Jon Huntsman: The GOP's Anti-Denialist Candidate?

By The Intersection | August 1, 2011 12:38 pm

By Jon Winsor

Mitt Romney has been trying to do the impossible. He’s been trying to claim a science-based position on climate change and be a tea-party friendly candidate who can compete with Michele Bachmann. His recent populist growls to keep his base happy seem like attempts to do this.

Now comes Jon Huntsman, who is clearly trying to scoop up the non-tea-party vote. As the Politico reports on Huntsman’s recent speech to Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP):

“Conservation is conservative,” Huntsman said. “I’m not ashamed to be a conservationist. I also believe that science should be driving our discussion on climate change….”

Apparently, this position has gotten some attention from someone Chris is familiar with Steve Milloy and Junkscience.com:

Outside the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, climate change skeptics from JunkScience.com had a digital billboard mounted on the back of a pickup truck circling the block. The display called the group “Rinos for EPA Protection,” and labeled Huntsman “Utah’s Al Gore.”

Interestingly, there is another front that Huntsman has been a “fighting moderate” on: the debt ceiling crisis. Romney has studiedly refused to make committed statements on the debt ceiling, leaving those statements to the likes of Michele Bachmann. Dave Weigel (Slate’s reporter on movement conservative politics) wrote that a kind of denialism has been affecting how the debt ceiling issue has been moving forward:

The single biggest factor in yesterday’s surprise delay of the Boehner plan vote was Republican disbelief that a bond downgrade would be that much of a problem. Everything else flowed from that. It became possible for conservatives to game out the politics of delay because some number of them thought it would be worth holding up the process through August 2nd to get more concessions. (Jim DeMint has said that explicitly.)

…Republicans still have a problem as they put together votes. They haven’t done the legwork convincing their base that something with such a scary ring — “raising the debt ceiling!” — is actually necessary. For all the concessions they’ve gotten, and they are massive, they are not yet past this. They’re being egged on by their activist base and by the Republicans who appeal to them. Jon Huntsman was the only presidential candidate who endorsed Boehner’s plan. Did you notice?

Huntsman has not been polling well, but it’s possible that he could pose a challenge to Mitt Romney’s attempt to straddle his party’s populist and non-populist constituencies:

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Comments (17)

  1. ThomasL

    http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1898:when-a-cut-is-not-a-cut&catid=62:texas-straight-talk&Itemid=69

    Not sure the climat change part is going to matter much in the next election, the fiscal conservatives are flexing their muscles… and it’s been a while sence they have been heard over the social conservatives (religious right, who most of us fiscal types hate as much as the liberals…). I’ve tried to point this out in here before, people being broke and out of work is a whole lot more pressing an issue than what may or may not transpire 50+ years out… Just a reality of the human species. Pissed off populations lead to very ugly realities…

    So keep going on politics Chris, you’re doing a grade “A” job of reminding me why I could never be a Democrat (and for those of you who like to jump to conclusions, I am assuredly *NOT* a RHINO…).

  2. 1985

    1. ThomasL Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 1:22 pm
    I’ve tried to point this out in here before, people being broke and out of work is a whole lot more pressing an issue than what may or may not transpire 50+ years out…

    If what “may or may not happen 50+ years out” is the extinction of the human species, then it is most definitely a lot more important than people being broke and out of work

  3. kirk

    Motivated reasoning is motivated

  4. ThomasL

    1985,

    Do understand the human psych or not? When have you ever met anyone more concerned about 2 years out than today, no matter what the “consequences” of the longer time line event? You have to be alive down the road for it to matter, thus the immediate issue always wins out (existential reality, you can try to disclaim it all you want, but any exception is excedingly rare). Why we always talk about how much “the kids matter” in the abstract, yet do everything we can to screw them over in the concrete, day to day world. You know -> like leave them a debt that can never be repaid while also promising ourselves retirments they can never pay. provide an education system we all know is broke but can’t bring ourselves around to fixing, underfund everything related to children in general… I’m not talking about what comes out of peoples mouths when they think others are listening, I’m talking about how we, as a whole, actually behave…

  5. ThomasL

    Oh,

    And some of you might want to take the time to really digest this: “Word War Two: After Calling Bernanke A “Hooligan”, Putin Now Says America Is “A Parasite” Living Off The Global Economy” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/word-war-two-after-calling-bernanke-hooligan-putin-now-says-america-parasite-living-global-econ

    “Three weeks ago Putin called Bernanke a hooligan. Since that remark came from the (allegedly) largest oil producing country in the world, it provoked nary a peep from America’s foreign department. Today, he decided to ratchet up the rhetoric, and in a speech to a Kremlin youth group told his listeners what the bulk of the rest of the world thinks of America: “”They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy,” Putin told a Kremlin youth group while touring its summer camp north of Moscow. “They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar.”"

