The MSM loves pushing this Republican-lite candidates; and I'm not sure if it is because if they actually win, the media knows they'll lean as much left as right, or because they know R-lite candidates can't win, and thus have a vested interest in pushing them as viable.
Michael Scherer of Time magazine (yes, it's still printed, although it's influence outside of doctor's waiting rooms is fairly limited) lays out the rationale for a Huntsman candidacy:
"Everybody is gaming out 2012 as if it will be 2010, and it's not," said one Republican laying the groundwork for a Huntsman bid, in an interview with CNN's campaign ace Peter Hamby today. What if in 2012 moderation rules? What if competence is a more important message than ideological difference? What if having worked with Obama is an asset? What if reasonableness trumps outrage? What if people don't just want to throw the bums out, because they tried that three times and it hasn't really worked?
Why does Scherer believe that moderation will rule the roost in 2012? Why, the evidence is all around him!
We are in a new age, though no one knows yet just how long it will last or what it all means. Republicans and Democrats sat together during the State of the Union. Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell worked together on a major tax bill. Keith Olbermann is gone from MSNBC. Michele Bachmann has been cast into the outer rings of awkward third-party video responses. However fleeting, we are in an era of moderation.
If you can believe that two people of polar opposite political views sitting next to each other heralds a "new political age", well, I suppose that makes you smart enough for MSM employment, and not much else. Empty gestures, while the parties stockpile their weapons of rhetorical and legislative war...
But the media is all about empty gestures, for it allows them to avoid the heavy lifting and hard work of critical thinking and serious analysis. Jen Rubin, an intellectual without par or peer within the Washington Post, sighs, and does Scherer's job for him:
I've yet to find a single Republican office holder, former campaign adviser, or conservative activist who takes Huntsman seriously. A Republican campaign adviser e-mails me: "I did think maybe it's a way to come home after being in China as part of the Obama administration, but then again while he's been there, he may have become delusional and thought, 'Look at me --all I can do!'"
Frankly, it doesn't pass the laugh test. A GOP strategist e-mailed me, "The problem for Huntsman is he seems to have a bigger base of support among D.C. journalists than he does Republican primary voters in any state outside of Utah.
But that little fact doesn't bother Scherer - after all, like all members in good standing within the MSM, he knows conservatives are idiots, and all they need is a wave of a red cape to come charging. He explains why Huntsman is a can't-miss in a Republican primary:
...one would still need to pass certain ideological tests to get out of the primary, which Huntsman probably can. Pro-life, pro-gun, rides motocross, and his gray highlights are even slicker looking than Mitt Romney's.
And that's all it takes, folks, to sell snake oil to a Republican! A scold who carries a gun, and rides a motorcycle without a hair getting put out of place!
Sherer is mistaking Republican voters for liberals, who fell head-over-heels for a smooth talking huckster, one who, as it turns out, can't think his way out of a paper bag and whose looming defeat will toss the Democrats back into the wilderness while creating enough momentum to undo all of Obama's liberal "achievements" (save for the deficit - that make take a lifetime).
So he pushes Huntsman, Republican-lite who will likely limit tampering with his boss's health care reform (remember, Huntsman, as ambassador to China - heckuva job, Johnny! -is a member of the Obama administration), has oft favored carbon taxation, and probably wouldn't even be adverse to the occasional tax hike.
Sorry, Scherer. Republicans ain't as dumb as you Democrats, and we learned from the McCain debacle of 2008. Be warned - we are coming at you from the right. And as you will learn, that is where most of the American people - even independents - are standing right now, as well.
Don't feel bad, Mr.Scherer. I am sure you and Huntsman can share a few drinks someday in a DC bar, and compare notes on how stupid the American people are...