Huntsman Adviser: GOP 'A Bunch of Cranks'

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Likely Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman's adviser says "there's a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party... No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks." The adviser, John Weaver, told Esquire's Chris Jones that the current 2012 Republican lineup is "the weakest since 1940." At least, presumably, until his guy gets into the race.

Weaver has fairly harsh words for Huntsman's 2012 rivals:

Weaver sees Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and the presumed front-runner, as a man afraid to take a stand--or, more accurately, as a man unafraid of taking every stand. "What version are we on now?" Weaver said. "Mitt 5.0? 6.0?"

As for Tim Pawlenty, the leading Not-Romney candidate thus far:

"Tim's a nice guy," Weaver said, "and there's nothing worse than seeing a nice guy pretend that he's angry. Is that really what we want to be? Is that how we're going to define ourselves? When's the last time an angry man ever solved a problem without using a gun?"

Weaver isn't the first adviser from this campaign cycle to try to separate his candidate from the pack with a few zingers. Michele Bachmann's top staffer Ed Rollins essentially said that she was like Sarah Palin except smarter earlier this month.

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Huntsman, who will declare his candidacy next week, less than two months after stepping down as President Obama's ambassador to China, is trying to separate himself from the herd by calling for a pullout from Afghanistan.

"If you can't define a winning exit strategy for the American people, where we somehow come out ahead, then we're wasting our money, and we're wasting our strategic resources.... It's a tribal state, and it always will be. Whether we like it or not, whenever we withdraw from Afghanistan, whether it's now or years from now, we'll have an incendiary situation... Should we stay and play traffic cop? I don't think that serves our strategic interests."

Huntsman's strategy for courting the anti-"crank" vote appears to involve acting like just a super chill bro. He was  differentiating himself from the pack on this idea even before the comments by his adviser. His campaign posted an ad Wednesday that was so un-cranky it wasn't even explained: just shots of presumably Huntsman, but possibly a stunt double, on a motorcycle in the desert with nice country music.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.