your nose to spite your face" mean anything to you?

Asimov used to say that while technology might not be able to solve our problems, non-technology could not do so. In the same vein, Obama might yet improve -- but any Republican candidate yet proposed will be a complete disaster. That's a no-brainer.

Charlieopera said...

That's a no-brainer.

Which is a no brainer, voting for a candidate who actually represents what you want (Nader, socialists, communists, etc.) or voting for someone who’s already proven he can’t or won’t represent what you want?

Voting the lesser of two evils has gotten you what since 2008? Let’s see, labor has been set back about 100 years ... unions have been vilified (so much so, the president wouldn’t dare stick his nose out of the oval office while collective bargaining for public workers was being dismantled in Wisconsin ... so much so he continued to hide when the recount vote failed and the party you so fear was handed a tremendous victory over labor in the same state) ... he’s engaged us in a third war ... he handed over $700 billion to his buddies on Wall Street and watched American jobs flee overseas because he didn’t have the sense most morons would’ve had about protecting those jobs (from the companies he bailed out) ... he’s sure handled unemployment with his laser like focus ... it remains at 9% (closer to 20% effectively) etc., etc., etc.

You’re right, it’s a no brainer. There’s nothing to consider. Obama is our man for the future. The Democratic party is the party of the people. Those other parties (the green, socialist, communist, etc.) ... forget them. Fleeing to them, even for a few elections, won’t do a thing. The republicans would only win and what, labor would get set back, the wars would continue, unions would be vilified, banks would get bailed out over people, outsourcing would continue?

Like you said, no brainer.

Celine said...

Apparently he's trying to recover:

Charlieopera said...

And seeking to stay in step with the prior administration and its policies (on just about everything), Obama backs down (again) ... this time on air quality. The questino is, does this guy ever step up?

Celine said...

Hey, Charlie, I just found your user manual:

Aug. 24, 2011

From: KR

To: All Internet Operatives and Interns

Re: Internet Operations -- For Immediate and Aggressive Implementation


Hello Gang,

You've all been working hard, and it's paying off. Obama's numbers are plummeting as I type this. Congratulations all around. But we can't afford to be complacent now.

I just want to briefly go over a few Mission Points with you.

1. Main mission: Infiltrate all liberal web sites, posing as disaffected liberals with liberal-sounding user names, icons and signatures. (Reference Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, FDR, Smedley Butler, Bill Clinton, etc.)

2. Express. Disappointment. With. Obama. (Whining pays double!) (jk!)

3. Push primary challenge. Push third party. Push Green. Push Socialist. Push write-in voting. Push non-voting to "send a message."

4. Effective memes/talking points:

"Obama is a DINO."
"Obama is no different than a Republican."
"Obama has sold us out."
"It feels good to vote your conscience."
"It feels good to stick to your principles."
"Don't be trapped into voting for the lesser of two evils."
"We need to punish Obama and the Democrats by not voting."

Sound familiar? It's a leaked memo from Karl Rove. I don't think I'm going to give much credence to people who use those talking points any more.

Charlieopera said...

Yes, well, Celine, you once accused me of being a bunch of white upper crust something or other and was wrong on every single point except my being white, so at least you’re a consistent lemming.

Charlieopera said...

This was too good not to use. Thanks Celine.