    But hey, nothing to worry about, keep spending.

  6. 1985

    4. ThomasL Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 2:28 pm
    1985,
    Do understand the human psych or not? When have you ever met anyone more concerned about 2 years out than today, no matter what the “consequences” of the longer time line event? You have to be alive down the road for it to matter, thus the immediate issue always wins out (existential reality, you can try to disclaim it all you want, but any exception is excedingly rare). Why we always talk about how much “the kids matter” in the abstract, yet do everything we can to screw them over in the concrete, day to day world. You know -> like leave them a debt that can never be repaid while also promising ourselves retirments they can never pay. provide an education system we all know is broke but can’t bring ourselves around to fixing, underfund everything related to children in general… I’m not talking about what comes out of peoples mouths when they think others are listening, I’m talking about how we, as a whole, actually behave…

    That we behave in certain way does not mean that this is the way we should behave or that it is the only way we could behave. I am very well familiar with all the issues with human psychology, steep discount rates, etc. But that does not change the fact that it is just stupid to behave this way. Which, BTW, not all of us do, some, a small minority indeed, but not an empty subset, have been able to overcome that type of thinking and are concerned about the future, which means that it is not impossible for people to do better.

    Specifically in this case, your reply to what I said does not at all answer the point I raised. Not addressing climate change and peak oil can easily lead to the kind of situation where the nukes finally get used for what they were designed for and even if that most nightmarish of scenarios does not happen, civilization is a toast anyway. Which is obviously something to be a lot more concerned about than jobs and GDP growth. So it happens that being concerned about jobs and GDP growth is exactly what will make sure that nothing will ever be done about climate change and peak oil, for there can be no meaningful solution to those problems that involves any form of GDP growth (and quite likely jobs in their current form too). But either way you are not addressing the point.

  7. ThomasL

    Yes I have answered 1985,

    Talk all you want about “should”. I’m interested in “do”. I said the immediate will always win over the off in the distance abstract (because anything in the future is an abstraction, that’s part of our survival mechanism). If you really want to get into “should”, that’s a *LONG* one, and might not lead where you think it does (your dealing with a Philosophy major now, I know LOTS about “should”, I also know how unlikely it is to ever see “most” of us do such).

    You want to talk to me about intellectual understandings of “should”, I’m talking about the gritty reality of hard choices and the immediate I need this now to survive… When have you ever seen any one sacrifice themselves for an off in the distance future maybe (it’s based on a theory, all it can ever be) when they have an in your face right now major issue? Keep in mind I’m not talking trivial choices here. If my family has already started to starve, do you really think you are going to scare me into action by claims “we’re all gonna die” -> somewhere off in the distant future? -> I’m already there, at the point you’re worried about hitting 50+ years later. Sorry, your problem isn’t mine, and won’t mean jack to me if I don’t get mine solved first -> follow?

    If you are unemployed, have a family (mouths to feed), are you more worried about what may transpire after they are grown, or are you more worried about getting them to that point (grown), with the usual human reaction of “We’ll deal with that bridge when we get to it” type talk in regards to all these off in the distance issues? It’s what we are doing kicking the budget issues down the road, and that’s a whole lot less troublesome to resolve than any of those involved in energy usage or any part of the environmental issues.

  8. ThomasL

    Perhaps I should simply point out that “sustainability” starts with not spending more than one has to spend -> why is it that all you liberals who so desperatly want balance in regards to usage are at the same time so willing to over consume by binging on the credit card?

    How do these two conflicting desires (sustainablity and uncountroled consumption) manage to work together in one’s thinking?

