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Jon Huntsman probably would make an excellent president. But he never had a chance. He was far too even-keeled, far too intellectually honest and possessed the one quality that the Republican base absolutely cannot tolerate: temperence. E.J. Dionne also observes:

My friend and colleague Harold Meyerson and I went to a well-attended Huntsman event in Peterborough, N.H. the night of the Iowa caucuses. Huntsman was good that night, but Harold was struck by two things: First, the crowd cheered the remarks that might be seen as critical of Republicans (for example, of the GOP in Congress) far more than they cheered anti-Obama comments that typically draw loud shots of approval from standard Republican audiences. Second, Harold had the definitive line on Huntsman: “The words are conservative,” he said, “but the music is liberal.” Huntsman seemed happiest talking about his belief in science and his refusal to sign anti-tax or other pledges. Conservatives heard the liberal music. And enough moderates and liberals heard the conservative positions not to rally to him.

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One Comment

  1. “Temperance?” As in “a social movement against the use of alcoholic beverages?” Well if temperance is a quality the Republican party can’t stomach, then someone needs to tell the majority of Republican primary voters that (surprise!) Mitt Romney is a Mormon too.

    Perhaps you’re really referring to Huntsman’s lack of passion. However, Romney too is lacking in passion. It is, in fact, his passionless and seemingly “safe” position of nothing new, that has probably propelled him as far as he is. As much as people love passion, they often vote for the candidate who’s most familiar and less threatening.

    E.J. Dionne’s comments would seem to be keen, and I like the bit about the “liberal music.” However, the political assessment would seem to be lacking in light of Romney’s success.

    In all probability Huntsman’s campaign failed because he lacked personality, passion, ideas, and a conservative backing.

    Many liberals must be greatly disappointed that conservatives didn’t (haven’t yet?) nominated a candidate of their choosing.


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