Trolling the Villagers

Judging from this Huntsman might run in ’12 piece, Tina Brown’s New Year’s resolution must have been to amp up the speculative, contrarian Villager bait at Newsweek. It’s hard to improve on James Fallows’ reasons why being the sitting Chinese ambassador is a less-than-ideal platform for launching a run for President, but I’ll add that Huntsman’s decision to get out of the country is looking smarter every day.

Not only does he avoid the Tea Party fail parade that would have him taking positions on bullshit like reading the constitution before every baseball game or cub scout meeting, but he’s also going to avoid the mudfight in a minefield that the ’12 race will become due to Sarah Palin’s involvement. Every Republican running in 2012 is probably going to get a little dirty from Palin’s non-stop resentment show, and there’s always the possibility of a career-damaging gaffe while responding to one of the smears that she’ll issue from behind the walls of her Villager-resistant social media fortress.

This is not to mention the simple fact that Huntsman cannot win the 2012 primary, if he’s serious about this:

Shortly after Obama was swept into office in a tidal wave of Democratic victories, the popular governor began articulating a new national vision for the GOP, one designed to appeal to all time zones. Warning that the party was losing young voters, he argued that Republicans would need to tack to the middle on three hot-button issues if they were to maintain national relevance: immigration, gay rights, and the environment.

A hell of a lot of Tea Partiers are going to have to die off before that message achieves any kind of acceptance in today’s Republican Party.






64 replies
  1. 1
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    You’re right, mistermix. And I’m first on this thread. Good morning.

  2. 2

    You are so right. Doesn’t Mickey Kaus now write for Newsweek as well? Tina Brown is trying to out-stupid Jon Meacham. That’s pretty hard to do but she’s sure giving it her all.

  3. 3

    I did a little research on Huntsman the last time he was mentioned here. He seems very intelligent. If he has a successful gig as ambassador to China, he’ll have foreign policy chops.

    I find him interesting. This is important because politicians that bore me usually don’t go very far. Mr. Huntsman probably has a future in public service.

    If he were to burst onto the public scene a year from now, he might cause a stir.

  4. 4
    RosiesDad says:

    Another great example of why we should spend more time ignoring Tina Brown (and more time reading James Fallows).

    Totally unrelated: did anyone read Greg Mankiw’s ridiculous column in this morning’s Times business section? Pissed me off that they have comments turned off; so much there to easily deconstruct.

  5. 5
    cmorenc says:

    How much damage can these tea-partiers inflict on this country during this apex period of their influence, before the changing demographics of this country drowns them out? Quite a lot, it seems. Even if the period of strong influence only lasts a small handful of years, it’s sobering to think how tremendous and lasting the damage was from George Bush’s presidency over either the first or the second four years of it. Stupidity coupled with angry rage is a hard resource to easily exhaust.

    Among their largest legacies may be how well they’re succeeding in driving out the more rational, merely deeply conservative politicians from their ranks in favor of the crazily extreme, or at least politicos willing to cater to the crazily extreme in order to stay in office. If Sen. Bennett R-Utah got booted from office by the crazies for not being pure-crazy enough to suit their tastes, how can Huntsman survive?

  6. 6
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    From the Brown article:

    Sitting in the echo-y living room of his new Washington home, Huntsman, a tall, lean man with silver hair and impeccable posture, pauses only briefly when faced with the question of presidential aspirations. “You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” he says. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” Asked whether he is prepared to rule out a run in 2012 (since it would require him to campaign against his current boss), he declines to comment.

    What’s this “we” shit? Does he have multiple personalities?

  7. 7
    Nick says:

    OT- Is no one going to point out that Austan Goolsbee called Republicans “insane” for not wanting to raise the debt ceiling and said it would be “catastrophic” or when the Republicans refuse anyway, and Obama is forced to agree to draconian budget cuts or let the country go into default, are we going to have a whinefest about how Obama didn’t “fight?”

  8. 8
    matoko_chan says:

    those retards.
    Huntsman is still a MORMON.
    there is a part of the WEC base that would vote a satan ticket before electing a MORMON.
    and the TP/GOP will never win a general election again unless they can nominate a non-jeezus humper for president.
    the bulk of the youth demographic is running away from the jeezus humpers like scalded cats.

