Good luck to Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman and his promise made yesterday at New Jersey’s Liberty State Park to wage a campaign of civility.
[Why do politicos use Liberty State Park as a photo-op? The Statue of Liberty has her back to the Garden State, while she faces New York City.]
The former Utah governor hit a high civil note when he said: “It concerns me that civility, humanity and respect are sometimes lost in our interactions as Americans. I don’t think you need to run down somebody’s reputation in order to run for the office of the president.”
Huntsman’s promise comes two days after Weber Shandwick released a report that shows a public yearning for a civil campaign. Voters, however, aren’t holding their breaths. Sixty-five percent of the survey respondents say incivility is a problem today, and 55 percent expect it to get worse over the next five years.
Huntsman’s pledge is honorable, but naďve in the political arena. Attack ads run because they work. If they didn’t work, civility would reign supreme.
Huntsman, for instance, was immediately slammed by super-long shot Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania Senator, who got walloped by 17 percentage points in his last election, posted a web ad that is a parody of a video released by the Huntsman campaign.
The piece faults Huntsman for not signing the Susan B. Anthony List’s Pro-Life Pledge, “just like Mitt Romney.”
Coverage of the Santorum spot is the most publicity that the Pennsylvanian has received in weeks. Expect more from Desperate Rick.
If he is serious about winning the Republican nomination, Huntsman is going to have to take his own shots. And then the well-oiled battle-tested Obama Machine awaits.
The Obama campaign quickly responded to Huntsman faulting the White House for the current economic mess. It sent an email to reporters knocking Huntsman for his support of Wisconsin Congressman Private Ryan’s budget plan to “slash our commitment to education, wipe out investments that will foster the jobs of the future and extend tax cuts for the richest Americans while shifting the burden onto seniors and middle-class families.”