Bad news: Civility candidate’s campaign pretty darned uncivil

posted at 8:08 pm on August 4, 2011 by Allahpundit

Should I bother blogging this? It’s a great read and hands-down the Big Political Story Of The Day, but how “big” can a story be when the subject is polling an asterisk? It’d be a bombshell if it had to do with Romney’s or Bachmann’s campaign. Because it’s Huntsman, it’s more like a really, really bright sparkler.

Sparkly:

[A] longtime family friend tells POLITICO that Huntsman’s wife and father fret that his presidential prospects have been threatened by the turmoil — and he places the blame on John Weaver, Huntsman’s controversial chief strategist…

He described Huntsman’s organization as disorganized and full of staff tension, disclosed new facts about the candidate’s announcement day mishaps, recounted tearful conversations with the recently departed [campaign manager Susie] Wiles and revealed other previously undisclosed resignations…

After Fischer’s revelations, multiple sources close to Huntsman’s campaign subsequently came forward to corroborate some of the information and disclose new facts — revealing a campaign divided between factions loyal to Weaver and those who couldn’t stand him…

The problem for Huntsman, of course, is that all this high-decibel public squabbling undercuts his main rationale for winning the GOP nomination — that the former Utah governor offers the level-headed competence and executive experience needed to unseat President Barack Obama. Not only that, but voters might wonder how he’d bring civility to the public discourse — another Huntsman promise — if he can’t do the same inside the four walls of his campaign headquarters

Added a … source who worked on the campaign, of Weaver: “One minute he’s a nice man and the next minute he’s blasting you with four-letter words. I can’t understand why Huntsman keeps him.”

Deadpanned Fischer: “If you’re the civility candidate your campaign has to be civil to one another.”

Weigel wonders why Democrats have been circulating this story today when the improbable emergence of Huntsman as GOP nominee would help Obama by all but ensuring a third-party challenge on the right. I don’t get it either. In case you can’t be bothered to read the whole piece, the villain turns out to be Huntsman’s chief strategist, John Weaver, whom you may remember from the last time a Republican presidential campaign melted down in mid-summer. Weaver’s an old McCain ally and Rove nemesis who briefly turned Democrat after Bush was elected before finding his way back to the right with, er, Huntsman. The last time he made a blip in conservative media was back in June, when Esquire magazine quoted him as saying, “There’s a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party. No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks.” Exactly the sort of thing you’d want your chief strategist telling the press if you already have a credibility problem with your party’s base, no? For more on Weaver, read Matt Lewis’s terrific post at the Daily Caller tracking his career, which is notable for lots of backstage drama and lots of … defeats. Exactly the qualities you’d seek in a chief strategist if you’re keen to project an image of cool, quiet managerial command, no? And yet, Huntsman’s sticking by him. Go figure.

Devil’s advocate exit question: As embarrassing as this piece is, does it hurt Huntsman at all? McCain won the nomination despite his own early campaign drama (although, granted, he had advantages that Huntsman doesn’t), and Huntsman is so far back in the polls and desperate for media traction that it might help him in a perverse way to have people talking about him for whatever reason. If New Hampshire sours on Romney and Huntsman’s numbers start to climb, this story sets him up for the inevitable paint-by-numbers “comeback!” buzz down the line. No one cares about his backstage problems except political junkies.

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Jonathan Martin writing this article would be like someone writing about the turmoil in the 2004 Moseley Braun presidential campaign.

It's Vintage, Duh on August 4, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Who’s Huntsman?

Cicero43 on August 4, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Who’s Huntsman?

Cicero43 on August 4, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Beat me to it.

GrannyDee on August 4, 2011 at 8:14 PM

My dog Finn “offers the level-headed competence and executive experience needed to unseat President Barack Obama.”

Bruce MacMahon on August 4, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Huntsman’s only hope to get on the radar anywhere, which stands at much less the chance of AP being ordained as the official blogger for the Vatican, is a knock-dead performance at the Iowa debate next week, if they even permit him to participate. He is becoming like that beggar at the red light that you just don’t want to make eye contact with.

TXUS on August 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Why have Democrats been circulating this story?

Easy.

It is all part of an orchestrated program, pure Saul Alinsky.

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it.

Each candidate on the Right who has announced so far, or who has shown an inclination to do so, has been met with this treatment.

Cause divisiveness among your opponents and their supporters…gee, have we seen any of that lately? Cause friction among them. Polarize them.

Then, when the dust has settled, walk over the ashes and broken bones and announce, “I won!”

coldwarrior on August 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM

He should have listened to his wife.

“Why is he not on The View”.

