Huntsman On Romney: He’s A “Perfectly Lubricated Weather Vane”

Jon Hunstman hasn’t been known in this campaign for taking an aggressive stance toward any of his opponents, but that’s changing with the New Hampshire primary drawing closer:

Jon Huntsman unleashed new attack lines on two of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination Friday. The former Utah governor called Mitt Romney a “perfectly lubricated weather vane” and Herman Cain “the flavor of the week,” in an interview with Wolf Blitzer.

Huntsman continued popular criticism of Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, by accusing him of changing his positions on issues including Libya, the debt ceiling and Ohio’s bill to limit the collective bargaining rights of union workers.

“You can’t be a perfectly lubricated weather vane on the important issues of the day,” Huntsman said. “Romney has been missing in action in terms of showing any kind of leadership.”

“I do believe that the electorate this go around will be looking for clearly defined presidential leadership and I’m not sure we’re seeing that,” Huntsman added.

Here’s the full interview:

Huntsman is also out with a new web-ad that hits Romney on the flip-flopping charge:

It’s not entirely surprising to see Huntsman doing this. He’s placed all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket and, while victory is not going to happen given Romney’s ties to the state, a strong second place showing would be a huge boost to his campaign if he could pull it off. More importantly, though, this line of attack is perhaps Romney’s biggest vulnerability right now. Expect more of this from other candidates.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    The timing could be good for him. The Cain turn as “anyone but Romney” is fading, and Romney just embarrassed himself with the climate thing. That has to hurt even with the deniers.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    I guess no one of the left will bother to point out that Huntsman is also a weather vane. His opinions and policy positions are standard boiler plate conventional wisdom. Not a single unique idea, no vision, no leadership ability.

    Huntsman, if elected, would give the Democrats everything that want. The real question is why is Huntsman running as a Republicans when all of his idea come from Democrats.

  3. Evidence for your proposition, please superdestroyer.

    Having read through the tax plan he put out in August I really see no evidence at all for what you’re saying

  4. superdestroyer says:

    Huntman supports:

    1. Open borders which is the conventional wisdom of all Democrats and big government Republicans.
    2. Supports regulating the economy due to global climate change. All of the talk of regulatory relaxation or cost-benefit analysis is pointless if he goes along with the Democrats on environmental regulations.
    3. Increased spending with the excuse of deficit reduction but with the real reason of increasing spending.
    4. Gives the militant, liberal homosexuals whatever they want.
    5. Gives the teachers 90% of what they want except of vouchers for private schools.
    6. Supports free trade and giving China whatever they want on trade to include Chna’s dirty floating of their currency.

    HUntsman is a big government, compassionate conservative who would give the Democrats higher taxes, more spending, and more regulatory authority while getting nothing out of the deal.

  5. It would be helpful to your argument if you provided links that establish their veracity. I don’t necessarily support Huntsman, but I will say he’s a better candidate for President than Cain, Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry put together.

  6. Murray says:

    And some say Huntsman has no humor. First his daughters’ Cain ad pastiche and now this.

    With the amount of nonsense his opponents produce he can come out with a zing like this on a daily basis.

  7. superdestroyer says:

    I was amazed at how few issues that Huntsman addresses on the website. Huntsman’s website is so similar to Obama’s from 2008 that it is obviously a blatant copy.

    You look up Huntsman at It is hard to believe that Huntsman really believes in cost-benefit analysis of regulations when he did not pay attention at all to cost-benefit concerning radioactive waste while governor of Utah.

  8. john personna says:

    “open borders” is a right wing slur, right?

    You know what it would literally mean …. a welcome sign and an open road from Tijuana into San Diego.

  9. john personna says:

    (Other than that, I am amused by your opposition to “conventional” reality.)

  10. ponce says:

    I don’t necessarily support Huntsman, but I will say he’s a better candidate for President than Cain, Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry put together.

    Is he a better candidate than Romney?

  11. anjin-san says:

    Huntsman seems like a pretty solid guy. It’s a shame that one of the functions of the modern conservative movement is to destroy people like him.

  12. superdestroyer says:


    What should conservatives believe when the people that say the like Huntsman are liberal progressives who would actually never vote for him.

    That Huntsman has the strongest appeal to liberal progressives who will never vote for any Republican should be seen as a bad thing.

  13. john personna says:


    You have to decide whether it is his rationality or his positions that are appealing.

    Don’t paint yourself into an “I could never vote for an adult” corner.

  14. john personna says:

    (And James, Huntsman supporter that he is, does not look like a “liberal progressive” to me.)

  15. DMan says:


    That Huntsman has the strongest appeal to liberal progressives who will never vote for any Republican should be seen as a bad thing.

    What you fail to grasp is how it’s a matter of perceived sanity, as opposed to political calculation. As a political strategy, those on the left would see a greater appeal towards having a Bacchman, Palin, Trump, or Santorum type oppose them, because they are rather clearly insane. This would cause moderates to either flip to them or stay at home and reduce the need for a “race to the center” political strategy from Obama. Those who want a Huntsman type to succeed aren’t calculating from a political perspective, instead it’s a humane desire to see some form of sanity win out.

  16. superdestroyer says:


    I always find it odd that progressives use the word “sane” when they actually mean “agrees with me.” there is nothing sane about Huntsman support of open borders and unlimited immigraiton. From a conservative point of view, there is nothing sane about giving militant homosexuals everything that they want (See the anit-bullying campaign that is really a stealthy social engineering program).

