So, is the GOP a normal political party? David Brooks has his doubts, and to be honest at times, so do I. In a normal world someone like former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman would have a chance a presidential candidate. People would look at his record and see that at least when it comes to fiscal matters, the governor is a conservative.
But like Brooks said yesterday, I don’t the GOP or at least large swaths of it is a regular political party, but is instead a political movement. Jonthan Tobin explains why he and his fellow writers at Commontary magazine are not that crazy about Huntsman:
Utah’s economic record does speak well for Huntsman, but the problem with his candidacy does not stem from worries about that aspect of his record. Huntsman has entered the GOP race as a moderate dripping with contempt for conservatives and clearly attempting to position himself as the darling of media elites and country club Republicans. After serving two years as President Obama’s ambassador to China, he has been slow to understand the one thing that unites the GOP is anger about the president’s policies.
This comes after a Huntsman supporter gave reasons why the magazine should consider Huntman. Among the arguments:
Opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans rank “the economy” and “jobs” as the top political issue. Huntsman’s past economic performance speaks of nothing but success. As governor of Utah, Huntsman signed the largest tax cut ($225 million) in the conservative state’s history, winning him the 2008 Cato Institute tax award and the 2007 Taxpayer Advocate Award; he fought against regulations hampering commerce (including, controversially, some of Utah’s more stringent liquor limitations); and he brought new high-tech businesses to the states. The result? The American Legislative Exchange Council called Utah the top state for expected economic recovery.
On paper, Huntman is a pretty competent conservative. His fiscal policy should be a dream to most conservatives. As far as I’ve known, Huntsman has never said a harsh thing about other Republicans. And why is the conservative media so fixated on how much the mainstream media loves Huntsman? I don’t think the love fest is as big as people think (a few articles does not make a love afair.) And if we are going to talk about media love affairs with certain Republican candidates, can we talk about the conservative media elite’s love for Michelle Bachmann? (She’s on the cover of both National Review and the Weekly Standard.)
I think it doesn’t matter to many if a candidate has a conservative fiscal record. If they don’t run around talking about the Democrats as the spawn of Satan, or see President Obama as a socialist, then they don’t matter among the conservative media. It’s the telltale sign a political movement versus a political party.