November 13, 2011

"It gets a little lonely over here in Siberia from time to time" was the wry whine from the under-included Jon Huntsman at the debate last night.

But does he have serious cause for complaint? Personally, I would love to hear from Thaddeus McCotter. Remember him? He was kept out of the debates entirely because he didn't hit a point in the polls — 1% — that was within the margin of error. Huntsman, benefited by inclusion in multiple debates, still hasn't worked his percentage up above the 1% mark.

It makes sense for the moderators to apportion the time with some regard to the polls! One-percenters are lucky to be included in the debate at all, especially this late in the game, when they've proven, over the weeks, that they are not gaining ground. Huntsman's poll numbers are flatlining.

This was a prime-time network debate. It wasn't wrong, at this point, to use some approach other than egalitarianism. They had equality of opportunity at the start of what has been a long series of debates. At some point, meritocracy kicks in. The people have shown they're most interested in comparing a set of 4 or 5 of the candidates to each other, and those on the outs should be grateful that they're given a shot at all.

The question isn't why is Huntsman getting so many fewer questions than Romney/Cain/Perry/Gingrich. The question is why is he getting so many more questions than Thaddeus McCotter?

And here's a news report revealing that CBS consciously chose poll-based proportionality. The Bachmann campaign got its hands on some internal CBS email:
In the email string, CBS News’ political analyst John Dickerson said that Bachmann was “not going to get many questions during the debate and she’s nearly off the charts,” a reference to the Minnesota congresswoman’s low standing in the polls....

“There’s nothing that can be done now. The debate’s over,” [Bachmann spokeswoman Alice] Stewart said. “They assured us prior to debate that it was going to be a fair and level playing field and it certainly wasn’t. We didn’t want to have to get the word out but they made it clear to us that it was going to be fair and it wasn’t.”
It's a level playing field if you view the game as beginning months ago! You had equal opportunity at the outset, but you've been doing poorly, and it's a meritocracy. Playing the "fairness" card now makes you sound like a liberal arguing for affirmative action... in a situation where there was no deprivation of opportunity at the outset.
Paul’s spokesman Jesse Benton accused CBS of “disgraceful” actions that stemmed from an “arrogance” in thinking that “they can choose the next president.”

“Ron Paul consistently polls among the top three in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire,” Benton said in a statement. “He is polling in double digits in most respected polls. 
Now, Paul does deserve attention, for the reason stated. But I think he got some great openings last night. He had the chance to distinguish himself as strongly opposed to all torture (defined unstingily) and to all undeclared wars. But he only had 90 seconds total, and so something beyond poll-based proportionality infused CBS's decisionmaking.

After the moderator Scott Pelley defended CBS's choices:
“I’ll tell you that the time for all of the candidates was limited. We had an hour and a half. We had eight candidates... I’ll also tell you we spent an enormous amount of time, several weeks, counting all of the questions of all the candidates, making sure everyone had a fair shot. Gov. Huntsman, who is polling around 1 percent at this point, made a point of coming up to me on stage and said, ‘I really appreciate how much you talked to the candidates who are not polling very high in numbers.’ So I think the candidates felt they were well treated.”
Oh, is Huntsman gunning for a network job? He's clever. Sucking up like that.

IN THE COMMENTS: Irene said:
A clever politician like Huntsman should know better than to joke about Siberia.

What if he had said "Nazi camp" instead?

53 comments:

Peter Hoh said...

I'd like to see McCotter, Johnson, and Roemer.

I mean, none of them are named Romney, so they have that going for them.

Bill said...

I was disappointed when McCotter dropped out but I knew it was always a long shot.

Now I'm thinking if he could have hung on a little longer he'd be enjoying his own little resurgence right about now.

It's be nice if he got back in. Or at least was a VP pick.

Irene said...

A clever politician like Huntsman should know better than to joke about Siberia.

What if he had said "Nazi camp" instead?

Hagar said...

I never have understood why Jon Huntsman is running for President in the first place.

edutcher said...

He's the Alter-Mitt.

PS He'd do better primarying GodZero.

SGT Ted said...

Thre real outrage if there is to be any is that the Republican debates are being moderated by their ideological enemies, who aren't interested in honest debate but scoring "gotcha" propaganda points for the Democrats to use in the general election.

I am not paying too much attention to those debates and will not until the DNC agrees to host the majority of their primary debates on Fox News. I know what candidates I like and why and I don't need some rich leftwinger living in New York or L.A. to tell me anything.

