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December 14, 2011

Exploring the GOP Id
Posted by Michael Cohen

Over at Foreign Policy, I have a new piece up on Monday's Huntsman/Gingrich debate in New Hampshire, which besides offering few areas of disagreement between the two candidates, provided a fascinating glimpse into the preferences of GOP primary voters:

Huntsman, to date, has been banking in large measure on his experience as an ambassador to China and his sober and adult approach to policy matters both domestic and international. He's the safe pick; the clean-cut boyfriend you can feel comfortable bringing home to your parents. That serious figure was on display Monday afternoon.

Then there is Newt Gingrich; the bad boy to Huntsman's upright and dependable boyfriend.  While others may couch their words in diplomatic language or achievable policy specifics, Newt doesn't waste his time with such niceties.

. . . For Gingrich, every single government institution, from the State Department to the intel community to the Defense Department's procurement capabilities to NASA's bureaucracy is in need of radical transformation.  It's not enough to come up with a new energy policy; America must wean itself off all foreign oil. Manufacturing capabilities must be completely rebuilt; a national debate and comprehensive strategy on dealing with radical Islam is required. Everything for Gingrich is bigger and fundamentally transformational.

. . . There is no nuance with Newt; no half-measures or mere modifications to what is currently being done. Everything must change. And every story is told with a leading anecdote offered in breathless tone that suggests only a fool would fail to grasp the historic nature of Newt's arguments. After a while, listening to Gingrich feels like a bit like listening to a couple of undergraduates in a dorm room talking about how to fix the world while passing around a joint.

Guess which candidate is the current frontrunner and which one is mired in the single digits. Read the whole thing here


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Three-quarters of the populace thinks that America is going in the wrong direction (RCP ave.), so any desires for a fundamental transformation are not the GOP's alone.

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