Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Headed for a blowout

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman -- that rather sensible, rather independent Republican (and there aren't many who are either these days) -- is off to China, or soon will be, as Obama's ambassador, and so likely won't be running for president (and against Obama, against whom he might have been a formidable opponent) in 2012, but one of his chief advisors, long-time McCainiac John Weaver, with whom one would expect him to be in agreement, has put in perspective, post-Huntsman (or without Huntsman), just what could become of the GOP:

If it's 2012 and our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we're headed for a blowout. That's just the truth.

Well, yes, that is the truth, and the truth is also that the Republican Party is defined by Palin, Limbaugh, Cheney, and their hardcore rightist ilk.

However appealing are the likes of Huntsman (and, again, there aren't many of them, not with Dear Leader Rush and his various minions calling the ideological shots), the Republican Party, today's Republican Party, isn't a party that would choose Huntsman to be its presidential nominee. Yes, it chose McCain, but that was an accident -- he was the least bad of a poor crop of candidates, and the most viable right-wing alternative, Mitt Romney, lacked credibility on the right -- and, post-2008, the far right has learned its lesson.

Which is fine for those of us who support the other side -- I'd rather not go up against a rejuvenated party under the leadership of Huntsman and those like him (that is, those who aren't extremist ideologues, even if they aren't, alternatively, moderates -- remember, McCain wasn't a moderate, though he played one from time to time, as it suited his political aspirations) -- but which should not be fine to Republicans who care about winning, as well as about the future of their party and what it can contribute to American public life.

So Huntsman can head to Beijing -- and Weaver can say whatever he wants. It's not like those now purging the party of difference and dissent are about to back down.

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