But what happens the next time Obama wants a talented Republican like Hunstman to serve in his administration? Does he really want that Republican to contend not only with being attacked by fellow partisans in his next race, but knowing that Obama will be collaborating in the attack? if there is a calculation here, it seems like an awfully short-sighted one.
This pearl clutching was sparked by Mark Halperin, who thinks that the Obama Administration is exerting a “death hug” by saying that Huntsman was an excellent ambassador to China.
Perhaps Obama is being clever, or perhaps Jon Huntsman was just a good ambassador to China. But even if Obama is playing 11 dimensional chess, why is it his fault that the rump of the Republican party is so nuts that a little well-deserved praise from Obama disqualifies Huntsman as a 2012 contender? I expect that kind of stupidity from Halperin, but Chait should know better than to blame Obama for the insanity of the far right.
The only “collaboration” I see here is Chait’s, because he’s embracing a stupid beltway double-bind that makes as much sense as any other blame-the-victim logic: “Mommy should have realized that Daddy had too much to drink, so it’s her fault that Daddy punched her in the face.”
If the Republican party rejects talented moderates for doing something as uncontroversial as serving as an ambassador, then let that party pay the price by running unelectable clowns like Palin and Huckabee. And don’t concern troll us by calling it “short sighted” for Obama to execute a strategy that will almost guarantee his election in 2012.
(“Scrotum” is the right word, by the way. It’s an insult to a tough, resilient organ like the vagina to compare it to the average New Republic writer.)