    If you really want to get a grip on resource usage it might help if we close the credit card down and actually only use what we can afford to pay for NOW, rather than use it all up and worry about paying for it after it’s all gone…

    That’s the part of this whole debate in here I find most fascinating…

  9. 1985

    1. I am not a liberal, I have repeatedly stated that the divisions along ideological lines are artificial, totally wrong on each side and extremely harmful. There isn’t anything liberal or conservative about reality, there is only physics. So stop calling me a liberal

    2. What you fail to understand is that the fact that we think about things in terms of money and not in terms of physics is a big part of the problem. Money is something completely meaningless and artificial, what matters is energy (or rather negentropy). The problem of the United States is it has grown far beyond what the negentropy flows it can harvest domestically can support and needs to shrink accordingly or it will fall apart, as it is doing right now. But that’s a very different thing from cutting spending; simply cutting spending, especially if it does not involve the military budget is not going to do anything to address the underlying cause of all the problems. So it happens that no system involving GDP growth or even jobs can survive if the underlying issues are to be addressed in a rational way, and it can not survive anyway if they are but then the collapse will be much more painful and destructive. So focusing on GDP and jobs now is a huge mistake. GDP growth is impossible and people do not need jobs. People need to be fed, clothed and housed. You don’t need GDP growth and you don’t need jobs to do that.

  10. Johnny

    Huntsman’s chances for the Republican Nomination are worse than Obama’s chances for the Republican Nomination.

  11. ThomasL

    1985,

    I think we think about things in terms of survival. “Money” is only part of it because it’s what’s needed (and has been ever sense we started living in comunities and began trading with each other) -> it’s a simplified form of exchange.

    And I wasn’t calling *you* a liberal, just many, many visitors of the blog, or for that matter Chris himself could perhaps work through all that and make it “logical”, who claim they are and attack anyone who isn’t (I’m actually a fierce independent, I hate both parties equally…), as I would really like one of them to explain how those two conflicting desires work together in their logic.

    Again, you want to talk about theory, all fine and dandy in a classroom. I spent over a decade doing such, in both Philosophy and Poly Sci in fact, so I have no issue with such at all. However, I’m talking about the real lived world, a much different beast entirely…

  12. ThomasL

    Oh, and 1985,

    You might want to read this: http://mises.org/daily/5213/What-Is-Money

    Money is actually not what you think, and no, it isn’t taught in school actually. It is, however, very much worth one’s learning…

  13. ThomasL

    1985,

    You may also find this of interest -> honestly, something everyone should understand is $, you aren’t likely to see a time when you won’t be dealing with it…, and for anyone else who wishes to talk about GDP and growth, keep in mind this is what I think of “GDP”: http://irishliberty.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/gdp-a-meaningless-statistic/, so we already have an issue…

  14. ThomasL

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/wall-street-warns-tim-geithner-dollar-staring-lose-its-reserve-status:

    “The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee… said the outperformance of haven currencies and those from emerging nations has aided in the debasement of the dollar’s reserve status, according to comments included in discussion charts presented ahead of the quarterly refunding. The Treasury published the documents today. “The idea of a reserve currency is that it is built on strength, not typically that it is ‘best among poor choices’,” page 35 of the presentation made by one committee member said. “The fact that there are not currently viable alternatives to the U.S. dollar is a hollow victory and perhaps portends a deteriorating fate.””

    Again -> hey-hey, no worries. Just rack up that credit card a little more, maybe print some crisp new bills and, you know, just keep on keeping on…

  15. 1985

    I understand money a lot better than you think. But there is at least one thing that I understand and you don’t and it is that money is essentially a claim on resources and work (or negentropy as I mentioned above). Which is fine as long as there is a perfect one-to-one relation between the two things. The problem arises when money becomes decoupled from the biophysical reality of what it is supposed to represent, and note that while fiat money is the worst offender, gold standards and the like do not do nearly enough to address the issue, it is a problem inherent to the situation where while money is a claim on negative entropy, the people using the money do not understand that at all, from which the decoupling inevitably follows. That’s how we end up in the situation we’re in right now

  16. ThomasL

    I’m not going to argue with you at all about it becoming decoupled, why Fiat money is not just bad, but *evil*. And I actually agree with your definition above. Though as long as we are going to exchange anything -> work, goods, what ever (which I don’t see us ever stopping, or wanting to stop), we will use something to represent the differnece in energy and capital between the two (or more) sides in the exchange, because swapping hens and cattle has even more issues…

  17. TTT

    If wingnut ambulance-chaser and 9/11Truther Steven Milloy is against you, you must be doing something right.

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