Okay, Jon Huntsman isn’t going to be president. But he will announce his intention to run soon, which reminds me of my favorite political story about running for president in the New Hampshire primary. Back when Moe Udall was running, he stopped into a barber shop and said, “I’m Moe Udall, and I’m running for president.” And one of the men inside said, “Yes, we were just laughing about that this morning!”
Even so, it’s interesting that Huntsman is pushing President Obama for a faster pullout from Afghanistan:
“When you look at Afghanistan, can we hang out until 2014 and beyond? You can, if you’re willing to pay another quarter of a trillion dollars to do so.… If it isn’t in our direct national security interest and if there isn’t a logical exit strategy and if we don’t know what the cost is going to be in terms of money and human lives, then I think you have to say it’s probably time we re-evaluate this. My hunch is the American people want to be out of there as quickly as we can get it done.”
Unlike kooks such as Ron Paul, Huntsman is a mainstream candidate, even if he doesn’t appeal well to the ideologues who dominate primaries. Still, it’s really important that this is happening inside the GOP. If the Republicans are smart, they’ll start calling it “Obama’s war,” and point out that President Bush didn’t bother to send many troops there.
Meanwhile, though the Washington Post editorial page this weekend demanded that Obama keep as many troops there as long as possible, other Republicans are not happy with what’s going on, too, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, one of the top Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the war is not sustainable, adding:
“We’ve got this huge nation-building effort under way [and] I think if our citizens saw our footprint in Afghanistan, saw what was happening there from the standpoint of all the things we’re investing in thiscountry, the distortions in its culture—we’ve got to change our footprint.”