Jon Hunts­man: Mccain on wheels

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

Jon Hunts­man wants you to know he rides a dirt bike. On dirt! He’s Salt of the Earth. Grease of the Garage. Drag­ster on the Dunes. Hunts­man’s run­nin’ and gunnin’ for pres­i­dent. But un­der­neath the Steve McQueen cos­tumery, this made­for-cable-TV Mod­er­ate Speed Racer is a creaky old John McCain on Wheels.

The for­mer Utah Repub­li­can gov­er­nor and Obama am­bas­sador to China is the an­swer to an elec­tion-year prob­lem that doesn’t ex­ist. The qua­dren­nial “prob­lem,” in the minds of Belt­way GOP strate­gists and lib­eral me­dia chin-pullers, is that the Repub­li­can Party isn’t mod­er­ate, civil, self-crit­i­cal or in­clu­sive enough.

Hunts­man is the lat­est no-la­bels fla­vor of the month, a straw man of the same peo­ple who have spent the past year smear­ing en­ti­tle­ment re­form­ers as se­nior cit­i­zen-killers, bud­get hawks as Hitler’s spawn, bor­der-se­cu­rity ac­tivists as racists, and lead­ing GOP women as sluts, nuts and bim­bos.

Just like the failed 2008 GOP con­tender whose con­sul­tants are now fu­el­ing the Hunts­man bid, McCain 2.0 is a big-spend­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion­ist more in tune with the Demo­cratic elite than with the con­ser­va­tive rank-and-file. In the shadow of the Statue of Lib­erty on Tues-

real

day, Hunts­man as­sailed the cur­rent eco­nomic cri­sis over­seen by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion as “to­tally un­ac­cept­able” and “to­tally unAmer­i­can.” Yet, Hunts­man re­tains noth­ing but “re­spect” for his for­mer boss in the White House and laments the loss of “ci­vil­ity” wrought by “cor­ro­sive” po­lit­i­cal de­bates.

This is all you need to know about the man­u­fac­tur­ing of the Hunts­man can­di­dacy: Swoon­ing re­porters far out­num­bered sup­port­ers at the kick­off in Lib­erty Park and at a fol­low-up rally in New Hamp­shire. CNN’s en­am­ored an­chor Wolf Blitzer gushed: “Here’s what I es­pe­cially liked about Jon Hunts­man’s pres­i­den­tial an­nounce­ment in front of the Statue of Lib­erty. He called for some ci­vil­ity in the race for the White House. Un­like sev­eral of the other Repub­li­can can­di­dates, he did not open with a blis­ter­ing as­sault on Pres­i­dent Obama.”

Yeah. Who do all those un­civil Repub­li­cans run­ning against Obama think they are, op­pos­ing the op­po­si­tion with op­po­si­tional rhetoric? Heaven for­fend.

For­mer McCain mas­ter­mind John Weaver, now a key Hunts­man strate­gist, said the cam­paign will be “mel­low.”

More like “marsh­mal­low.” In­stead of trash­ing en­e­mies by name, they’ll keep it vague and mushy. Hunts­man has been buoyed by months of glowing cov­er­age from left-lean­ing, dead-tree me­dia, whose re­porters have lapped up his trash­ing of the GOP as “de­void of ideas” and “a very nar­row party of an­gry peo­ple.” See? No tivists booed him in April 2009 so cor­ro­sively it could have stripped the paint off a fleet of Har­leys.

Utah con­ser­va­tives raised their voices at the sem­i­nal tea party rally against Hunts­man for cham­pi­oning $1.6 bil­lion in Obama stim­u­lus funds (Hunts­man wanted even more money than that), and against GOP Sen. Or­rin Hatch and then-GOP Sen. Bob Bennett for back­ing the Bush-Obama TARP bailout. The grass­roots mes­sage: “Send them home!” A year later, vot­ers ousted Bennett from the

While po­litely pay­ing lip ser­vice to prin­ci­ples of tea party fis­cal re­straint, Hunts­man hopes no one re­mem­bers how 2,000 Utah tea party ac­tivists booed him in April 2009 so cor­ro­sively it could have stripped the paint off a fleet of Har­leys.

names. No nasty. Em­brace the ci­vil­ity!

While po­litely pay­ing lip ser­vice to prin­ci­ples of tea party fis­cal re­straint, Hunts­man hopes no one re­mem­bers how 2,000 Utah tea party ac- GOP pri­mary af­ter four prof­li­gate terms in of­fice. And Hatch is in for the fight of his en­trenched in­cum­bent life.

While state gov­ern­ments across the coun­try are re­ject­ing or re­peal­ing oner­ous cap-and- trade en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions, Hunts­man is a cli­mat­e­change Repub­li­can who backed rad­i­cal emis­sions lim­its and green job fan­tasies. Just like McCain 1.0 did.

While state gov­ern­ments across the coun­try fol­low Ari­zona’s im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment model and Wash­ing­ton re­peat­edly re­jects mass amnesty pro­grams in the face of 9 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment, Hunts­man sup­ports the costly DREAM Act, an il­le­gal alien bailout with a wider “path to cit­i­zen­ship.” Just like McCain 1.0 did.

While state gov­ern­ments rein in mid­dle-class en­ti­tle­ment spend­ing and Wash­ing­ton turns to means-test­ing, Hunts­man turned the SCHIP gov­ern­ment­funded health plan for low-in­come chil­dren into a uni­ver­sal health in­surance man­date. McCain 1.0 was for SCHIP be­fore he was against it.

McCain’s Straight Talk Ex­press ran out of gas when his for­mer me­dia paramours in­evitably turned against him, and his gam­bit to out-big gov­ern­ment the Democrats blew up in his two faces. So it will be with McHunts­man and his cam­paign wheels to nowhere.

Michelle Malkin is the au­thor of “Cul­ture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Reg­n­ery 2010).

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