by Max Brantley
Jon Huntsman, the Republican former governor of Utah, nailed modern Republican politics in remarks Sunday. Talking Points Memo reports:
At an event Sunday night, Huntsman, who was uninvited from a GOP fundraiser in Florida in March because he called for a third party, said of the incident, “This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script."
Huntsman tried to roll that remark back a bit on MSNBC Monday morning, but ended up repeating himself.
“As we were talking about that last night,” Huntsman said on “Morning Joe” Monday, “I said, you know, if you’re not on-script and you get knocked out of an event like that – the parties are supposed to be big-tent, you’re supposed to bring in all ideas – and I said, I thought for a moment about what they do in China if you go off-script. The party, they knock you out. We shouldn’t be doing that here, we should be accommodating all voices.”
It's the same in Arkansas. The growing Republican legislative and constitutional officer delegation gets its talking points from the same factory. They might as well have had a parrot doing the talking Friday, for example, when the Legislative Council pushed ahead with taking available federal money to set up health insurance exchanges established by federal law to expand insurance coverage for millions of uninsured. Republican heretics are not tolerated — be the subject taxes, abortion, gay rights, guns, immigrants, injecting religion in government, labor. And here's the thing: It generally works. There's a base, not the majority, but a substantial base that's energized by the dogma. A candidate like Huntsman, no liberal, was shunned.