CORPORATE PRIMARY SEASONS STILL SUCK
Desperate to be saved from a Newt Gingrich nomination, Ross Douthat tries to make the case for Jon Huntsman as a true conservative who's electable, but he acknowledges that there doesn't seem to be any hope:
... his salesmanship has been staggeringly inept. Huntsman's campaign was always destined to be hobbled by the two years he spent as President Obama's ambassador to China. But he compounded the handicap by introducing himself to the Republican electorate with a series of symbolic jabs at the party's base.
He picked high-profile fights on two hot-button issues -- evolution and global warming -- that were completely irrelevant to his candidacy's rationale. He let his campaign manager define his candidacy as a fight to save the Republican Party from a "bunch of cranks." And he embraced his identity as the media's favorite Republican by letting the liberal journalist Jacob Weisberg write a fawning profile for Vogue.
This was political malpractice at its worst. Voters don't necessarily need to like a candidate to vote for him, but they need to think that he likes them.... The substance mattered less than the symbolism, which screamed: I want your vote, but I don't particularly care to be associated with your stupidities.
As I was watching this, Huntsman reminded me of the sullen alterna-kid in the back of the class in high school who decides to run for student council president on an I-hate-student-government platform, declaring not only that student government is stupid but that all the students in the school are stupid because it's obvious they're all going to vote for the popular kids, who are the other stupid candidates.
And then he's shocked when he doesn't win.