  9. 9
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Nick: You just did. Good work, here’s a cookie.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    From the NYT article linked above, this from TeaTard Patriot:

    “We sent them [the Democrats] a message that we expect them to go home and come back newly constituted and do something different,” Mr. Meckler said. “For them to legislate when they’ve collectively lost their mandate just shows the arrogance of the ruling elite. I can’t imagine being repudiated in the way they were and then coming back and saying ‘Now that we’ve been repudiated, let’s go pass some legislation.’ ”
    __
    “I’m surprised by how blatant it was,” he added.

    The only difference between this statement and the blather from the entire punditariat after the elections is that the punditariat failed to maintain outrage after Obama & the Senate pushed through the last large pieces of legislation.

    Take us back to the weeks after election day, and everyone was talking about how Democrats had to completely give up their agenda and pledge oaths to the Tea Party because America Had Sent Them A Message.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Evolved Deep Southerner:

    Apparently, he thinks he’s Queen Victoria or something.

  12. 12
    JAHILL10 says:

    Huntsman spoke at the Penn graduation last year and he has a nice, reasonable presence, which as mistermix pointed out, makes him absolutely ill-suited for today’s Republican party base. I often wonder whether it was Romney’s Mormonism that sunk him or the fact that he is such a weasely, flip-flopping, say anything to get elected worm.

  13. 13
    JAHILL10 says:

    @El Cid: Funny how that whole message-sending thing wasn’t mentioned when the American people sent two Democratic majorities to congress and elected a Democratic president by a wide margin. Then it was okay for the minority to obstruct everything in sight. As always with these jokers, they only open the messages they want to open.

  14. 14
    SlyFox says:

    @El Cid:

    Whats funny about this is I never heard many Democrats say that George W. Bush just had to lock up the White House and jet to Texas November 5, 2008 when voters elected Barack Obama.

    It would be mindful to them to remember that terms don’t end after election day. We are not England. For the people who drone on constantly that they thoroughly read and revere the U.S. Constitution, they forget that part about Congressional and Presidential terms.

  15. 15
    Gina says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I can’t wait to see the outfits!

  16. 16
    Gina says:

    @JAHILL10: Early on, I’d get him confused with John Edwards, too much hairdo. The accents sorted things out though.

  17. 17
    SlyFox says:

    @JAHILL10:

    You see, we Negros voted. Along with Chinamen and Mexicans. McCain won 60% of the White vote, he should be President.

  18. 18
    JAHILL10 says:

    @SlyFox: It’s still situational. Remember how proud they were touting how popular Bush was with the brown people of Texas at one point? They’d be glad to have the minority vote, so long as the minority voters thought and felt like senior white males!

  19. 19
    azlib says:

    Huntsman has a point about the Republicans needing to reach out to the younger voters and minority voters. It will not happen this cycle though. The far right thinks they won a mandate on Nov 2 and they will press ahead with the insanity.

    Dems should not be complacent. They need better messaging so the young and minorities actually will vote. Otherwise the insanity will win elections.

  20. 20
    pablo says:

    Sorry, mistermix, I could not resist a visual!

    Genius.

  21. 21
    mistermix says:

    @pablo: Ha!

    @matoko_chan: That’s why it’s smart for him to be the candidate of moderation in ’16 – only a moderate Republican party will elect a Mormon.

  22. 22
    policomic says:

    Hunt, hunt, hunt
    He’s the Huntsman
    “Into action,” is his cry…

    Anyone?

  23. 23

    Republicans are convinced that they achieved their narrow House majority in 2010 because of teh teabaggin’.

    Not the unemployment rate. Not the first mid-term election of a new president’s term. Not an inevitable snap-back after the Democrats won unsustainably large majorities by winning seats they had no business winning.

    Nope, they’re looking at the results of the 2010 elections and reading them as a mandate for right-wing politics. Heck, we say Republicans whine that the Democrats were ignoring the public’s will by passing DADT repeal, which had 70% approval and played absolutely no role in the Republicans’ campaigns.

