I guess I was in the minority who thought that Huntsman acquitted himself pretty well in the debate last night. I mean, he’s a nonfactor in the race, and the fake folksy act he tried at the beginning was only slightly better than the oleaginous answer delivery he adopted later in the debate. But substantively, I thought he did well and I’m sure his answers read well on transcript. He certainly looked like the sort of guy who could hold a prominent figurehead position in the next Republican administration that is far removed from policymaking – like Ambassador to China, or something.
In any event, I fully expected the DNC to spam my inbox today with releases proclaiming, “DO NOT BE FOOLED BY MITT ROMNEY, ALL THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS AND MEDICARE AWAY!!” Turns out they were just waiting for Huntsman’s campaign team to pick up the slack. I got this from Huntsman’s campaign this morning:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2011
ON SOCIAL SECURITY: ROMNEY & PERRY ARE TWO PEAS IN A POD
Orlando – Huntsman Campaign Manager Matt David released the following statement regarding what Governors Romney and Perry wrote about social security in their respective memoirs.
“Despite what Governor Romney’s campaign wants you to believe, when it comes to out-of-the-mainstream attacks on social security, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are two peas in a pod. Governor Romney’s shameless pandering last night on social security is just another example of the problems with his ‘say anything’ approach to political campaigns.
“The American people want a credible leader who is going to offer serious solutions for reforming social security, not unpresidential platitudes about ‘ponzi schemes’ and ‘fraud.’
“Governor Huntsman supports real reforms that will preserve social security for those who rely on it now and reform it for future generations, thus increasing personal responsibility and choices for those who are currently paying into a system that isn’t sustainable long-term.”
At Yesterday’s Debate, Romney Claimed He Would Never Say Social Security Is A Failure:
ROMNEY: “Under no circumstances would I ever say, by any measure, it’s a failure. It is working for millions of Americans.” (Mitt Romney, Remarks At Reagan Library Presidential Debate, Simi Valley, CA, 9/7/11)
In His Book No Apology, Romney Called Social Security Part Of The “Entitlement Nightmare”:
Romney in No Apology: “The Entitlement Nightmare” (Mitt Romney, No Apology: The Case For American Greatness, 2010)
ROMNEY: “To put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their Social Security.” (Mitt Romney, No Apology: The Case For American Greatness, 2010)
Romney On What Would Happen If Private Sector Run Like Social Security: “They Would Go To Jail.” “Let’s look at what would happen if someone in the private sector did a similar thing. Suppose two grandparents created a trust fund, appointed a bank as trustee, and instructed the bank to invest the proceeds of the trust fund so as to provide for their grandchildren’s education. Suppose further that the bank used the proceeds for its own purposes, so that when the grandchildren turned eighteen, there was no money for them to go to college. What would happen to the bankers responsible for misusing the money? They would go to jail. But what has happened to the people responsible for the looming bankruptcy of Social Security? They keep returning to Congress every two years.” (Mitt Romney, No Apology: The Case For American Greatness, 2010)
I honestly have no idea what Huntsman is playing at at this point. If he wanted a cushy job in a Democratic administration, it seems that quitting a cushy job in a Democratic administration to run for President as a Republican is an unnecessarily circuitous route to accomplish that goal. Yet, one is left with the inevitable conclusion that slamming the GOP field by scaring old people about their Social Security checks isn’t the tactic of a Republican who wants a job as either a) an elected Republican or b) someone who works for elected Republicans.
Either Huntsman is completely lost or his communications department has been taken over by DNC staffers.