Our Republican Endorsement

Today, let’s take a break from negativity. In the Republican Primary, this site endorses Jon Huntsman.

Mr. Huntsman will never win the nomination. He rejects creationism and climate denialism. He has the diplomat’s ability to speak to other cultures in their own terms, instead of the cultural hegemon’s insistence that they speak to him in his. In short, he rejects everything it means to be a Republican in the modern era. And by taking on the Republicans’ fringe, and its increasing pretensions to dominance, he shows no sign of stopping.

It’s this very commitment to centrism, and reasonable solutions, that together entitle him to the very position he’ll never occupy. Lesser men start from the center, and swerve right when it gets tough: McCain, for example. Huntsman shows every indication of sticking to his guns, even though it’ll cost him the nomination, to make a point about the way politics should be. For that, we applaud him.

To be clear, I at least could not support the Ambassador in a general election. The “flat tax,” and the notion that the poor should start paying taxes before the rich should pay more, remain wrongheaded and at odds with the facts (pdf). But a look at today’s political atmosphere makes clear that extremism begets extremism: when we first determine to forsake compromise, and set out to destroy one another rather than govern, we unlock Pandora’s box. It’s what happened in Wisconsin, and we can only fix the national problem by agreeing to govern together from the center again. Huntsman appears to understand as much, in a way that no other Republican does.

For that, he’s condemned to be an afterthought in a primary that’ll be defined by the Palins, Perrys, and Bachmanns, not by the Lugars and Huntsmans. That’s the Republicans’ loss — none of the former set have even a shadow of a shot in the general — but it’s the country’s loss, too. We deserve an election about ideas, not one where the Republican (wrongly) considers his opponent a foreign-born socialist, and the Democrat (probably correctly) considers his an intellectually bereft ideologue.

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20 comments

  1. “Today, let’s take a break from negativity.”

    Sounds like a good idea! It’s like Haley’s Comet (I’ll never se it again in my lifetime).

    “He rejects creationism and climate denialism. He has the diplomat’s ability to speak to other cultures in their own terms, instead of the cultural hegemon’s insistence that they speak to him in his. In short, he rejects everything it means to be a Republican in the modern era.

    We deserve an election about ideas, not one where the Republican (wrongly) considers his opponent a foreign-born socialist, and the Democrat (probably correctly) considers his an intellectually bereft ideologue.”

  2. One can be optimistic about the future, but pessimistic about the present. Do you disagree, though? Who on earth would you want to win the nomination?

  3. Huntsman is my favorite by a long shot but that’s not really the point Ames. The point is your 24/7 negativity. I’ve said it before but it’s pretty clear that you don’t run a pro-liberal/Democrat blog as much as you run an anti-conservative/Republican blog. I guess I just find it hard to understand how someone can be that passionate about bashing the other side of the aisle. It’s genuinely depressing. It’s almost like you have some void in your life you prefer to fill with contempt for the other side of the political aisle. Maybe you need a new hobby?

    1. I guess I just find it hard to understand how someone can be that passionate about bashing the other side of the aisle. It’s genuinely depressing. It’s almost like you have some void in your life you prefer to fill with contempt for the other side of the political aisle.

      Then how do you explain all the demagoguery that goes on on your side of the aisle? Time after time, when Republicans have been asked to offer their plan,their vision, their counterpoint, they START with jabs at Mr. Obama, or other Democrats, or liberals in general/ Is that not cut from the same cloth you so easily decry in Ames’ approach? And if it’s ok or even necessary for Republicans to do it, then why are Democrats required to suppress the impulse?

      1. Phillip – Whoever said I was suggesting ALL Democrats behaved like Ames? And when did I say that Republicans never act that way? We have plenty of folks just like him on my side of the aisle. But I look at things at the more micro level. HIS blog is extremely negative and he admits as much. Since I speak to him almost daily my comments were directed at his actions alone.

    2. I would say that Democrats typically feel under fire. Under Bush, we were labelled traitors, unamerican and weak. And I think from some of the rhetoric we’ve seen about Obama, that has never completely gone away.

      We feel that there’s this constant 24/7 news channel that’s highly popular set to boost Republicans while denigrating Democrats, that also supports Republican candidates, who’s talking points then get picked up by everyone.

      Then as I’ve claimed you have done before, there’s this ipso facto argument of, Republicans won the election, that means everyone agrees with what we want to do, which we still have to argue against.

      So we feel like we need to go out and say, no we are not trying to destroy america, why are you focusing on this, why is this your rhetoric, this proposal is bad.

      Mike, what’s that different than you coming here making excuses for everything Republicans say or do, while criticizing Marius, if you think he’s the same?

      1. It’s kind of a weird persecution complex you seem to be describing, combined with apparent genuine fear of the Right.

        “We feel that there’s this constant 24/7 news channel that’s highly popular set to boost Republicans while denigrating Democrats, that also supports Republican candidates, who’s talking points then get picked up by everyone.”

        And you all have a counter-balance, or have you never watched primetime MSNBC?

        ‘Mike, what’s that different than you coming here making excuses for everything Republicans say or do, while criticizing Marius, if you think he’s the same?”