    So there’s no way a moderate gets the nomination. They’ll be lucky if they manage not to nominate Sarah Palin, Haley Barbour, or George Allen.

  24. 24

    @cmorenc:

    How much damage can these tea-partiers inflict on this country during this apex period of their influence, before the changing demographics of this country drowns them out?

    The Republicans hold one house of Congress. In two years, the first-time Obama voters go back the polls.

    This isn’t like George W. Bush and the Republicans holding all three branches of government for six years.

  25. 25
    Cat Lady says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    What’s become of George Allen? He must be kicking himself knowing that if he had had his macaca moment in this cycle he could’ve said it wearing an SS uniform and a white hood.

  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    @JAHILL10:

    Funny how that whole message-sending thing wasn’t mentioned when the American people sent two Democratic majorities to congress and elected a Democratic president by a wide margin.

    I don’t think that’s true in the same way. At the time, it was repeated that Americans had voted for change, but it was mostly because they were disappointed in Bush and all the scandals, and it was clear proof that Americans preferred a united center-right set of policies balancing Democratic and Republican governing.

    When Democrats actually did that, it was described as Democrats harshly pushing through their hardline agenda on outraged Republicans and sowing reaction, and hopefully now they’ll have learned that they need to act for a united center-right set of policies balancing Democratic and Republican governing.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cat Lady: So you are saying that he is like a Bizarro World hipster, rediscovering blatant racism in politics before the everyone else?

  28. 28
    Cat Lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Like a surfer that just missed catching The Big One.

    I like Bizarro World Hipster (BWH) though. It’s like the antonym of DFH.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cat Lady: Please feel free to use it. With proper attribution, of course.

  30. 30
    JD Rhoades says:

    More ceremonially, the rules call for the Constitution to be read aloud on the House floor when the session opens.

    Considering how ignorant most of the teabaggers seem to be about the Constitution they claim to revere so much, this might not be a bad idea.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JD Rhoades: No one will listen, of course.

  32. 32
    Johnny B says:

    Huntsman is actually an attractive candidate. He’s smart, well-educated, traditionally-conservative but not a loon, and his political instincts are well-honed–as evidenced his decision to join the Obama Administration. He’s unusual for a Republican as he occasionally says something honest and truthful.

    It’s for these reasons that I don’t see him running in 2012. Although a conservative, he realizes that the party is just a bigotted-filled collection of bellicosity, santimoniousness, religiosity, stupidity, and hypocrisy.

    In order for someone like Huntsman to have a chance, he needs to see the far-right wing of the Party suffer a spectacular defeat in a Presidential election. Lucky for him, Palin might just deliver such a result.

  33. 33
    Anya says:

    @Johnny B:

    In order for someone like Huntsman to have a chance, he needs to see the far-right wing of the Party suffer a spectacular defeat in a Presidential election.

    That’s why it would be smart for the party leaders not to stand in Palin’s way and let her be the 2012 Republican nominee.

  34. 34
    jayjaybear says:

    My New Year Resolution is to figure out why Tina Brown is still allowed to run magazines.

  35. 35
    PeakVT says:

    Sitting in the echo-y living room of his new Washington home, Huntsman, a tall, lean man with silver hair and impeccable posture

    He won’t appeal to the Villagers if he’s not sun-chapped.

  36. 36
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @jayjaybear: She’s allowed to run magazines because she’s run magazines.

    In the Village, you don’t do, you be.

  37. 37
    mk3872 says:

    The Tea Baggers were proven RIGHT and Huntsmen and the middle-of-the-roaders WRONG.

    The youth vote does NOT count.

    Why?

    Because they act like spoiled brats and rarely turn out for elections.

    2008 was an exception to the rule. 2010 was the predictable outcome: they stayed home.

    As they will in 2012, giving Repubs the upper hand with the elderly bitter voting edge.

  38. 38
    Suffern ACE says:

    @mk3872: Invective against the youth aside, I tend to think that 2010 wasn’t an anomality either. I think the younger voters will show up in larger numbers in 2012. What we will see for the next decade are so are these swings between mid terms and presidential elections that aren’t going to be pretty, especially since the states that are going to be aging are going to be in the upper midwest, Pennsylvania and Florida. States that the Democrats need to win.

