Underwhelmed by Huntsman
Anyone who caught a glimpse of Jon Huntsman's underwhelming performance during the Iowa debate recognizes that Obama's former ambassador to China doesn't even qualify as an empty suit. Heir to a fabulous fortune, Huntsman has had the luxury of what amounts to an extended adolescence, spending his formative years in college with a stint of missionary work in Taiwan thrown in to fulfill the obligation to his Mormon orthodoxy.
Huntsman's resume is a testament to the man's political ambition. While his job experience looks good on paper (he worked in the administration of 4 different presidents), the jobs he held appear to be the kind of job generated in return for political patronage. He was a White House staff assistant to Reagan, ambassador to Singapore under the elder Bush, and U.S trade representative under George W. Bush, before crossing the political aisle to serve as Obama's ambassador to China. These jobs are often awarded to big-time political donors or their designated associates. And the Huntsmans have a lot of dough to throw around.
Huntsman père, Jon Huntsman, Sr., is a red-blooded American success story. He founded the Huntsman Container Corporation in 1970; the company went on to invent the clamshell plastic container for the McDonald's Big Mac as well as the first plastic plates and bowls. The company quickly blossomed into a multi-billion-dollar operation.
As in many dynastic families, it is awfully difficult to live up to the founder's credentials (see the Kennedys, for instance). The generations that follow the dynasty's founder often don't add much to the family business. While Huntsman Jr. has been able to piece together a nice resume between dabbling in the family business and trading in his inherited political patronage, one is reminded of Alan Watts' comment about aristocrats: "Aristocrats are like potatoes: the best part of them is underground."
Left to his own devices, Jon Huntsman, Jr. provides the kind of bug-eyed, fence-straddling, boot-quaking performance we witnessed in the Iowa Republican debate. His approximately 20 months as ambassador to China seem unremarkable except for this video of Huntsman immersed in a protesting crowd during China's failed Jasmine Revolution. Following in his boss B.O.'s footsteps, Huntsman, when asked why he was attending the protest, voted present: "I'm just here to look around."
That comment seems to sum up Jon Huntsman, Jr.'s entire term as ambassador to China. During that period, the Chinese have rattled their sabers, engaged in continuous human rights violations against their own citizens, and egged their client states on to virulent opposition to the United States (see North Korea and Iran or Darfur). In addition, the Chinese continue to campaign internationally for the removal of the U.S. dollar as the favored world currency. I was unable to find any commentary from Ambassador Huntsman challenging these Chinese transgressions of fundamental diplomacy.
After cobbling together what he must sincerely believe is an acceptable resume for the job of U.S. president, Jon Hunstman, Jr. is now in full campaign mode for the Republican nomination. You have to admit that as flimsy as it is, his qualifications are better than B.O.'s were when the latter was elected. And look how that's turning out. While accepting Huntsman's right to run for any office he chooses, the question remains:
Why would an respectable news organization treat Huntsman's candidacy any differently from that of other unqualified novelty candidates, like Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, or Al Sharpton?
The answer, of course, is that the news organizations fluffing his candidacy are interested only in undermining the Republican nomination process and are not deserving of respect.
On the face of things, it appears that a small coterie of rogue "political advisers" with questionable allegiance to the Republican party and a horrible record of failure in terms of actually gaining office is driving the media spin for Huntsman. At least two of these mopes contributed to John McCain's pitiful run at the office in 2008. Primary among them would be Mark McKinnon and John Weaver.
McKinnon, inaccurately described in the lickspittle media as a Republican political adviser, was a Democrat who saw his opportunity after meeting George W. Bush when Bush was governor of Texas. McKinnon's description of Bush's appeal to him is revealing:
[Bush] was talking about education reform. He was talking about immigration reform. He was talking about issues that had been Democratic issues. He was talking about them in a very compassionate way.
After working with Bush to develop Bush's compassionate side, McKinnon signed on as principal media adviser to John McCain in January of 2007, but was suffering a huge man-crush on Barack Obama and couldn't see fit to run against him. He resigned early in 2008. Becoming something of a double-agent for the Democrats, McKinnon jumped in and out of the McCain campaign until he reluctantly agreed to help prepare Sarah Palin for the vice presidential debates. Some would say McKinnon's half-hearted effort amounted to an attempt to sabotage the campaign. He went on to help found the political action committee for politicians without spines called No Labels in 2010.
Not surprisingly, He-who-wants-no-label supplied the Daily Beast with a puff-piece describing little Jonny Huntsman as "The GOP's 2012 Game-Changer." After watching his performance in the Iowa debate, I would describe Huntsman as more of a channel-changer. McKinnon goes on to rank Huntsman as the 2nd-best Republican candidate behind Mitt Romney. Just as in 2008, we have a gaggle of media spin-doctors who don't even rise up to the level of RINO telling us who our candidates should be. Huntsman doesn't rank as the 2nd-most qualified Republican candidate even when he's standing in a room with Lindsay Graham and Lisa Murkowski.
Hunstman's Tweedledum to Tweedledee McKinnon is John Weaver. One sentence from Weaver's Wikipedia biography describes the man perfectly:
John Weaver (8 April 1959) is an American political consultant best known for his work on the John McCain presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2008. In between, he worked for a time for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
How effective can a consultant be when he's consulting for two organizations with diametrically opposed philosophies? Obviously these No-Labels guys have no scruples either. The fact that Weaver was selected to run the aisle-crosser from Arizona's campaign speaks volumes about Weaver's unwillingness to be constrained by Republican principles. Other than driving McCain's campaign into the dirt, Weaver is best-known for his attacks on Karl Rove and his suspected involvement in leaking details about McCain's suggested dalliance with a lobbyist to the New York Times. What a guy!
I suppose we should be grateful that he is shilling for Jon (don't you dare spell it with an "h") Huntsman: it would appear that JW's imprimatur is the kiss of death. The boys from No Labels are tricky little devils, however, and are adept at getting their candidate's name in the palace media papers -- especially when he is hammering the other Republican candidates.
One might call Huntsman a stalking horse for Obama within the Republican Party. Considering Huntsman's lack of gravitas, however, we might better call him a stalking pony. His brain trust seems to think that believing in the fairy-tale of global warming is a resume-enhancer. I suspect that support for global warming will not be part of the Republican platform in 2012. Tina Korbe at Hot Air sums up the Huntsman approach succinctly:
It's all a bit rich coming from Huntsman, who casts himself as the "civility" candidate, but tweets snarky remarks, inserts subtle jabs at his opponents into his conversation and continually resurrects the "sideshows" ... he says are damaging to the Republican image. ( ... the hypocrisy bothers me more than the snark.)
The fact that we are considering any remarks at all from this tinfoil candidate garnering 1-3% in the polls is a testament to his handlers' cozy connections within the Obama propaganda media. They apparently still find Huntsman a useful idiot, though, as his scheduled appearance on the NBC Republican debate demonstrates. NBC and Politico laughably suggest that the candidates had to "qualify" for the debate by garnering at least 4-percent support in one of eight national polls. I haven't seen a poll with Huntsman scoring that high -- perhaps they included a Huntsman family poll.
Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker.