Via Buzzfeed, former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman reminds us why he received the most favorable coverage from the media, and yet consistently polled at or near the bottom of the heap before dropping out of the GOP race.
Recounting his first experience on the presidential debate stage in Iowa last August, Huntsman says he was struck by the question “Is this the best we could do?”
Huntsman, the former Utah governor and once President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to China, expressed disappointment that the Republican Party disinvited him from a Florida fundraiser in March after he publicly called for a third party.
“This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,” he said.
Huntsman said he regrets his decision to oppose a 10-to-1 spending cuts to tax increase deal to cut the deficit at the Iowa debate lamenting: “if you can only do certain things over again in life.”
“What went through my head was if I veer at all from my pledge not to raise any taxes…then I’m going to have to do a lot of explaining,” he explained. “What was going through my mind was ‘don’t I just want to get through this?'”
That decision, Huntsman said, “has caused me a lot of heartburn.”
His comment comparing the GOP to the Communist Party in China is so outrageously outrageous that you have to wonder whether this was a lame attempt at a joke. He’s now claiming his comment was taken out of context (of course), but I think more than anything this is just sour grapes on Huntsman’s part. He actually embarked on this campaign of running (well) to the left of mainstream conservatism soon after the 2008 election, and really has never let up. What did he expect from the GOP after he expressed support for a third party run by someone more moderate than…Mitt Romney? There is no surer way to ensure Barack Obama is re-elected in November, and given how Huntsman has positioned himself it’s not hard to imagine that he envisions a political climate more receptive to his particular charms in 2016. A big tent is one thing, but it’s generally expected that you remain in the tent if you want to continue as a member of the party.
And what exactly does Huntsman regret about his opposition to any tax increases at the Iowa debate? That he didn’t tell the truth? What, does Hunstman think if he had answered this question more honestly that somehow the outcome of his candidacy would be any different? This can’t possibly be the case and I can only surmise that his real regret is losing a measure of credibility with all those reasonable (non-communist) Republicans, not to mention his friends in the liberal media.
Having closely followed Huntman’s campaign from its outset, I think I can accurately recount the question most conservatives were struck by when they were introduced to his campaign:
But considering the amount of money spent on Huntsman’s campaign, and his ultimate failure to gain traction with even one single contingent of the Republican party, the real question we should be asking is…why?