        I don’t think that’s really accurate. I’m pretty vocal about opposing the Right on any number of issues (taxes, the death penalty, defense spending – just to name a few). When have you ever seen Ames deviate from the Democratic script?

      2. Actually, Oneiroi nails it. A major theme here is that progressivism/liberalism are just as “American” as anything else, and that necessarily requires rejection of the Republican Party line, which holds that we’re all unpatriotic, effete elitists.

        But it also includes posts on first principles, like equal protection and judicial review, posts you have to elide for your thesis to hold true.

        Oh, and MSNBC as a counterbalance to Fox?! Hah!

        1. I don’t know how anyone would read your site and be able to make any kind of assesment of liberalism. You don’t ever really talk about it. All I know is all the reaons why you think the Right is terrible.

        2. I don’t really find the MSNBC -> Fox comparison ever to be apt. Since Fox brands itself as unbiased, has more hours of opinion programming based on disseminating conservative narratives, which threads topics through their news coverage, and has what…a few million more viewers? I agree with the Current TV president who said they only trot out a liberal viewpoint for a couple hours a night.

          And I do hold that right now, particularly because of the 2010 election results, the new Republican nominee push, and the relative “newness” of the Tea Party, that conservatives are getting a large percentage of the media spotlight.

          I’m not saying you don’t have opinions that don’t go against the party, I don’t even think that was the main part of your complaint. Instead, I was saying, that you tend to make excuses for nearly every incendiary, unfair, false things conservative politicians say, but then are hard on Marius, a blogger. While most of the time it’s just a single hyperbolic sentence, of which if pointed out, he apologizes for or re-phrases, while willing to talk it out with you.

          But because it’s coming from a liberal…

          1. I don’t watch the daytime programming on the two stations so I can’t speak to that but what I do know is that you have two major cable news outlets that have counter-programming on in the primetime hours. Neither is making any pretense about their political leanings. Hell, here in Louisville they reside on channels 44 and 45 on the cable dial so it’s not like MSNBC is forced into some obscure spot in the triple digits.

            “But Fox has SO MANY more viewers!” you complain.

            Okay – but isn’t that the free choice of the viewers? What I am saying is that you have two pundits on opposite street corners with megaphones of equal size and you are complaining because more people are listening to the guy on the Fox corner. No one is stopping them from crossing the street.

            I make excuses for what ALL politicians say because they ALL say stupid things. You just never get to hear me make excuses for the Left because Ames will never mention their ‘inflammatory’ rhetoric. The only difference between you and I is that i don’t have any blinders on with regards to how my team behaves.

            But Ames isn’t a politician…yet…so he doesn’t qualify for the scumbag politicians-get-a-pass club.

  4. Hah! Deskchair psychology. I love it.

    You’re right, of course. It is existential ennui that makes me so skeptical of Republican “solutions.”

  5. I wonder if that is the kind of politician you will be?

    If liberalism was so great you would be running a positive site that celebrated your political philosophy. Instead it’s all hate and venomn. Pretty gross really.

  6. I actually don’t think this site is terribly “negative.” Critical, yes, but I dispute the idea that criticism precludes the presentation of positive ideas, and that it’s the only sentiment expressed here.

  7. When you start a post by saying, “Today, let’s take a break from negativity,” it seems to contradict what you just said.

    Also, look at your tag cloud. Republicans feature pretty loudly. I don’t even see the word Democrat or Progressive or Liberal on there. So why aren’t you talking about those things? Your own header contends this is the home for ‘progressive thought’. What is progressive about running a Republican slam site?

    1. Is counting tags the new trick after counting how many times someone uses the pronoun “I” to assess their egotism?

      I think you’re selectively emphasizing articles to try to make a weird point. Which is weird.

      1. I’m simply looking at your cloud – which clearly indicates that you think more about Republicans than Democrats or liberalism or progressivism. It’s almost as though you entire political philosophy is based on anti-Republican reactionism. Do you check under the bed for conservatives before you go to sleep?

  8. Your closing paragraph contains a clause that gives me an opening to express my dissatisfaction with this post. That clause is “not by the Lugars and Huntsmans”. Your post does an excellent job of explaining why Huntsman is preferable to Palin/Perry/Bachmann et al. And I agree with you – little as I know about him, it’s more than enough to convince me that he is preferable to their kind.

    But here’s the thing: I don’t think your post really explains why you pick Huntsman as the best of “the Lugars and Huntsmans”. Likewise, I don’t think it gives me reasons why I should support him instead of Johnson (who also rejects creationism and climate denialism and social conservative cultural hegemonism).

    And based off of the regular commenters here I’m guessing that the majority of your Republican-leaning readership isn’t in the Palin/Perry/Bachmann et al. camp so distinguishing Huntsman from the rest of the Lugars and Huntsmans and Johnsons would probably have more impact on actual primary results.

  9. Yeah, I suppose at the end of the day Johnson & Huntsman have equal chances. But Huntsman gets more coverage for some reason?

    1. Well, here’s one guy’s hypothesis (which is also a hypothesis for why Paul gets no coverage, except for the coverage he gets from Jon Stewart so rightly criticizing the professional news media’s refusal to give him coverage): http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/why-huntsman-is-praised-while-ron-paul-is-ignored/243910/

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