Not crazy, but craven

Jon Huntsman believed in science – until he thought he might have a shot at the nomination.

Jon Huntsman, in August:

To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.

And again:

The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.

Jon Huntsman, today:

There are questions about the validity of the science — evidence by one university over in Scotland recently … the scientific community owes us more in terms of a better description of explanation about what might lie beneath all of this. But there’s not information right now to formulate policies in terms of addressing it over all, primarily because it’s a global issue

No, “crazy” isn’t the word for it. The word is “craven.” Now that Huntsman smells what might be a real, if long-shot, chance at the nomination, as the last credible candidate not named Mitt or Newt, he’s trimming his opinions to fit the beliefs of the fringe element that now constitutes the Republican base.

That’s why there’s so little substance to discussions of how Romney or Gingrich would act as President. Either one would dance with who brung ‘im: the Foxoid Teahadi wingnuts and the Koch Brothers plutocrats.

Jefferson understood the dynamic at work here:  “Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.” The peculiar rottenness now demanded of Republican Presidential candidates – of Republican candidates at every level – makes the partisan stakes in 2012 as high as they’ve ever been.

You want to see a “moderate Republican” in action? Take a look at Olympia Snowe, who (for example) today voted to trash the Gang of 14 treaty she signed, by refusing an up-or-down confirmation vote to a well-qualified mainstream nominee for the DC Circuit, as part of a long string of concessions to the lunatic fringe.

Footnote Yes, it’s possible to be even more despicable than Olympia Snow. For example, you could be Orrin Hatch, who claims to be against filibusters of judicial nominees. Today he voted “Present” on the cloture vote. But since cloture requires 60 affirmative votes, “Present” is functionally equivalent to “No.”

The lesson here – obvious since Bush v. Gore – is that Republicans will, as a matter of principle, lie, cheat, and steal to achieve their political objectives. The current drive to prevent voting in Democratic-leaning constituencies is only the most extreme version of that.


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

6 thoughts on “Not crazy, but craven”

  1. “The current drive to prevent voting in Democratic-leaning constituencies is only the most extreme version of that.”


    Do you think the Justice Department will do anything about it? Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise? In fact, come to think of it, why don’t Congressional Democrats do something about it? Sit in the f**king road already. (There must be something they want.)

  2. Mark, excellent point – there are no reasonable Republican politicians – every one of them is a Teabagging wh*re, except where it doesn’t matter.

    There are certain fields where the set of non-corrupt individuals is too small to matter. For example, you mentioned years ago that when looking for science ‘advisors’ for a GOP president/candidate, one should avoid elite departments, except in the notable case of economics, where the ‘elites’ are happy to hack.

    I’d like to add that this includes *all* right-wing economists, without exception. Matthew Kahn has provided an excellent link to scum being scum here (though the website of the very person who caused you to formulate this principle):

  3. To be a republican means you are willing to get in bed with religious bigots, neocon warmongers, and con artists like the present line up of candidates. Just saying you are a repub is an admission of “Grifterhood”. the democrats still have a few members who believe that empathy with your fellow citizens, as well as facts, mean something. A small few, but a few.

  4. Mark,

    I agree: “The lesson here – obvious since Bush v. Gore – is that Republicans will, as a matter of principle, lie, cheat, and steal to achieve their political objectives.”

    But we shouldn’t stop there. The lesson – obvious since the Iraq invasion – is that they will also kill and torture to achieve their political objectives, and it’s only a matter of time before they literally bring that home on a large scale.

    They are Fascists in every sense, nothing less and nothing more.

  5. Well, the oligarchy can just run President Obama. He’s a right wing leaning Republican that has “moderate” credibility.

    Now that the fruitcakes in Congress have given him the right to become a dictator legally through the military appropriations bill, I wonder if the guy has the guts to start cleaning up the mess.

    Dick Cheney detained for terrorist actions with no lawyer and sent to Gitmo? I can taste the adrenaline rush as I exceed any previous level of happiness.

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