  39. 39
    NorthernMNer says:

    Just wait until the “terror babies,” anti-immigrant (i.e., not white) rhetoric really heats up in the next House committee hearings. The GOP isn’t just playing with fire, they are playing with dynamite. They will manage to alienate 90% of the latino voting bloc in just two short years.

    They think the McCain loss was bad? They’ll be playing triage just to hold Arizona red in ’12.

    And I doubt very much Ambassador Huntsman will run until 2016. He doesn’t want his career to end up as the Tommy Thompson of 2012.

    Tim Pawlenty, however, seems to very much want to end up that way.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Republicans are convinced that they achieved their narrow House majority in 2010 because of teh teabaggin’.

    Well, they did, if by “teh teabaggin'” you mean “convinced elderly voters that Obama and the Democrats are planning to take away their Medicare and grind them up for soylent green.”

    That’s what every analysis of the exit polls I’ve seen seems to indicate, anyway.

  41. 41
    halo says:

    I could live with a President Huntsman. At least he is SANE and INTELLIGENT, even though he’s a Republican.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    @NorthernMNer: T

    hey’ll be playing triage just to hold Arizona red in ‘12.

    Yes, because Sharon Angle was really punished in 2010 rather than winning by 15 points.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Yes, because Sharon Angle was really punished in 2010 rather than winning by 15 points.

    Sharron Angle was Harry Reid’s opponent in Nevada’s US Senate race, and she lost. You must be thinking of Jan Brewer, the Arizona governor.

  44. 44
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oops. After awhile, they all started to run together. Harry Reid was helped by hispanic voters, as was Bennett, because those races were close. It was not close in Arizona, or Texas. And I’m guessing it won’t be in 2012 either.

  45. 45
    Yutsano says:

    @Suffern ACE: Watch for a shit ton of old white voter resentment plus suppression of teh brown vote in both these states. It’s really the only way they counter the demographic trends.

  46. 46
    MikeB says:

    Agree with Linda and Johnny B, I recently saw Huntsman on
    Charlie Rose, and was impressed with his intelligence and
    grasp of foreign policy issues.

    Of course, they were talking about the political and economic landscape in China, not the fever swamp of US conservative
    politics.

  47. 47
    NorthernMNer says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    In ’12 you’ll have even more latino voters, and more of them pissed off at the GOP. The antagonism of hispanic americans hasn’t really even begun yet. Just watch over the next two years, with Congressional hearing after hearing about “illegals.”

    Arizona may not be competitive in ’12, but in ’16, or ’20–well, there’s a reason even Karl Rove wanted Republicans to lock latino voters in. And now they’re doing the complete opposite.

    All of which leads me to believe a sane Republican like Huntsman will wait out the rabid base that will nominate the also-ran in ’12 and try to build a more competitive coalition in ’16.

  48. 48
    Nick says:

    @NorthernMNer:

    In ‘12 you’ll have even more latino voters, and more of them pissed off at the GOP

    will they? Because a lot of latinos voted for the GOP this year even after their immigration law.

  49. 49
    West of the Cascades says:

    I lived in Utah when Huntsman was Governor. Based on watching him govern as a moderate and – through vetos, or by simply sitting on the lunatics in his own party with his own 81% approval rating – stopping some of the worst crazy stuff that was being floated up through the Legislature, he’s the one person in the Republican party that I could even conceive of voting for for President.

    As one example — in February 2009, while still Governor of the reddest, most batshit insane state in our nation, he came out in support of a proposal for civil unions for same-sex couples, despite 70% of the voters in Utah opposing civil unions (hmmm … 70% of the Utah population is Mormon … must be a coincidence). I worked in the environmental field, and although he wasn’t great on environmental protection, he wasn’t screaming about Federalism and Utah’s right to take over federal lands and claim thousands of miles of “highways” across national parks and national monuments in the same way that his predecessors and successor have.

