Time for Jon Huntsman to Go Away
If anyone in the Republican Party cared about Jon Huntsman’s candidacy, his would have been the biggest gaffe of the CBS/National Journal Saturday night “Commander-in-Chief” Presidential debate. Following an answer from Mitt Romney on possible World Trade Organization action against China, Huntsman said…
First of all, I don’t think you can take China to the W.T.O. on currency-related issues. Second, I don’t know that this country needs a trade war with China. Who does it hurt? Our small businesses in South Carolina, our exporters, our agriculture producers.Got that? Huntsman thinks that China’s “economic manufacturing muscles” will be degraded by its young people partaking in greater freedom of expression.
We don’t need that at a time when China is about to embark on a generational position. So what should we be doing? We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They’re called the young people. They’re called the internet generation. There are 500 million internet users in China, and 80 million bloggers. And they are bringing about change, the likes of which is going to take China down, while we have an opportunity to go up and win back our economic manufacturing muscles.
Huntsman’s supporters like to explain his poor poll numbers by claiming that their candidate is too sophisticated and worldly for the Republican base: did you know he’s an ex-ambassador to China and fluent in Mandarin? But no exceptional diplomatic, political or leadership skill is evidenced by a candidate who uses his time in the national spotlight to make the claim that Chinese bloggers will help take their own nation down — a claim which bolsters the internal position of those China who believe that freedom of expression is dangerous at the expense of the young Chinese interested in its expansion.
And while Jon Huntsman’s mainly ex- and non-conservative supporters may find a worldly sophistication in the kind of political candidate who cavalierly views increased freedom of expression as a limitation on economic growth, the instinct of Republican voters to disregard him was proven correct on Saturday night.