So as to, you know, woo all those….GOP Primary voters.

aquaviva on August 4, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Huntsman hears a who?

The only people who think Huntsman is a good candidate live in DC or Manhattan… If he really wanted to be president, he would try to revive the DLC and primary Barry…

phreshone on August 4, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Perrrryyyy!!!

blatantblue on August 4, 2011 at 8:23 PM

Dems:
See? We’re not the only ones uncivil…

golfmann on August 4, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Each candidate on the Right who has announced so far, or who has shown an inclination to do so, has been met with this treatment.

coldwarrior on August 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM

“Candidate on the right” … what does that have to do with Huntsman?

bw222 on August 4, 2011 at 8:28 PM

bw222 on August 4, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Got me on that one. :-)

coldwarrior on August 4, 2011 at 8:30 PM

The only people who think Huntsman is a good candidate live in DC or Manhattan…

phreshone on August 4, 2011 at 8:21 PM

You forgot Petunia.

bw222 on August 4, 2011 at 8:30 PM

[A] longtime family friend tells POLITICO that Huntsman’s wife and father fret that his presidential prospects have been threatened by the turmoil — and he places the blame on John Weaver, Huntsman’s controversial chief strategist…

Coming across as having the Mormon version of Joseph P. Kennedy as one of the driving forces behind his campaign probably isn’t going to help Huntsman with the Republican primary electorate, either, if the see him not just as a moderate squish, but as running in part to fulfill billionaire dad’s desire to make his son president.

jon1979 on August 4, 2011 at 8:31 PM

John who?

irishspy on August 4, 2011 at 8:31 PM

The Fox panel all agreed tonight that Huntsman is done.

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 8:31 PM

The Fox panel all agreed tonight that Huntsman is done.

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Didn’t Time magazine do a piece about how much the Dems feared Huntsman back in May of this year?

That little tactic failed.

coldwarrior on August 4, 2011 at 8:35 PM

No one cares about his backstage problems except political junkies.

No one knows about Huntsman except political junkies, AP.

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 8:37 PM

Devil’s advocate exit question: As embarrassing as this piece is, does it hurt Huntsman at all?

Considering Huntsman’s campaign was DOA before it even began…I think not. Now it’s just entertainment.

AUINSC on August 4, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Esquire magazine quoted him as saying, “There’s a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party. No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks.” Exactly the sort of thing you’d want your chief strategist telling the press if you already have a credibility problem with your party’s base, no? For more on Weaver, read Matt Lewis’s terrific post at the Daily Caller tracking his career, which is notable for lots of backstage drama and lots of … defeats.

Wow. Talk about Inside Baseball…..great post and link….had never heard of this guy.

Tim_CA on August 4, 2011 at 8:42 PM

As embarrassing as this piece is, does it hurt Huntsman at all?

I suppose it might, if anyone was paying any attention to him.

iurockhead on August 4, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Should I bother blogging this?

Uh, I would say, emphatically NOPE. As others have said, Huntsman, who?

sicoit on August 4, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Obama’s campaign song.

Key West Reader on August 4, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Feh.

ted c on August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Another quiet night around the campfire, I guess.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Feh.

ted c on August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

What you gettin all in a tizzy about?

Key West Reader on August 4, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Another quiet night around the campfire, I guess.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Countin heads, and cans of corn.

Key West Reader on August 4, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Another quiet night around the campfire, I guess.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

After losing 5% of my portfolia/retirement today, I went out and bought a case of wine. I’ll be drinking heavily throughout the evening. Care to join me?

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Devil’s advocate exit question: As embarrassing as this piece is, does it hurt Huntsman at all?

It’s impossible to hurt a dead campaign.

OhioCoastie on August 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Coming across as having the Mormon version of Joseph P. Kennedy as one of the driving forces behind his campaign probably isn’t going to help Huntsman with the Republican primary electorate, either, if the see him not just as a moderate squish, but as running in part to fulfill billionaire dad’s desire to make his son president.

jon1979 on August 4, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Not entirely a fair comparison, because the Huntsman family made their money legally.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Being a Civility Candidate, Huntsman must primary Obama.

What? He’s a republican? Nooooooooh.

He walks, talks and acts like a Dem. He must be a Dem!

TheAlamos on August 4, 2011 at 9:03 PM

After losing 5% of my portfolia/retirement today, I went out and bought a case of wine. I’ll be drinking heavily throughout the evening. Care to join me?

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 8:58 PM

LMAO….started exactly 1-1/2 hours after the markets closed.

Cheers!

Tim_CA on August 4, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Well I could make a really uncivil joke right now…

but I’m not going to.

