Updates on Huntsman and Science, GOP and Filibuster

Yesterday I mentioned that Jon Huntsman seemed to be recklessly giving away his main strategic advantage in this year's campaign and in his long-term attractiveness as a national figure: his "call me crazy" willingness to drop the BS, to listen to scientists on scientific issues, and to dismiss clown shows like the Trump "debate" for the clown shows that they are. He appeared to throw that all away with a seeming pander at the Heritage Foundation, saying he wasn't so sure about those scientists and their fancy theories any more.

Just now, via a story in Politico, Huntsman and his campaign are pushing back, saying that in fact he still believes in science and wasn't changing his views. As the story says:

"Let me be very clear on this: there is no change," [Huntsman] told reporters after his speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition. "I put my faith and trust in science. So you have 99 of 100 climate scientists who have come out and talked about climate change in certain terms, what is responsible for it. I tend to say this is a discussion that should not be in the political lane but should be in the scientific lane."

Good for the campaign in recognizing so quickly that yesterday's news could blow the bottom out of the whole "truth-telling man of the modern world" rationale for Huntsman's candidacy, along with undercutting his main "flip-flopper" critique* of Mitt Romney. Let's see what he says the next time the climate/science topic comes up.

And, from a reader in Georgia, about the other part of yesterday's item: the Obama Administration's forthright complaint about filibuster-based obstructionism in the Senate's blocking of a slew of judicial nominations.

I'd like to draw your attention to Minority Leader McConnell's statement in which he hypocritically invokes government by legislative majority to justify his minority party's obstructionism:
"In Ms. Halligan's view, the courts aren't so much a forum for the even-handed application of the law as a place where a judge can work out his or her own idea of what society should look like," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in his remarks Tuesday on the Senate floor. "Well, my own view is that if the American people want to change the law, then they've got elected representatives to do that, accountable to them."
This probably barely moves the needle on the Washington hypocrisy scale, but it's interesting nonetheless.

The reader is right. This barely raises eyebrows here in DC.

*Just in from the Huntsman campaign, the latest of their merciless "Romney the flip-flopper" videos. With this being the main Huntsman theme against Romney, the potential damage he did to himself yesterday, in seeming to execute a convenient flip-flop in his climate views, is all the more obvious.

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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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