After a breakout performance in last week’s presidential debate, Jon Huntsman appeared to have established himself as the media’s darling in the 2012 race.
For a brief moment — about six days — mainstream reporters and pundits thought they had found a moderate diamond in the rough of a rabidly partisan 2012 field. Huntsman looked like that rare Republican willing to admit he believes in evolution, climate change, and maybe even civil unions.
But the media’s tryst with Huntsman ended as quickly as it began during last night’s CNN/Tea Party debate. The former Utah Governor surrendered his high ground, and regressed to lashing out his opponents with lame jokes and petty one-liners. He turned into the most annoying kind of smart-arse — the kind that’s not funny.
Here’s a rundown of the snarky remarks that paved Huntsman’s road to irrelevance:
- On Social Security:”You’ve got Governor Romney, who called it a fraud in his book “No Apology.” I don’t know if that was written by Kurt Cobain or not.” (He later continued with this theme, calling for an end to America’s “heroin-like addiction to foreign oil”).
- On jobs: “I know that everything’s bigger in Texas, and Rick likes to talk that way. And I know all the smart people reside in Massachusetts. But let me just tell you, Utah, the great state of Utah, was number one in job creation at 5.9 per cent during my years as governor.”
- On Rick Perry’s immigration record: “Let me say for Rick to say that you can’t secure the border I think is pretty much a treasonous comment.”
- On Mitt Romney: “I think we can spend all night talking about where Mitt’s been on all the issues of the day. And that would take forever.”
- On national security, he inexplicably lavished praise on NGOs — not a major selling point with the Tea Party set: “When we start shining again, it’s going to help the women of Afghanistan, along with any other NGO work that can be done there and the collaborative efforts of great volunteer efforts here in the United States.”
- And finally, when asked what he would bring to the White House, Huntsman made one last ditch effort to seem “cool”: “My wife’s going to kill me for saying this — but I would bring my — as a 40-year motorcycle rider, I would bring my Harley-Davidson and my motocross bike.”
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