HUNTSMAN: Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, has accepted President Obama's appointment to be ambassador to China. Huntsman nomination makes a lot of sense for Obama. For one, Huntsman is uniquely qualified. He is fluent in Mandarin, has an adopted Chinese daughter, and was previously an ambassador to Singapore. Politically, Obama may have just taken out one of his potential 2012 opponents. Huntsman was widely viewed among the chattering class as a rising star in the Republican party. Despite being governor of one of the most conservative states, Huntsman has stoked out moderate positions on a variety of issues, including gay rights and climate change. He was reelected last year by an overwhelming margin and maintained 80 percent approval ratings. I don't think Huntsman could win a primary though considering the state of the Republican electorate. They would have called him a "traitor" for taking moderate positions, and would have been vilified by the tea party/activist crowds. Perhaps Huntsman's decision to accept the appointment is a recognition that he doesn't have a place in today's ultra-conservative Republican party. If I were a Republican interested in winning an election some time in the next decade, I would not be happy about losing a candidate like Huntsman.
Now it's time for our third edition of "Wouldn't Go As Far As THAT," where we break down the three most ridiculous quotes of the last week.
Honorable Mention: Johnathan Turley, law professor at Georgetown, and a devout liberal, said that Obama's decision not to release the torture photos was "the greatest bait and switch in American history" and that Obama was just as bad as Bush. Seriously? THAT is the biggest bait and switch in American history? Bigger than Bush saying he didn't want to engage in nation building? Bigger than John McCain proposing to extend Bush's tax cuts after voting against him? And Obama, however much you disagree with him on this particular decision, has a long way to go before he's in the same league as Bush. Settle down, Turley.
I also have to mention this brilliance by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor: "We have to be about attracting as many people as possible. We want the ability to win among suburbanites and in the inner city of Los Angeles by being inclusive and forward-looking."
I can't say it better than The Big Picture on this one, "The Loon Party doing surprisingly well here in the inner-city L.A. corridor, despite their angry opposition to giving the people who live there jobs, health care, or a decent education. The "Obama is a socialist" argument is really resonating here."
3. The bronze this week goes to Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, who accused President Obama of intentionally destroying American jobs and trying to suppress the stock market to bring down the capitalist system. This sounds strangely like something Glenn Beck would say, doesn't it? I'm SURE Obama's decision to raise taxes 3 percent on the wealthy in 2 years is evidence that he's trying to tear down our capitalist system. Oh yeah, and a stimulus package that spends billions of dollars with the express purpose of creating jobs also is clear evidence. This is getting into pretty severe conspiracy theory territory.
2. The silver goes to Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker, who gave an absurdly over-the-top denouncement of current Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Newt called Pelosi "a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior," Gingrich also said in the blistering interview."
"Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses," he continued. "The fact is, she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth."
Ignoring whether Pelosi actually owes a better explanation or not, can Newt Gingrich possibly say that ANYONE is dishonoring Congress? As The Big Picture said, this is a textbook case of the pot calling the kettle black. Newt Gingrich left his tumultuous tenure as Speaker as one of the most hated politicians in America. He had to resign in disgrace because it was revealed that at the very time Newt was trying to impeach President Clinton over Monica Lewinsky, he was covering up his own sexual exploits.
1. The gold goes to Arkansas State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren, who referred to New York Senator Chuck Schumer as "that Jew." Hendren is planning on challenging incumbent Democrat Blance Lincoln next year. At a Republican fundraiser, Hendren asked the audience if they really want a Senator who takes order from "that Jew." Asked to defend himself, Hendren made things even worse, saying that "I was just trying to make the point that unlike Schumer, I'm for traditional values." So you're proof that Schumer is not for traditional values is that he's, that Jew?" He denied being an anti-semite by saying "There is a Jew I admire: Jesus. And also Joe Lieberman." Maybe that will endear you to the Republican primary electorate in Arkansas, but for the rest of us, I wouldn't go as far as THAT!