Exactly why should the Republican party take advice from ex-McCain strategist and Jon Huntsman adviser John Weaver?
In a statement to Byron York regarding the Jon Huntsman appointment as Ambassador to China, Weaver says "If it's 2012 and our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we're headed for a blowout." According to York, unless the next Republican candidate is a moderate like Huntsman, or Crist, we're doomed. This from the guy that managed the McCain campaign debacle.
An interesting thing about the York article is his triangulation of the 2012 and 2016 races. York focuses on the removal of Huntsman from the 2012 presidential race by this appointment (read: exile) to China. We are, it seems, supposed to see this loss of Huntsman as a potential presidential candidate as a real blow to the conservative movement.
Some analyists seem to be conceding 2012 to Obama's second term and looking at the Huntsman acceptance of this appointment as a strategic move to position himself for the 2016 race when he will be only 56. Weaver says that he believes "that Huntsman and people like him are the prescription for what ails us." To believe this is to believe that the only way the Republicans can ever regain power is to become like Democrats.
I beg to differ. Huntsman is not as far to the center as McCain, for example, on some issues, but he is no true conservative either. Huntsman's support of civil unions is an example of his centrist views as well as his support of an initiative that supported a regional cap and trade program.
To believe that Republicans must be like Democrats is to ignore the voices of those who attended the Tea Parties. It is to ignore the 13.5 million people who tune in to Rush Limbaugh's program. It is to ignore the energy and the huge audiences that Sarah Palin brought to John McCain's campaign. It is to ignore the shifting views of Americans on issues such as the right to life, which now shows a pro-life favor for the first time since Gallup first polled this issue in 1995.
I contend, like others before me, that there is nothing wrong with the Conservative movement and we could do worse than to have Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh as the faces of our party. Marco Rubio is an energetic, young, fresh conservative face and one would be naive to count him out of the future of the Republican party.
In April, Huntsman was uninvited from speaking at a Republican Party event in Michigan because of his centrist views. Of this rift between Huntsman and the Michigan Republican Party, former Representative Tom Davis said "It says in spades what is the problem with our party: We're driving out the heretics, and they're looking for converts."
The Obama administration is playing the odds; they are already prepping for the 2012 election, according to Matthew Continetti, by "co-opting centrist Republicans like Huntsman." But, as Continetti goes on to say, "what is 'mainstream' changes over time."
The Obama administration can absorb all the centrist Republicans they want. They can have Specter, they can even have Snowe and Collins, because I'm betting by the time 2012 comes, the American public will have had enough. By the time Americans see the true cost of the Obama administration, they'll be done.
Davis's view of driving out the heretics and absorbing the converts reminds me of the conflict between Cassius and Brutus in Act IV of Julius Caesar. Cassius wants to remain in Sardis and wait for the opposing army to come to them, "So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers / Doing himself offense" and becoming easier to defeat. Brutus wants to march on to Phillipi because to remain in Sardis would enable the enemy to "make a fuller number up" and "Come on refreshed, new-added, and encouraged."
As it turns out, the march to the center advocated by Brutus did them no favors and they were defeated anyway. Had they held their position and waited for the other army to burn itself out they would have been better off.