Friday, January 6, 2012

Has THE BOSTON GLOBE Given Jon Huntsman the Kiss of Death?

The news was big enough to flash all over the CNN screen at the pizza place that my wife and I chose to visit for an early supper last night:  The Boston Globe decided to provide an endorsement to Jon Huntsman for the coming Republican primary in New Hampshire.  Praising Huntsman for offering “vision and opportunity,” the Globe endorsement was significant enough to merit a story on the BBC News Web site.  (The main reason was probably because so few people were aware that Huntsman was still in the race;  he did not even campaign in Iowa.)  In that respect it is interesting to see what the BBC chose to excerpt from the endorsement:

The priorities he would set for the country, from leading the world in renewable energy to retooling education and immigration policies to help American high-tech industries, are far-sighted.

He has stood up far more forcefully than Romney against those in his party who reject evolution and the science behind global warming.

This was a real shot across the bow of the ship under whose flag Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are sailing, that ship that has abandoned any rational discourse about the nature of government and the well-being of the electorate in favor of hell-and-brimstone apocalyptic language.

I can remember when New Hampshire was the ultimate boogeyman of conservatism, back when the Manchester Union Leader could reduce even the most outspoken liberal candidate to tears.  New Hampshire, as a state, has changed a lot since then.  Hell, it has successfully legalized gay marriage at a time when the California effort to do so is still mired in the courts.  The New Hampshire college students whom Santorum addressed yesterday decided to call him out on his opposition to gay marriage and booed him when he left the room.

What this all means, however, is that New Hampshire is more interested in talking about governance than in listening to fundamentalist sermons.  As a result even the conservative voters may well take the Globe endorsement seriously.  Unfortunately, New Hampshire is no more representative of national thinking than Massachusetts is.  The Globe endorsement may win a small battle for Huntsman;  but my guess is that, for just about any other electoral decision, they have given him the kiss of death.

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