One thing Donald Trump’s flirtation with a presidential bid showed us is that you have to take Obama on frontally to compete with him. The John McCain tactic of praising Obama as a great American and great senator “with whom I disagree” is a loser. You’ve got to call him out as what he is — a fraud and a disaster. He doesn’t understand economics, has no business or free-enterprise experience, and is spending billions in Libya and Afghanistan without having a goal other than re-election.
I’m not sure which Republican candidate can do this, but I know Jon Huntsman can’t — because he was part of the Obama leadership team. How can Huntsman get in the face of the man he so loyally served? It would be like Henry Cabot Lodge coming back from being ambassador to Vietnam to challenge Lyndon Johnson, who sent him there. Huntsman doesn’t have the credibility to attack Obama, which is a shame because Huntsman’s politics are attractive and so is he.
Huntsman’s primary opponents will eviscerate him if he gets any traction. They’ll say: “If Obama is so bad, why did you work for him and carry out his policies?” In a 2016 bid against Joe Biden or some other liberal Democrat, Huntsman would be attractive indeed, but not in 2012 against Barack Obama.
As ambassador to China, Huntsman never publicly objected to Obama’s trade policy, which allows China to take advantage of us — something that Donald Trump highlighted. Challenging Obama on China is one of the keys to beating him. Huntsman can’t do that with a straight face.
In fact, Obama advisor David Axelrod stuck a shiv in Huntsman when he said that when he was in China in the fall of 2009, he had a chance to talk with Huntsman. “He was very effusive about what the president was doing. He was encouraging on health care. He was encouraging on the whole range of issues. He was a little quizzical about what was going on in his own party. And you got the strong sense that he was going to wait until 2016 for the storm to blow over.”
The budget-busting woes of the McCain campaign, which pissed away $18 million on expensive consultants and staff before landing on the ropes, will be repeated if Huntsman campaign maestro John Weaver, who drove McCain into a ditch, has his way. Compensation for Huntsman campaign staff is already said to be extraordinarily high. How much money will be fleeced from the Huntsman family’s coffers before Huntsman’s father, Jon Huntsman Sr., turns off the spigot?
Roger Stone is a well-known Republican political consultant and is a veteran of eight national Republican presidential campaigns. He’s also the men’s fashion correspondent for The Daily Caller and editor of Stonezone.com.