Curious George said...

"Hagar said...
I never have understood why Jon Huntsman is running for President in the first place."

He has John Althouse Cohen's endorsement. He will use that as a springboard.

Peter Hoh said...

Huntsman is running for the same reason everyone not named Romney is running -- to finish second and start off the next election cycle as the presumptive nominee.

Charlie Martin said...

It makes sense for the moderates to apportion the time with some regard to the polls!

"Moderators".

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Look at Pelley at this point — 0:32 — he's smiling and glowing

He's smirking and preening. He thinks he's just scored big against one of his ideological enemies, and will get a big 'attaboy' from CBS when off-camera.

Too bad for him that he sprang his cheap 'gotcha' on one of the few Republicans articulate enough to hand him his head in front of God and everybody - and the audience loved it.

Bill said...

Let's be realistic:

McCotter deserves to be in the debates merely due to having the best/coolest name of any of the GOP candidates.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

Someone once described Huntsman and Romney to me as the ideal Republican candidates -- for people who aren't planning to vote Republican under any circumstances.

caseym54 said...

Look at what Newt did from over in the corner. It's not how much time you have, it's what you do with it.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm deleting all the discussion of computer problems. Please email me if you like, but it's cluttering the thread. (I'm having problems elsewhere on the web in Safari but not in Firefox. I think there's something wrong somewhere, but I can't think of anything to do. If you can, email me.)

Ann Althouse said...

@Charlie. Thanks. Corrected.

miller said...

Oh please, Republicans, nominate Ron Paul. Please please please please please.

Nothing would make me happier than to have a Lyndon Johnson landslide for Obama.

YoungHegelian said...

If you look at Huntsman's resume' (curriculum vitae?) here, you'll notice that he doesn't seem to like sticking around. Less than a year in Singapore. About 18 months as Ambassador to China, a high visibility position that Obama stuck his neck out to give to Huntsman. And, while re-elected by a large margin in Utah, he left the governorship early to accept, of all things, an ambassadorial posting.

I think Huntsman is at heart a wandering gypsy, and everyone in the political world knows it. He just seems to lack persistence.

Andy R. said...

Huntsman gets to much attention because people who he is the only person besides Romney that would be a remotely credible Republican nominee.

YoungHegelian said...

And I apologize in advance to anyone I have offended in my appeal to Roma stereotypes.

Carol_Herman said...

Another Mormon. How do so many Mormons get into politics?

Is Harry Reid a dud?

Doesn't it seem to you that the democraps are acting in a whole new way?

And, the flub for Herman Cain was calling Nancy Pelosi "Princess Nancy."

But go ahead. Choose your own favorite moments.

8 contendahs. NONE of them have influenced anybody else ... except the conservatives ... who think watching the debates is letting them choose a "leader."

The Leader hasn't arrived, yet.

And, if this thing keeps going without changes made? There's a good chance (in my book), that ONE NATION emerges as an Independent Party. With Sarah on Top. And, Donald Trump adding business weight, as the veep.

All they'll need are a few months time. So, I'll guess the "break out" comes around June 2012. And, it hits the beaches during the summer months. And, by Fall ... the media will be falling all over themselves to get their hands on the "appearance schedules."

You think you need to "introduce" Sarah Palin and Donald Trump as candidates? You know, I just don't think so.

Curious George said...

YoungHegelian said...
If you look at Huntsman's resume' (curriculum vitae?) here, you'll notice that he doesn't seem to like sticking around."

Reminds me of some half black asshat from Chicago....

Curious George said...

"Andy R. said...
Huntsman gets to much attention because people who he is the only person besides Romney that would be a remotely credible Republican nominee."

Sober up, come back and give it another try.

Andy R. said...

Now sure why that previous comment went so awry. Anyway, here is take two, since I know how much all of you value my insight.

Huntsman gets so much attention because people know he is the only person besides Romney that would be a remotely credible Republican nominee.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Huntsman gets to much attention because people who he is the only person besides Romney that would be a remotely credible Republican nominee.

I think we can safely attribute all of Hatman's future comments to the nightsticks he took to the head while Occupying Atlanta.

gk1 said...

I think the republican candidates have stumbled late upon success for these debates. Pick a fight with the liberal "moderator" as they try to forment dissent. Sit back and watch your approvals go up. Kissing up to them like huntsman has gets you no where.

ndspinelli said...

Regarding the Newt thread that abruptly ends. The only question we need to answer is are we ready for an adulterous, pompous, Pillsbury Dough Boy in the White House?

edutcher said...

We already had one for 8 years, back in the 90s.

roesch/voltaire said...

Unlike Bachmann, Huntman knows enough about China to realize we should not model our economy after socialist China as Bachmann suggests. Unfortunately Huntsman is too intelligent and moderate to represent the current Republican party and so he only polls one percent.

Hagar said...

If Obama is reelected, Huntsman may get another post in his administration, and the MSM will all refer to him as representing the "bi-partisanship" Obama has exhibited by appointing such a famous leading Republican politician.

Bruce Hayden said...

Huntsman gets so much attention because people know he is the only person besides Romney that would be a remotely credible Republican nominee.

I don't see this at all. He has the Romney LDS religious baggage, without much to compensate for it. At least Romney has a string of accomplishments, as do Cain and Gingrich. Ok, being governor of one of the most conservative states in the union is an accomplishment, though he did bail on that. And, he managed to leave office there without getting indicted.

But, the indictments of his predecessors is illustrative of some of the problems that his state has had, and, I would suggest that they may have some connection to the predominant religion in that state.

Utah is weird as a western state. On the one hand, they, and the other "Mormon" states of Idaho and Wyoming, tend to vote very conservative for President. On the other hand, they are much more communitarian than the other western states, which are predominantly individualistic. And, I think that it may be this communitarianism that is behind the fact that there seems to be so much pay-to-play corruption at the top in that state.

(I named three of the "Mormon" states - the fourth was Nevada. Part of the deal to give Utah statehood was a promise of these eight Senate seats for the Republicans. The Mormons had supported Democrats before this, but the national Dems never seemed to be able to pull off giving Utah statehood, and so the Mormons switched parties to get statehood. The other three states have stayed fairly Republican since then, but Nevada swings back and forth these days, mostly I think because of the gaming industry unions).

Also, to Huntsman's disadvantage - he speaks to a part of the country that will be pretty solidly for any credible Republican candidate. I don't see him having that much cross-over appeal.

Carol_Herman said...

Memories from the GOP's past:

Teddy Roosevelt took a dislike to the way Taft was running the country. Since Roosevelt gave up running for a second term. Deciding, instead to go on a safari, to kill big game. When he came back ...

He went after Taft at the Republican convention. But couldn't knock the presidential nomination out of Taft's hands.

With "rightious anger" Teddy Roosevelt ran as an Independent. He called himself (or his party) the BULL MOOSE 'run.'

Teddy Roosevelt came in 2nd!

Taft's popularity across this nation was so bad, that the GOP came in 3rd.

Later on, Taft would be elevated to the Supreme Court bench. WHY? Because unlike an election, where you can lose, you just need the senators to "consent" to the president's choice. (I think the president was Harding.) Nothing much is said about Harding, anymore. Except that he was from the GOP. Oh. And, the country was flying high. Following WW1. Even with Prohibition ... many Americans "got jazzed."

This goes BUST.

(You know, as much as you like Clarence Thomas. It's a similar "problem." He wasn't elected. He got 52 senators to confirm the elder Bush's choice. And, the elder Bush then became a one-termer, in a national election.

Anita Hill just told her story.

Like it or not, it tends to stick.

Just as the pedophilia at Penn State will stick around for a very long time.

Worth remembering what one single stain could do to a reputation.

For 3rd place to appear again? Sarah Palin has to run as an Independent. All bets would be off.

But the GOP? 2nd or 3rd place. Because there are conservatives who have been at play in the GOP's "messaging" ... since 1980.

Not all the news is good news.

Ann Althouse said...

(I solved the computer problem! There was some stray Microsoft Word code in something I'd cut and pasted from my copy of the transcript.)

frank said...

McCotter? Careful Ann, your intellect is showing.The best guest on Red Eye and fully supports the UAW. Bi-polars need a candidate too!

EDH said...

"'It gets a little lonely over here in Siberia from time to time' was the wry whine from the under-included Jon Huntsman at the debate last night."

Irene said...
A clever politician like Huntsman should know better than to joke about Siberia. What if he had said "Nazi camp" instead?

Except the Nazi death camps weren't especially geographically isolated. So their relevance to the analogy is fixed in time and place when there was forced confinement in death camps at the hands of Nazis, not mere remoteness in geography.

Huntsman never said he was "sent" to Siberia.

Siberia's isolation is based on geographic remoteness, and is not so fixed in time or circumstance as is the case with forced confinement in the Nazi death camps.

Siberia is will always be isolated, whether you were sent to a death camp under Stalin, or stationed there today in the Russian airforce or doing research on the Kodiak bear for an NGO.

sunsong said...

roesch/voltaire said...


Unlike Bachmann, Huntman knows enough about China to realize we should not model our economy after socialist China as Bachmann suggests. Unfortunately Huntsman is too intelligent and moderate to represent the current Republican party and so he only polls one percent.

I agree. Both parties bases are extreme and they want their candidate to be just like them. I like Huntsman a lot. He was a great governor here in Utah. Innovative, inclusive, fiscally conservative, diplomatic and we had a rainy day fund when the economy tanked.

Romney is the weathervane - which way is the wind blowing. Perry is extreme and makes George W look glib and articulate. And yet, Obama has no clue how to get America back to work...

ndspinelli said...

eduther..lol! Well..are we ready for ANOTHER adulterous, pompous, Pillsbury Dough Boy?

Irene said...

EDH, I understand the analogy to remoteness. It still shows Huntsman is a bit clueless.

The "Siberia-is-a-remote-place" comparison is not what comes to mind to many of us when we hear the word "Siberia."

A more savvy Huntsman might have said, "Mojave Desert" if remoteness were the analogy he sought.

I think Huntsman meant "banishment" or "exile."

caseym54 said...

Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain were all but ignored in the first half-dozen debates. But what little time they were given they put to good use. Bachman had a lot of play early on, and she didn't make a convincing case. Pawlenty had center stage for the short duration of his candidacy. Perry started there and declined.

We've heard all these folks for a few months now; this was debate #10. What is amazing isn't that they're playing favorites, it's that it has taken so long.

caseym54 said...

BTW, did anyone notice that Romney was ignored for about half an hour in the middle of the first hour? One question they went to everyone once (and Newt twice) but not to Romney at all.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, the implication is: exiled to Siberia. That's why it represents remoteness.

MayBee said...

Yes, the implication is: exiled to Siberia. That's why it represents remoteness.

No, Siberia represents remoteness because it is remote. I've never been there, but I've flown over it (as I'm sure Huntsman has, on his way to China).
It is a freezing white vastness as far as your eye can see. Remote.

EDH said...

Wasn't "shipped to Siberia" just a popular saying from the 1950s or 1960s that even children were told, like "all the starving children in China or Korea"?

I don't believe there was an equivalent saying in popular usage, before or since, "sent to a Nazi cencentration camp".

Just to check, I did a Google search on each:

"Shipped to Siberia": 84,800 hits (most in the colloquial sense)

"Shipped to Nazi concentration camp": 1 hit (zero in a colloquial sense)

If anything, it was the Left's soft peddling of Communist attrocity that gave "shipped to Siberia" its benign connotation.

EDH said...

George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language"

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find -- this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify -- that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.


In Huntsman's case, I think he was just invoking an expression he learned in childhood.

Orwell, continued:

Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.

I love that "prefabricated henhouse" metaphor.

PaulV said...

Huntsman should run in the democrat party as he appeals to them more than Republicans

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knox said...

McCotter would be in the top now if he'd been included with all these dufusses from the beginning.

Kirby Olson said...

Welcome back, McCotter!

Kirby Olson said...

McCotter has a first generation Mexican wife. I wonder what the communists would think about that. Would it give him any kind of immunity? She also is a practicing nurse. I get requests for money from him almost daily. But I think he has more money than I have, so I never send any. I write back and ask him for money, to see how he likes it.

John Althouse Cohen said...

He has John Althouse Cohen's endorsement. He will use that as a springboard.

I'm sorry, should I have been clearer than saying, "I'm rooting for Romney" twice?

Crazy Bald Guy said...

"Huntsman gets so much attention because people know he is the only person besides Romney that would be a remotely credible Republican nominee."


What people? Most people I know think he's running in the wrong primary.

Micha Elyi said...

The Russian czars were exiling undesirables to Siberia long before the commies came along.

Hmm. Czars. Maybe Huntsman was trying to get in a sly dig at King-of-the-Czars Obama. Too bad for Huntsman that only other eggheads could notice.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Most people I know think he's running in the wrong primary.

Does Huntsman take a liberal position on any issues aside from same-sex civil unions?