Libertarian Commissars Proclaim Jon Huntsman Safe as Milk

TPM reveals the presidential preferences of D.C. libertarians:

Libertarians in Washington are not happy about how the Republican primary is shaping up. Barring a miracle, there are two candidates with a decent shot at the nomination. Mitt Romney, the godfather of Obamacare, is not libertarians’ first choice. And they think Newt Gingrich, the new frontrunner, is even worse.

I don’t know about the “decent shot” part, but otherwise, so far, so good. Then there’s this:

“There’s a belief that the field represents a pre-Tea Party Republicanism,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior research fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute. It’s a crop of left-overs, he explains. Libertarians wanted Paul Ryan or Chris Christie.

Excuse me? As Daniel Larison puts it, “I don’t want to assume that the views expressed in this report are representative of libertarians or even libertarian policy wonks, but the idea that there were any libertarians interested in Paul Ryan and Chris Christie is baffling.”

If that baffles you, keep reading. TPM:

While less than perfect, libertarians are hoping for a Jon Huntsman resurgence to spare them from Newt and Mitt. “I think there is burgeoning interest in Jon Huntsman,” says [the Cato Institute’s David] Boaz, though perhaps “too late to matter.” While not a card-carrying libertarian, says Tanner, he possesses the right combination of a very conservative economic agenda and more moderate positions on foreign policy and social issues.

I’ll assume that’s a dangling modifier in the first sentence and Jon Huntsman is “less than perfect” (though, to be fair, so are libertarians). That’s an understatement, but set it aside for the moment. Go read the article. Notice whose name is conspicuously absent? Hint: he was once the Libertarian Party nominee for president, and he’s 16 points ahead of Jon Huntsman among likely Iowa caucus-goers.


It’s true that Huntsman breaks with the party on some individual foreign policy and social issues, but overall Huntsman is more conservative on social issues than almost anyone else in the field, and his “moderation” on foreign policy includes support for bombing Iran. It’s impressive how far out of their way some of these folks will go to avoid supporting the candidates with whom they agree on virtually everything.

These people live in and around D.C. They have nice, normal liberal and conservative friends whose tolerance for radicalism extends to attending a Cato policy briefing on school vouchers once a year. They have reputations to maintain. Jon Huntsman may be hungry for votes, but he sure ain’t weird.

13 thoughts on “Libertarian Commissars Proclaim Jon Huntsman Safe as Milk”

  1. "Libertarian Commissars?" Ummm Matt? Libertarians have "commissars?" That sounds kind of creepy. Authoritarian? Yeah, maybe that last one.
    Now I know Huntsman from back in the 'Utah days' and he's a massively wealthy pansy-boy. Soft, squishy, weasley, the kind you probably would NOT want alone with your children, and he's lactose intolerant. Oh yes he is.
    "Safe as milk?" I don't think so…

  2. The good news here is that no REAL libertarian gives the time of day to anyone or anything connected to the Cato Institute. These morons are both out of touch AND desperate.

    1. The foreign policy department at Cato is fine. It's not us but it's good enough. A *few* loudmouths *not* in the foreign policy department made a stir over Iraq. Most libertarians thought they were being ridiculous then. Nearly everyone sees how ridiculous they are now.

      Sure, it's irresistible to remark upon such imbecility but we at and folks at LRC made too much of it. Besides in 25 years, no decent human being will have ever admitted being for the Iraq war.

  3. Huntsman can't be a moderate on foreign policy if he is for bombing Iran and says Obama is abandoning Israel. Ron Paul is far more moderate than he is. The US has the most nukes in the world yet no foreign nation including Russia and China will bomb us.

  4. Does this make libertarian another worthless word? We have liberals who disdain liberty and conservatives who live in a fantasy instead of reality, and seek to conserve that fantasy. Do the words social democrat and christian democrat describe these people better?

    Huntsman is only moderate in how he plays his role. He reminds me of Obama in that sense. I think he is going after the bloody minded vote that doesn't revel in it's immorality as I sign of their chickenhawkish manliness. He is going after the votes that the other candidates scare away. His problem is that he lacks the bulldog features of Newt Gingrich, the charismatic teflon of Herman Cain, the cowboy swagger of Rick Perry. His message doesn't speak to what is left of the American soul as Ron Paul's message does.

  5. There is ONE Republican.

    And he's far better than any Democrat, too. That can't be said of the other Republicans.

    Nobody else says his name, so I guess I'll play that game, too. Maybe it's fun? Lucrative?

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