Jon Huntsman auditions:
Q: In December you talked about people 40 and under having a very different view on the environment. Is there a similar generational gap on gay rights?
A: You hit on the two issues that I think carry more of a generational component than anything else. And I would liken it a bit to the transformation of the Tory Party in the UK…
They went two or three election cycles without recognizing the issues that the younger citizens in the UK really felt strongly about. They were a very narrow party of angry people. And they started branching out through, maybe, taking a second look at the issues of the day, much like we’re going to have to do for the Republican Party, to reconnect with the youth, to reconnect with people of color, to reconnect with different geographies that we have lost. How do you win back the intelligentsia? How do you win back some of the editorial boards of major newspapers that Richard Nixon used to carry?
Q: Why do you think winning back the intelligentsia matters?
A: I think we’ve drifted a little bit from intellectual honesty in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, for example, where they would use rigorous science to back up many of their policies, and in this case many of their environmental policies. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We declared the war on cancer.
A lot of intellectual rigor went into the policies of those days, and we’ve drifted a little bit from taking seriously the importance of science to buttress much of what we’re doing today.
Q: It sounds like what you’re saying is that Republicans need to win the educated class of America.
A: Absolutely. The country, I do believe, is a centrist-right country, for the most part, when you look closely at the demographics…I’m not sure that we have connected fully, meaningfully and in any complete way on the issues of the day.