Jon Huntsman

Huntsman criticizes GOP on Colbert Report

Jon Huntsman

(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.”

Part 1 of the interview

Part 2 of the interview

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7 thoughts on “Huntsman criticizes GOP on Colbert Report

  1. He is the one I wanted to win the RNP candidacy. I cannot recall what he said, nor to whom, but during one of the debates, he put another candidate in their place. If I recall, they were talking about China, and Huntsman made some comment, as he was the Ambassador. Another idgit said something about “… I’ve been busy growing the Republican Party…” The may have said something about stopping the Democrats. Sheesh… Alzheimer’s has set in for me. Anyway – on that retort alone he won my support (not my vote, but my support).

    1. He’s talking about the Republicans I used to like. I used to be one of them, before Bush came along. He’s talking like a reasonable man who sees things as they are and doesn’t hesitate to say what needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, that seems to make him one of an increasingly rare breed.

  2. I too liked Huntsman, perhaps because of his moderation and government experience, but there’s more to it than that. Huntsman is a Mormon like Romney, but that doesn’t give me pause and so I’m forced to rethink my position on it. It’s not the religion, strange as it is, but Romney’s mannerisms and the projection of his personality that are sinister to me. That strange little smile, the way he cocks his head when making a pronouncement, his proffer of a $10,000 bet during a primary debate, the various gaffes indicating how different from ours is world he inhabits. Huntsman is a multi-talented guy from the real world; Romney is probably from Kolob.

    1. That odd little smile and cocked head thing absolutely creep me out. And sometimes he looks like he’s about to cry. Appearances shouldn’t matter (especially when there’s so much more that does matter), but there’s no way I can trust someone that I don’t even like. It’s worse than “don’t like”; it’s “actively dislike.”

      Thanks for the Kolob link. I had absolutely no idea what it is or was (or isn’t).

  3. We lived in Utah while Huntsman served as governor. He was extremely popular–a good problem solver–although some of his associates went too far right without enough analysis. Huntsman earned respect from political opponents as well as supporters. Think the Republicans picked the wrong Mormon!

... and that's my two cents