Bro with the Sick Flow on August 4, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Slapfight on the Titanic.

Jim Treacher on August 4, 2011 at 9:11 PM

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Point taken. But with the country angry right now about a president who won’t take charge or take responsibility for anything, having a candidate in any way as being seen as the son dad’s vicariously living his presidential ambitions through probably isn’t a net asset (and, miracle of miracles, if Huntsman was tobwin the GOP nomination, you can bet dad would become the Koch brothers on steroids to the big media during the general election).

jon1979 on August 4, 2011 at 9:34 PM

TimeTraveler hardest hit.

Kataklysmic on August 4, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Wasn’t weaver the one who made life miserable for Sarah on the campaign trail and leaked all about the clothes that they insisted she wear?
Of course huntsman was a supporter of mccain and knew weaver well. If this is who he hangs with – well let him hang!

Bambi on August 4, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Huntsman’s still running?

William Teach on August 4, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Huntsman is a plant.

Take that any way you wish.

Vegetable or saboteur?

Who knows?

hillbillyjim on August 4, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Jon Huntsman has several problems.

First, almost no one knows who he is.

Second, those who do think he is at best another McCain or at worst an Obama plant to give Republicans the weakest candidate ever.

He has about as much appeal as Leonid Brezhnev. He doesn’t even look like a Republican. His metrosexual looks with the well coiffed hair and botoxed face make him look like a … well I won’t go there. He certainly isn’t the Marlboro Man.

What we need is a candidate who will come out swinging and is willing to get a few bruises taking on Obama. I don’t think Huntsman is that man.

Corky Boyd on August 4, 2011 at 10:22 PM

After losing 5% of my portfolia/retirement today, I went out and bought a case of wine. I’ll be drinking heavily throughout the evening. Care to join me?

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Today was rough on the stock portfolios, that’s for sure, and I lifted a couple of beers to deaden the pain. Still, I hurt more thinking about the kids and grandkids, and what we are doing to their futures.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 4, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Today was rough on the stock portfolios, that’s for sure, and I lifted a couple of beers to deaden the pain. Still, I hurt more thinking about the kids and grandkids, and what we are doing to their futures.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 4, 2011 at 10:36 PM

That is the true travesty in this stupid game of chicken where nobody wins.

hillbillyjim on August 4, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Because it’s Huntsman, it’s more like a really, really bright sparkler.

Sparkly:

When the history of the Internet is written, in the chapter on “Blogs, bloggers, and blogging”, the mighty Allahpundit will be viewed as the Michaelangelo of his day.

Purple Fury on August 4, 2011 at 11:43 PM

Slapfight on the Titanic.

Jim Treacher on August 4, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Treacher, you and Iowahawk will be in there too.

Purple Fury on August 4, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Yawwwn!

rcl on August 5, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Still, I hurt more thinking about the kids and grandkids, and what we are doing to their futures.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 4, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I’ll drink to that!

rcl on August 5, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Huntsman should just go ahead and run as a Democrat. His strategy guy appears to swing both ways so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch.
He’ll get more notice giving Obama the primary he richly deserves.

Murf76 on August 5, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Huntsman is the answer to a question that nobody asked.

The reason his campaign is faltering is because he has no appeal to anybody in the Republican Party.

Squabbling about campaign managers is like blaming the poor sales of Dogshit Flavored Ice-Cream on the packaging design. If the ice-cream says Dogshit on the label, it is not going to sell, no matter how nice the packaging.

Haiku Guy on August 5, 2011 at 7:01 AM

OK. I finally figured out Huntsman’s play…

He is running in the Republican primary to demonstrate that he is a Republican.

After he crashes and burns on the Republican side, he pivots and primaries Obama in the Democratic Primary. The ‘Rats are looking for any way off the sinking ship, and they are not going to ask a lot of questions.

Then he runs against the Republican in the general as the Bloomberg-type moderate. “Hey, this guy was a Republican just last year…” He gets the Democrat vote and the mindless moderate vote, and it’s “Hello 1600!”

Haiku Guy on August 5, 2011 at 7:11 AM

And that’s how you sell dogshit flavored ice-cream!

Haiku Guy on August 5, 2011 at 7:12 AM

I thought the “crank” remark was stupid when he made it but then to find out that it perfectly describes his own personality and managerial style is pretty funny.

Cindy Munford on August 5, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Wait…ineptness…lack of name recognition…

this guy could be president!!!

What? The Democrats already have a candidate? Well then, never mind!

landlines on August 5, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Wait. Who?

Oh, yeah, that Huntsman guy.

RebeccaH on August 5, 2011 at 4:16 PM