    All of which is to say that he has the snowball’s chance in Hell of prevailing in Republican primaries, including for reasons other folks have mentioned — the GOP base will hate his Mormonism, and his ability to think about governance and care less about ideology will confuse them so much they won’t be able to understand him.

    Before the judicial recall election in Iowa this past November, I’d have said he’d have a chance with more traditional thoughtful conservatives in that state and maybe then become flavor-of-the-month in New Hampshire (and get a significant Mormon vote in Nevada), and so have a good chance in three of the first four primaries. But Iowa voters proved themselves nutters and haters, so I don’t give Huntsman any chance.

    Which is sort of sad – mostly I want a Democratic tidal wave to sweep out the ugliness we’ll see over the next two years, but there’s a part of me that would really like to see two Presidential candidates having a campaign that talks about issues and where you know both of them are serious about good governance. I can’t recall the last time there was such a campaign (maybe George HW Bush v. Bill Clinton v. Ross Perot in 1992? and saying Perot cared about good governance – or that Bush Sr did, either – may be a stretch).

  50. 50
    Carol says:

    Huntsman may as well become a Conservative Democrat. It takes time for the Teabaggers to die off, and he shouldn’t have to wait. If he changes over, unlike more opportunistic types, he should have some good will having worked with Obama. Utah would certainly send him to the Senate, and the right side of the party would help him win the nomination.

    With all the speculation over entering the race, it’s interesting that the current crew seems so unappealing that even at this late date, Republicans and the Village are hoping someone else, no matter how bad the timing jumps in this race. Huntsman is a world away from China, would have to quit and then immediately somehow pivot into fundraising. He ‘s months behind on wooing the party base, and is only noticed by political junkies. That doesn’t matter in the Village analysis, just that he’s different.

    Huntsman fortunately has better instincts. He probably should wait until 2020 when some of the crazier people have burned themselves out.

  51. 51
    West of the Cascades says:

    On more thing – that execrable Newsweek article doesn’t mention anywhere that Huntsman is fluent in Mandarin (he did his Mormon mission in Taiwan), already served as Ambassador to Singapore under George HW Bush, also speaks the Taiwanese Hokkien dialect, and will only be 56 years old in 2016, IF he chose to stay out of the country while the GOP and Tea Party destroys itself (I HOPE!) in 2012.

    The language fluency and previous experience as an ambassador are relevant because they indicate that there were extraordinarily practical reasons for President Obama to name Huntsman Ambassador to the PRC, not just “careful political calculations to get him out of the way.” But, of course, it would not be convenient to the narrative to mention that.

    What a crappy piece of breathless Villager writing.

    I was at my Mom’s for Christmas and picked up a copy of Newsweek for the first time in a year – shocked to see it’s thinner than your average comic book now. If it publishes things like this article on a regular basis, I hope it dies a quick and quiet death, soon.

  52. 52
    Mike Kay (Christine O'Donnell's Co-Witch) says:

    I’m not sure Sarah will run.

    I’m leading prayer groups and sending money and letters, in short, I’m doing everything I can to convince her to run, but I think she’s scared, especially now, with her latest polling data in toilet.

    it really bums me out, I so wanted to run against her, but in the end, she’s a chicken.

  53. 53
    NorthernMNer says:

    @Nick:

    In what world is “a lot”? I’ve seen various numbers with latino self-identification by party favoring Democrats in double-digit numbers, and this is a voter bloc that is growing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01.....038;st=cse

    Two years of this and I really think you’ll see even fewer numbers of latino voters pull the lever for the GOP.

    But, on the topic of Huntsman, it doesn’t seem to me that he is interested in becoming a demagogue for the sake of the Tea Party. Much better to wait until 2016 when it will be an open field, I would think.

  54. 54
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Evolved Deep Southerner: __

    What’s this “we” shit? Does he have multiple personalities?

    I thought it was a Mormon tic — him’n’Gawd, BFFs. Or maybe just him & his ‘faith-based community’?

  55. 55
    Glinda says:

    Sounds like a less experienced Bloomberg. Why go with a former governor of a state with less than 3 million people when you can pick a mayor of a city with 8.5 million people and a Galtian Wall Street overlord to boot?

