A Reason to Watch Sunday Morning TV: 'Call Me Crazy'

I agree with (my ex-Atlantic colleague) Andrew Sullivan: it is great to see Jon Huntsman deciding that he might as well try to sell, hard, the virtues of post-Dark Ages rationalism, rather than just standing there politely while Bachmann, Perry, and Palin (to a lesser degree Paul and Santorum) say whatever nutso thing comes into their minds. The heat in the party has all been at the extremes. Meanwhile the post-Dark Ages figures have been absent (Daniels), removed (Pawlenty), self-muzzling (Romney), or until now not really effective (Huntsman).

But Huntsman makes the comments below to Jake Tapper on ABC, for broadcast tomorrow morning. Think what it says -- about us, these times, and Huntsman's Republican party -- that the points he's making count as either crazy or "brave":

>>The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party, we have a huge problem.  We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.  When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science - Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.<<

This is a win-win approach for Huntsman, in the following recondite sense. Either he wins the Republican nomination this time, which is unlikely but would be a good sign for the party and or the country. Or he doesn't, but he establishes himself for next time as the answer to the question, "Remind me, who was that guy who dared say that Darwin was right?" Then he can start showing us his glamorous family again.

Huntsman2.jpg

Call me crazy, but I'm relieved to see someone in the party trying to pull it back from the abyss. (And, just a reminder to Team Huntsman: the next step toward rationality is having him admit, as Reagan did, that increased revenues are part of the solution to deficit problems. Rather than holding his hand up with the other extremists and saying he'd oppose a bill with any revenue increase at all.) 

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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