John Huntsman and Newt Gingrich had a foreign policy debate yesterday, and apparently it was well-mannered and carried out in complete sentences. If you look at Politico’s front page, which is leading with the question of whether Romney is to Gingrich as Clinton was to Obama (whatever the fuck that means), you’ll learn that Sarah Palin is trying to pimp another reality show, but you won’t read anything about the Gingrich/Huntsman debate. It’s as if the even didn’t even happen.
That’s pretty much the story of Huntsman’s entire campaign: he does something serious and everyone ignores him. Nate Silver has a new post detailing the kinds of needles various camels would have to pass through in order for Huntsman to win, and it’s a long, circuitous path. If you look at the polling, Huntsman has never gotten above a couple of percent, while Newt was up in the double digits many times before his current surge. Even Rick Santorum beats him consistently.
Sane journalists like Silver and Fallows constantly mention Huntsman because he’s clearly more electable than Newt, and probably Romney. But to the Republican primary voter, he’s the dork in the corner at the junior high dance. He’s not even interesting enough to ridicule. Every dog seems to have its day with the GOP electorate, except for Huntsman. Since the process of becoming the GOP frontrunner seems inherently irrational, I can’t count him out completely, but at some point he’s going to stop spending Daddy’s money and realize that he should have kept his powder dry until 2016.