I understand that the strategy for a “serious” 2012 Republican is to be the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind, or to be the last man standing after voters decide they just can’t stomach Mitt Romney, or some other variation on that sad theme, but I still don’t understand what John Huntsman is playing at. He’s facing an electorate that’s primed to despise all things Obama, so he’s got to split hairs when describing his recent relationship with the President. What’s worse, he also has to tell lies about his support of the stimulus:
This is critically important to understanding Huntsman. His line on stimulus wasn’t just progressive; it was arguablyto the left of many Democrats. Faced with the economic crisis, Huntsman’s argument was that Democrats weren’t spending enough money.[…]For the record, I imagine the Obama White House would have loved to pursue a similar approach to the one Huntsman outlined, but it was conservatives in Congress who refused. In the context of the 2012 campaign, though, it’s worth remembering that his “one gripe” with the stimulus two years ago had nothing to do with wanting more tax cuts — it was that he wanted more government spending, especially on infrastructure, not less.
Obviously, that’s the exact opposite of the Republican Party’s approach to economic policy, but just as important, it’s also the opposite of what Huntsman said about his position last week.
Like Romney, Huntsman is busy retracting any of his recently-held positions that smacked of progressivism (save for civil unions), and stupidly doubling-down on the Ryan budget. In the unlikely event that he does grab the nomination, all that means is that the Obama campaign will spend a few million of its billion dollars on digging up and airing every desperate flip flop this guy made to appeal to the Republican base. He’s throwing away a lot of potential to be the next Fritz Mondale or Bob Dole.