Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Huntsman Miscalculation

Over at The New York Times, Ross Douthat, the Other Conservative Columnist, is apparently discouraged by the assortment of dolts and liars running for the Republican nomination for President. He has devoted a column to lamenting the "staggeringly inept" political mistakes that have kept a more plausible conservative, Jon Huntsman, mired in the low single digits in popularity.

Douthat says Huntsman was not well known to conservatives in the Republican base. Therefore he should have tenderly wooed them (I'm paraphrasing). Instead, what did he do? "He picked high-profile fights on two hot-button issues — evolution and global warming — that were completely irrelevant to his candidacy’s rationale....Imagine a contender for the Democratic nomination introducing himself to liberal voters by attacking Planned Parenthood...."

Well, gosh, Mr. Douthat, can you see any difference between attacking Planned Parenthood and supporting evolution? How about the fact that the "hot-button issues" for the Republican base involve denying reality? Doesn't it bother you to be a supporter of a party whose other supporters have to be appeased by never mentioning what you and every other educated person know to be true? Doesn't that ever make you wonder if you've got the wrong party?

Actually, I think Huntsman was following a conscious strategy. Here's the calculation: "People don't like Romney. Everyone else who runs is going to be appealing to the Tea Party. They split the votes, and I get the votes of all the rest, the people who are sick of all the nut jobs. That may not be a majority,but it  might be a plurality, say 30%. There have got to be at least that many Republicans who are still sane."

But apparently, there aren't. Oops.

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