    Yes he’s far prettier than Bloomberg, so he will get a higher percentage of the Log Cabin Republican crowd.

    But really … won’t the Republican base just stay home in droves if either of these two win the nomination?

    My opinion: ain’t happening in my lifetime.

    Full disclosure on that assertion: I am late middle aged and have had a political drinking problem since November 1980 thru November 2008. My liver is likely not going to get me through 2040.

  56. 56

    @mk3872:

    2008 was an exception to the rule. 2010 was the predictable outcome: they stayed home.

    2008 and 2010 were both predictable outcomes. The youth and minority votes turned out in a big way when Barack Obama was on the ballot, and didn’t when he wasn’t.

    2012 is a presidential election year. The electorate is going to look a lot more like 2008.

  57. 57
    Janus Daniels says:

    Obama plays long, and he has made it clear that he wants to change the direction of the nation more than he wants any specific legislation. Huntsman agrees with Obama on every major issue, and easily made himself the the best Republican governor of Utah ever. Obama placed Huntsmen in a superbly suitable and auspicious position, as far as possible from the Republican crud fest. Huntsman can return triumphantly from China as the only credible Republican candidate for 2016. If the Republicans nominate him, they have a chance to win the presidency, at the cost of gaining adult leadership, and losing the bigot votes; if the Republicans reject him, they lose the presidency. I think they’ll reject Huntsmen, to keep the stupid crazy bigot vote. Either way, US wins.

  58. 58
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Anne Laurie: Nah, the Mormon tic is “me and my family.” That’s always “we” in Utahn.

  59. 59
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @policomic:
    ‘From the forest to the city,
    he will run there in a jiffy
    to sock evil in the eye!’

    Oh, childhood. I can imagine him losing the primary: ‘Darn the luck, darn!

  60. 60
    Kyle says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    On more thing – that execrable Newsweek article doesn’t mention anywhere that Huntsman is fluent in Mandarin

    One more reason for the mouth-breather Repigs to hate him. Watch for a Karl Rove wannabe playing a few clips of him speaking Mandarin to torpedo his campaign if he runs. Remember the sneering at Kerry for being fluent in French, and the heaping praise on the Chimp for speaking barely coherent ungrammatical English.

    These are stupid people who demand a stupid leader who won’t remind them of their stupidity every time he utters an articulate sentence.

  61. 61
    megamahan says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    Damn, I thought your first comment was good, but your second comment really nailed it. I’ve lived in Utah pretty much my entire life, and I was crushed when Huntsman was tapped as ambassador because he’s the best governor this state was going to get for the foreseeable future.

    Huntsman isn’t stupid enough to run in 2012, and since he’s only 50, he could easily wait until 2016 or even 2020. He’s smart, charismatic, reasonable, and a basically decent person. But yeah, the Tea Party and the evangelical Christians will not vote for him. I doubt he could get the nomination before the current Republican crazies implode. If he were nominated, I really think he’d be a strong candidate in the general election, and I could totally live with that.

    (You’re “me and my family” comment was spot on as well.)

  62. 62
    megamahan says:

    Ugh, please ignore that wrong form of “your”/”you’re”.

  63. 63
    megamahan says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    Damn, I thought your first comment was good, but your second comment really nailed it. I’ve lived in Utah pretty much my entire life, and I was crushed when Huntsman was tapped as ambassador because he’s the best governor this state was going to get for the foreseeable future.

    Huntsman isn’t stupid enough to run in 2012, and since he’s only 50, he could easily wait until 2016 or even 2020. He’s smart, charismatic, reasonable, and a basically decent person. But yeah, the Tea Party and the evangelical Christians will not vote for him. I doubt he could get the nomination before the current Republican crazies implode. If he were nominated, I really think he’d be a strong candidate in the general election, and I could totally live with that.

    (Your “me and my family” comment was spot on as well.)

  64. 64
    megamahan says:

    Damn it, can I not request deletion after the time limit to edit is up? I’m inexperienced with commenting on this site, and my connection is really shaky right now for some reason.

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