Monday, January 16, 2012

Idiot Punditocracy Candidate (Mark Halperin's) Drops Out ... YAWN — The Stephen Colbert Effect

Jon Huntsman, darling of the Beltway Media, hawked by idiots like Mark Halperin and Moron Joe, quit his presidential race after an almost forgettable effort. Huntsman's low-key, low energy country banker persona simply failed to inspire voters. Nothing wrong with that, but he was less than memorable. Boring. Can anyone, even political junkies, name three things you recall about Jon Huntsman? Okay, the debate comeback, the motorcycle ad, and his Letterman performance of "Johnny B. Goode" on the piano. Speaking Mandarin, which few understood. That's four. Specific policy? Give me a minute. Or two.

Jon Huntsman was a retiring, pleasant fellow off to the side in the debates who preferred not to engage in the rough-and-tumble of presidential politics. That is commendable, and everyone agrees he's a swell guy. But president? When he did counterpunch, it established he could fight back, and little else. At the end of the day, Huntsman lacked the killer instinct to push through his opening and knock Romney down. Huntsman looked even more ridiculous than Romney wearing jeans and flannel shirts, given his slight build. (Voters sort of brush it off, but they can instantly spot a sartorial phony politician who's trying hard to look like he's prepared to get out there and chop wood.)

Mitt Romney, by contrast, embraced his phoniness while pretending to be a man of the people figuring, correctly, he'll get props for being a phony who tries hard. Openly ambitious. Huntsman felt uncomfortable playing the game. And knowing how to speak Mandarin was hardly an asset with the  Republican electorate. Props to him and 4% in the South Carolina polls. But it was the realization that comedian Stephen Colbert coud finish ahead of him in the South Carolina Republican primary* that almost certainly influenced Huntsman's decision to drop out now.

The failure to overtake a comedian who is serious enough to form his own PAC and run political reality-satire ads in South Carolina would forever doom Jon Huntsman as a serious presidential aspirant. And he knows it. Such is the presidential race of 2012, defined by Super PACs and the Stephen Colbert effect.

*Stephen Colbert is not on the ballot, but his capacity to embarass Huntsman, whom he leads in the polls, with some comedic-reality stunt or another, is real.

No comments: