The Dish goes through the process of endorsing candidates in a primary season, not because I’m under any illusions that my endorsement counts. It probably hurts an insignificant amount, if anything. I try to make a decision – because it’s easy to pontificate, debate, counter and riff off the various eddies in the campaign, but in the end, it comes to a choice for all voters in the booth. Why should a blogger avoid that responsibility? And I should be clear. This endorsement is mine and mine alone.
For a long time, I thought Huntsman would be my ideal candidate. And indeed, his tax reform proposals – modeled on Bowles-Simpson – are dead-on. Removing every single deduction in one heave would do more to empower market-based decisions in the economy and to throw lobbyists out of work than any other single measure. It’s the most important, simple, productive move we can make right now and Obama has been a coward and a fool for not embracing it. Alas, the rates Huntsman favors are, to my mind, far too low, given the desperate need for revenues, if we are to tackle the debt seriously. But we are not electing a dictator. We are electing one branch of three that govern us. Huntsman is not the kind of Republican who couldn’t compromise with Democrats. The Grand Bargain may become possible again.
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On foreign policy, Huntsman also favors a more realist correction to neocon excess, and would build on Obama’s remarkable successes, without invoking some of Obama’s more worrying bleeding heart tendencies. His longstanding ties to America’s most important global partner, China, make him uniquely qualified to take that relationship to a new level. Unlike Romney, he is not for starting a trade war. And his sanity on climate change – certainty that it is man-made but real skepticism about how to tackle it – is, in my view, the conservative position. And, almost alone among the Republicans, he acknowledges that gay people exist and that our committed relationships merit recognition in the law.
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