Mark Halperin is the Republican establishment’s most accurate weathervane:
This is the first, but by no means the last, of eye-catching endorsements Huntsman will get from the GOP Establishment, including many with ties to Ronald Reagan and Bushes 41 and 43. Gray’s endorsement will be a semiotic dog whistle for a lot of big-time bundlers. …
C. Boyden Gray is reportedly readying to become Huntman’s policy team leader.
The discontent in the blue blood branch, also keepers of Ronald Reagan’s torch, just don’t buy that flip-flopping, vulture capitalist Mitt Romney is a genuine GOP conservative.
There’s no doubt he’s the frontrunner, but I’ve been sensing for a while just watching Mr. Romney, whether through his announcement or last week’s debate, that he’s forcing the point in a way that seems rooted in more insecurity than surety. Yes, he’s more relaxed than last time, but that’s not a high bar. His dodging questions on culture is a slick trick for the purposes of the general election, but he’s got to get through the primaries first, something Hillary Clinton could warn him about.
Republican establishment ego demands a man who is as smart as they think they are, even if there’s no evidence that the Tea Party and right-wingers have any interest in their upper crust branding or things that might make Republicans appealing to a larger electorate.
I won’t say something as trite as establishment Republicans are fighting for the soul of the GOP, even as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum prove they don’t have one. But there clearly is a wing of the Republican Party who thinks smart is cool and is willing to bet on losing to get behind Jon Huntsman, who announces tomorrow, if only to pave the way for 2016 and the big Republican battle, at a time the GOP establishment hopes the Tea Party has lost its strength.
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Jon Stewart admitted he’d voted for George H.W. Bush over Dukakis.
There hasn’t been a Republican that Democrats could vote for in twenty years.
As for Huntsman being that guy, the motocross pitch will certainly get my husband’s attention.
After the announcement, Huntsman and his charter plane – including family members and a few dozen journalists – will fly to New Hampshire, where he’ll have a rally with about 300 folks. He’ll return to New York City for a finance reception and dinner. On Wednesday morning, Huntsman’s charter will take off for Columbia, S.C., where he’ll tour a factory and hold a media availability, then attend a meet-and-greet with activists and file candidacy papers. After that, it’s off to Miami. On Thursday, he’ll open his campaign headquarters in Orlando, with some senior staffers seeing them for the first time. Then it’s on to Nevada, Utah, California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts – and the amazing, draining adventure of running for president. – Mike Allen