So, I was starting to skim yet another John Hunstman article in either the Post or the Times today and thinking, “what’s going on here? We’re talking about a candidate who is polling within the margin of error and is clearly on record as being far too moderate for the current state of the Republican Party.” Then it occurred to me… here’s your media bias. John Huntsman is quite clearly every liberal reporter’s favorite Republican. A few hours later, I check in on Slate, and voila, Dave Weigel has written the story:
The media create and the media destroy. Jon Huntsman announced his presidential bid to the kind of hype once reserved for a Pink Floyd reunion or a LeBron James signing—six months of giddy speculation kicked off by one interviewin Newsweek. He picked Liberty State Park as the venue for his speech; Politico ran a double-bylined storyabout the park. Huntsman arrived at the park. The reporters outnumbered the supporters, easily…
Huntsman 2012 is a joint production of the political media and the fun wing of the GOP’s consultant class. (His chief strategist is McCain veteran John Weaver, who made a hobby of criticizing McCain’s negative turn in 2008; his adman is Fred Davis, who made sure you knew Christine O’Donnell was not a witch.) There is no Huntsman groundswell. There was no Draft Huntsman movement. One metric to show this: He has about 5,000 Facebook fans. A reasonably busy senator has that many. The wildly ignored 2012 contender Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, has more than 120,000 fans. True, Huntsman’s team cleverly secured a second-place showing in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. When that result came down, my colleague John Dickerson heard only two hands clapping.
Weigel goes on to explain how the national press corp developed their infatuation with Hunstman in 2008-9 when he was about the only Republican playing nice with the new president. Of course, this is really a matter of centrism or knee-jerk bipartisan bias that actually drives the media, of course, not actually “liberal bias.”
Anyway, so I can forget about Hunstman for a while, Chait explains why he is just so un-electable:
So you had the Republicans assuming a posture of maximal opposition vis a vis Obama in early 2009… Huntsman was the most forceful dissenter, and he recognized that his dissent put him so far out of step with the party that he shelved his presidential ambitions and accepted an overseas post working for Obama. Since then, there has been absolutely no dissent whatsoever on the question of Obama. No Republicans is saying they should have cut a deal on stimulus, or health care, or anything. The posture of maximal opposition to Obama is the one single thing upon which the entire party agrees.
The notion that a dissenter against that consensus might win the presidential nomination is not merely a longshot but totally absurd.
As usual, I’d have to say Chait is spot-on on this call. Thus, it really amazes me the number of professional pundits who keep talking about Hunstman as a serious contender. I swear, I’ll take one smart blogger over a room full of typical pundits any day.