    Huntsman is not sane because he, like most politicians, refuses to think about the long term impacts of his policy proposals. Instead, Huntsman bases his policies on what is the conventional wisdom of DC.

  17. DMan says:

    I always find it odd that progressives use the word “sane” when they actually mean “agrees with me.”

    Can’t speak for anyone else, but I use the word sane to describe some degree of applied rationality. An objective thought process is a sign of sanity. You know, this: not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased.

  18. Hey Norm says:

    I am lol’ing at superdestroyers open border slur…when this administration has committed more resources to the border, and deported more illegals than ever in history.

    This flipitty floppety fetish of Romney’s will be the downfall of the Republican party. It’s going to either ruin him in the primaries, or in the general. It’s almost as though he is a parody of himself. If the base gets sick of it, they will nominate one of the crazies, and then when that doesn’t work they will figure they werent crazy enough and go even further to the extreme. Or if they nominate Romney, after Obama crushes him…largely because of flip flopping….the party will still assume it hasn’t been crazy enough. Either way a political party already on the fringes of sanity will go further off the deep end.

  19. superdestroyer says:

    @Hey Norm:

    My understanding is that the Obama Administration has changed the way deportations are counted to increase the number without really changing anything. Since one has to be a convicted felon with multiple arrest in order to be deported, do progressives really want to claim that the Obama Administration is deporting 600K+ that are all felons. It goes against the claim that illegal aliens are all hard working, law abiding potential citizens.

    The real reason that the Republicans will lose is that there is no talent in the Republican Party. The Bush clan wants to run the Republican Party as its personal domain. Thus, anyone interested in a career in politics has to be a Democrat. And if one is a college educated, white living on either coast, that means that the only jobs in politics are for progressive hipsters.

  20. superdestroyer says:


    Policy is based on more than facts. It is based upon desired outcomes, how different issues are weighted, and what each person believes is the most important. To believe that progressives have a monopoly on facts is laughable. Look at fast progressives run away from facts with diversity is discussed.

  21. matt says:

    Haha “policy is based on more than facts”…. That is Superdestroyer’s world in a nutshell. Facts have little meaning or importance only what he believes or feels matters. Thanks for finally admitting your distaste for facts. It was already readily apparent that you weren’t a fan of facts based on prior discussions but to have you actually admit it is something I never expected..

  22. Hey Norm says:

    @ SD….
    Your little rant on semantics is a far cry from an open border policy. I’m just sayin’

  23. superdestroyer says:


    Every policy proposal is based on more that facts. When Paul Krugman argues for a multi-trillion dollar keynesian stimulus, he is not arguing facts. He is arguing that the short term positive impacts of stimulus spending is greater than the long term negative impacts of increasing the debt. The argument over economic models, who are the possible winners and who are the possible losers have little to do with “facts.”

    The real questions is why do progressives always make a policy proposal that will be to their own, personal benefit while claiming that every sane person should be for it. Maybe the people who oppose to a particular policy proposal believe that the costs are greater than the benefits since they will not personally benefit from it.

    Huntsman is the type of person who appears to be unable to understand the long term consequences of his policy proposals or just does not care what the negative impacts will be.

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @Hey Norm:


    Anyone who proposes that anyone who gets to the U.S. gets to stay is arguing for open borders. People will just keep trying until they get here and get to stay. Amnesty is just a policy of open borders and unlimited immigration done at a slow pace.

  25. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Better than the current crop is not a high bar to jump over. Even so, it doesn’t appear that he can convince anyone that he is able to clear it.

    On the other hand, and at least partially in defense of Romney (whom I don’t support and will not vote for) it is very difficult to hold firm beliefs for a selectorate who want to want the government to stay out of their lives but don’t really want to have the government out–“don’t turn Medicare into a socialized medicine scheme” is an example of the thinking (or lack thereof). That Romney is totally feckless simply shows that he understands the electorate well and is sufficiently venal to look after his own interests.

  26. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @DMan: @superdestroyer: While I can see DMan’s point, I don’t see that Huntsman is significantly different from Obama. I don’t see that Romney is different, either. If the argument is that these guys will do Obama’s policies more effectively (and he seems pretty “business as usual” to me) make that the argument. But I’m not an Eskimo, and I don’t need any more snow, thank you.

  27. Neil Hudelson says:

    4. Gives the militant, liberal homosexuals whatever they want.

    Does that include cheese souffles? Because, if militant liberal homosexuals wanted cheese souffles, could we really blame them? Those things are delicious.

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Do you really believe that snark makes anyone look intelligent. Huntsman would give homosexuals veto power over all parts of the Department of Education, would give homosexuals promotion quotas in the military, would apply all aspects of the civil rights act so that homosexuals would be eligible for set aside contracting and be able to file desperate impact lawsuits.

    Homosexuals would basically be given veto power for all government policies much like the CBC has today. The idea of free speech or free association would be put to an end along with the idea of the free exercise of religion.

  29. matt says:

    @superdestroyer: Huntsman a Republican will do this but Obama the Democrat isn’t? I thought he was going to do all that a couple years ago when he was running for election…

  30. Neil Hudelson says:


    When the snark is directed at something as idiotic as your rant, yeah, I do.

  31. superdestroyer says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I guess when all that one has is snark, politics is not very interesting. How does one evaluate policy when one only has snark? How does one evaluate leadership when one only has snark?

    Snark defined the progressive movement these days because the progressive movement is about the kids who consider themsleves “cool” to act cooler than everyone else. What will politics be like in the future when whites evaluate politics in terms of status seeking while non-whites work hard to deliver goodies to their own group?