(Updated Sept. 1, 2012, at 9:30 pm, MDT)
Jon Huntsman, the man who would have had a good shot at getting my vote for president this year, appeared on The Colbert Report last night and in addition to the humor (it’s a satirical news show, after all) explained where he stands vs. where his party seems to stand.
Huntsman was another of the notable Republicans not attending the GOP Convention in Tampa. He had already announced he would not attend, but I am perplexed by a party (or a very insecure presidential nominee) that doesn’t welcome all its members to its own national convention. Michael Steele, former national GOP chairman wasn’t there, nor the GOP’s last president, George Bush. Ron Paul and his delegates showed up but were not welcome and were treated rudely. Other legally selected delegates were dumped because they wouldn’t sign affidavits swearing in advance to vote for Mitt Romney.
Huntsman was in the early field of candidates for the GOP presidential nomination last fall. He didn’t fare well, apparently because he’s just too moderate and rational for today’s ultraconservative Republican Party. He represents the GOP that used to be.
Among the points he made when Colbert wasn’t cracking jokes:
He wants the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan to become more inclusive, to “broaden the footprint” and to adopt “a larger optimistic, hopeful message about the future of this country that’s based on real solutions.”
Beyond that, he hates super PACs. “Super PACs are destroying this democracy and everybody knows it and nobody wants to talk about it…. It’s an abomination.”
Political parties go in cycles, he said. The Republican Party today is “in some senses a holding company for fundraising … It’s got to have a heart and soul; it’s got to have a vision for this country. It’s got to have solutions.”
“We’ve talked a little bit about the fiscal deficit. I would say that just as corrosive in this country is something called the trust deficit. … We have a trust deficit because we are not getting the straight scoop from our elected officials and because of that people don’t trust their elected officials; they don’t trust their institutions of power…. Unless this country takes steps toward addressing the trust deficit, like term limits for elected officials, like dealing with campaign finance, dealing with the revolving door that just allows people to leave after they’ve been in Congress a while and become lobbyists, and we’ve created this establishment in D.C. that basically just breathes the four-year campaign, so we’re going to end in November and then we’re going to start 2016 all over again.”
What happens to the party if Romney loses? “The party goes into the wilderness for a while to figure out what it is they are and what they stand for going forward.”
And because it is a comedy show, there was this exchange near the end:
Huntsman: “There’s a lot that can inspire the party going forward, so Abraham Lincoln believing in individual dignity, Theodore Roosevelt believing that the land is an important legacy that we’re leaving behind, Eisenhower who left us with the Interstate system — what would we do without our infrastructure in this country… You can’t compete in the 21st Century without infrastructure.”
Colbert: “But that’s government; government does that.”
Huntsman: “Well, of course. There is a role for government …”
Colbert: “Again, we know why you aren’t in Tampa right now.”
- Jon Huntsman Will Not Attend GOP Conventions Until Party ‘Put[s] Our Country Before Politics’ (mediaite.com)
- Jon Huntsman Skipping Republican Convention (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Jon Huntsman skipping Republican National Convention as affront to GOP (tampabay.com)
- Huntsman challenges party, will not attend GOP convention (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- What did Huntsman say to Colbert in Mandarin? (languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu)