Tag Archives: Huntsman

Why is Jon Huntsman Not Getting Traction

While it’s still early in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination, the question has been asked by many. Why is it, that the one GOP candidate who has corporate executive experience, government executive experience, extensive foreign policy experience (including with the United States’ most important foreign relationship – China) and with a track record of success implementing pro growth strategies, not getting any traction in national polls?

I’m talking of course about Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, former CEO at Huntsman Chemical, former US Ambassador to China and Singapore (among other posts for President’s as far back as Ronald Reagan).

I have some ideas. One, he’s not gimmicky. Cain’s 999 is a step in the right direction in that it addresses tax reform; but as we’ve seen it’s not grounded in practical economics and recent analyses suggest that Cain’s plan would raise taxes on 84% of Americans. Huntsman has had a major tax reform plan since day one modeled on what actually worked in Utah. He writes op-eds explaining his stances on complex issues such as financial reform and economic revitalization and in general tends to not speak in sound bites.

Two, he’s not incendiary. He’s said he wanted to win by taking the high road and will strive to keep to the issues of the day without demonizing his opponents (of either party); we’ll see if that’s possible in this media climate.

Three, he’s not controversial. His biggest press so far has been when he essentially tweeted that he supports the scientific method…and somehow that’s what became controversial!

Fourth, he scares the establishment. Romney has already received over $7M in contributions from finance, with Goldman Sachs topping his list, Perry has pulled in $1.9M so far from finance, while Huntsman has pulled in $400K. By the way, President Obama has pulled in $3.9M so far from this sector. That’s why Huntsman can criticize Dodd-Frank in the WSJ op-eds while Romney’s and Obama’s coziness suggests we should expect nothing but more recklessness should either of those two occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January 20, 2013 (or January 21st, since the 20th is a Sunday).

So sadly, if we flip the reasons why Huntsman isn’t gaining traction in the primary – yet – we see that the early route to get noticed is to be gimmicky, speak in sound bites, play attack politics, espouse fringe ideas, all the while promising the status quo to those financing your campaign.  Let us hope as real elections begin taking place, that cooler (and smarter) heads will prevail.

Prepare In Advance for Climate Debates at the Thanksgiving Table

You have that relative.  The one who has an addiction to Fox News on the TV,  Rush Limbaugh on the radio, and Glenn Beck on…I guess now the internet.  This relative is convinced of the absolute correctness of whatever comes out of the mouths of any of these three sources.   They are so convinced in fact, that they can’t wait to try their “knowledge” out on you.  So with that said, if you want to have a little fun at Thanksgiving this year, might I recommend that you turn the table so to speak?

Once you’re ready, after the second helping of pumpkin pie is consumed and folks are vegging in front of some football game, drop a little feeler.  It shouldn’t be too hard with the GOP primary in full swing; perhaps you could mention that the only “sane” candidate is Jon Huntsman (for many of my climate denying friends, that alone will be enough to get the debate going); or you could launch right in to a critique of the willful scientific ignorance of one of several candidates (Perry, Bachmann, or Cain will be fine).  Lastly, you could just get straight to the point with a conversation about the extremeness of recent weather, the increasing warmth of the Earth’s surface (a particularly interesting  – if not scientifically validated – resource to use since it was funded by the Koch brothers), the melting of ice, etc.

But don’t wade lightly in to the debate.  Of course arm yourself with the appropriate, scientifically backed responses well in advance.

So here I’ll point you to some excellent resources:

“Arguing with Your Crazy Uncle About Climate Change” by David Brin.

“Simple rebuttals to denier talking points — with links to the full climate science” by Joe Romm

And of course, you can familiarize yourself with as much detail as you can stand at http://www.skepticalscience.com/ and have a look at the <arguments> link.

Now enjoy the roast this Thanksgiving!

A Thank You to Facebook and the Republican Primary Debates

The title of this post could also just as easily be, “how to wake a dormant humanist.”

Three Republican party primary debates are in the history books.  There now is a crystal clear picture of candidates who – if belief in human knowledge is a litmus test – will rely on evidence to make decisions, and those who may not.

Jon Huntsman has been unequivocal.  He believes scientists.  His quote from his own twitter feed, “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”  He stands in opposition to the rest of the pack…as the “crazy” one.

Mitt Romney has been less clear.  He seems as though he wants to come down on the side of science, but fears alienating a base hungry for a climate conspiracy theory. His quote via Reuters, “Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is…I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”

The rest of the primary contenders have also been unequivocal – in their rejection of evidence based knowledge.  Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich (although I think Newt might be playing politics on this, similar to Romney), Rick Santorum, have been clear that they do not believe the evidence and they do not trust science.

Given those latter positions, while spending time on my Facebook page during the debates, I assumed most of my friends would be as appalled as I was in the wholesale rejection of reason on display.  To my surprise, a very large number were not only not appalled, but they actually were in agreement with the anti-science crowd!  How? Why?  Many of these people attended the same public school system I attended; some even attended the same university.  So when, where, and how did the rejection of science in favor of opinion become so easy for otherwise intelligent people?  What has replaced research, understanding, and deference to true expertise when faced with understanding the issues of the day?  Is it an unhealthy reliance on left or right wing “news” sources?  Is it the proliferation of the internet as a primary source of information – a position it has no business occupying. Is it a “dumbing down” of America as we read less and plug in to distractions more?  Do we need more open, honest, non anonymous conversation with people who may not actually agree with us?

With those questions bouncing around in my brain, I feel now is as good a time as any to  have an intellectual awakening; an enlightenment if you will.  So thank you to the Republican hopefuls and to Facebook for giving me a context from which to begin our own, small, southern enlightenment.