You heard it here first, folks. Huntsman-Barrasso in 2012.
Changeling Romney, flighty Newt, flamed-out Perry (did you like the last time we elected a Texas Governor to be a flaming Peter-principle failure president), Cain (who exactly was Cain?), boring Santorum, all go down in flames. (Alert: too many references to flames. Yeah, but this year fire, lightning and cinders ARE the story.) Michele Bachmann could surprise us, but not with the nomination.
So, why not Jon Huntsman, balanced with Senator John Barrasso? Two smart guys with extremely different personas. Unfortunately, for this ticket, both are from the mountain West, home to about one percent of the electorate. Oh wait, we don’t count people, we count Electoral College votes. Yeah, okay, Wyoming and Utah make about six Electoral College votes. Could we get Arnold in on this?
Yes, The Sage Grouse has changed his tune. Inconsistency seems to be Teflon in electoral politics; why not in column-writing? Wasn’t Reagan a Democrat once? Wasn’t Romney a RINO? Wasn’t Newt a Baptist, but now he’s neutered; well maybe not, thanks to Viagra.
Political fantasies now yield to my own fantasies; readers, buckle those seat belts.
Let’s imagine a fantasy where the aliens in the Close Encounters movie abduct Presidential candidates. Interviews follow and the candidates are returned to Earth. (You journalistic critics out there just pipe down; this is MY fantasy.)
The aliens, albeit from a galaxy far far away, have always been fascinated with Dorothy and Oz. A story about someone yanked away from their roots to be faced with incomprehensible dangers and challenges plays well across the intergalactic universe.
Personal note: My friend Lars, 30 years older, worked alongside me at the Bonner mill outside Missoula in the 1970s. Lars, locally famous for having been abducted by aliens one night only to be returned unharmed to his wife, chose to resume his night shift at the planing mill. Lars craved regularity more than he craved the companionship of his wife; makes you wonder.
As R. Crumb used to say, Believe It or Leave It.
Return to MY reality/fantasy: Aliens abduct candidates, poke and prod, decide to let them go as a big joke but first have to tinker with them:
Bachmann and Paul: attack of the Clone Twins. Staunch on core principles, plenty of courage, Michele took in foster children for which we all must admire her. We can’t accuse her of having no heart. But Ron Paul truly has no heart. The Tin Man. The aliens cannot figure out how to give such a creature a heart and cut him loose to be a third party candidate.
Perry; we will stuff him full of straw and let him go. Oh wait, curses, he is already stuffed with straw. Let him go anyway.
Santorum: dang, another sincere Republican full of narrow hard-right principles and no views about jobs, economies, the world. Sincerity is worth a bucket of warm spit. The aliens dump him out the back.
The Newt: the aliens, deafened by his endless spiels, search for drugs to quiet him down. He postulates that E=mc2 means that running his big mouth equals the mass of humanity times cow-emitted methane (closely equivalent to B.S.) squared. The aliens, after a laugh, reprogram Newt and send him back to Earth. Our problem is, we can’t tell the difference. Kind of like Lars; he prefers working to being with his wife. Oh wait, I got that wrong, he prefers being with someone else’s wife to being with his wife.
Mitt. What kind of name is Mitt? Do you know anyone else named Mitt? It’s what you would name a cat. His dad was governor of Michigan, a failed state. Compared to him, the Family Circus comic strip is electrifying. Who could blame the aliens for the oversight of failing to abduct Mitt? They just left him here. Maybe they worried that he would buy them out and sell their ships for parts, stranding thousands of alien invaders without jobs. Space Commander Mitt: “Make It So.”
Deep in the hold of the alien ship lives one last captive: Huntsman. Having previously succeeded in a life in China, Huntsman feels at home in alien-ville. He’s articulate, handsome, charming, entertaining. Statesmanlike. Tolerant. Capable of a broader view. The aliens love him. Since he stands no chance in this toxic Tea Party environment, they decide to keep him.
Dang. I was going to pair him up with John Barrasso in the election and see if they could do it. About as productive as playing fantasy football.
Watch Huntsman in this debate. In the words of a friend who sent it: “A calm, respectful, interesting, thoughtful and penetrating debate by two bright, knowledgeable, articulate candidates. Don’t rely on the sound bites. See it here – 90 minutes.”
Can we get some of the Romney super-PAC money to ransom Huntsman back from the aliens? Yeah, yeah, that ain’t happenin’.
These reflections may all be worthless, because a Ron Paul third-party effort will guarantee the re-election of Barack Obama. But when the weekly poll-topping hero de jour trend finally flames out, by Super Tuesday there will be two Republican candidates standing: Romney and Huntsman.
Huntsman, a thoughtful guy, may want another thoughtful guy on the ticket, an unsullied heavy conservative. John Barrasso. Jon and John. Better than Sarah Palin.
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Don’t know if I (or anyone else) could take another V-P from Wyoming so soon after the last one. The stench is still in the air.
You’ve got a typo in your headline.
Huntsman is way too moderate for any future in a Tea Party dominated GOP. And for that reason, he’s too moderate for Barrasso, who has morphed away from moderation to far right positions (just like Romney).
And Huntsman caved on global warming, negating his “call me crazy” position of scientific rationality.
NOTE: Thanks for the heads up. The headline has been corrected. — Dustin Bleizeffer, editor-in-chief