Earlier today in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney made a succinct little remark about the way that capitalism empowers consumers to rid the market of service-providers whose abilities aren’t quite up to par:
“I want people to be able to own insurance if they wish to, and to buy it for themselves and perhaps keep it for the rest of their life, and to choose among different policies offered from companies across the nation. I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy.
“It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.”
Democrats immediately ripped the phrase “I like being able to fire people” out of context. That shouldn’t be surprising.
Depressingly, it also is no longer surprising that Jon Huntsman, the first Republican candidate to sink to anti-capitalist demagoguery against Mitt Romney in attacking his successful tenure at Bain Capital, would also be the first to echo the Democrat lie about Romney’s remark:
“It’s become abundantly clear over the last couple of days what differentiates Governor Romney and me,” he said. “I will always put my country first. It seems that Governor Romney believes in putting politics first. Governor Romney enjoys firing people; I enjoy creating jobs.
“It may be that he’s slightly out of touch with the economic reality playing out in America right now, and that’s a dangerous place to be,” he said.
This is scandalously dishonest. Huntsman either is deliberately lying, in which case he’s a deceptive tool, or he actually believes that Romney takes glee in depriving people of work, in which case he’s a blithering idiot. Romney was obviously making a remark about how capitalism empowers consumers — not stating that he takes joy in taking people’s jobs away.
Huntsman’s record of dishonesty is breathtaking in scope. He has previously stated that it’s “legitimate” to attack Mitt Romney for being “responsible for layoffs” — contributing to a false portrait of the nature of growth. He has also, like Rick Perry, been unfair to Romney in comparing their relative state records of job creation — as if it isn’t easier to preside over growth in a ruby-red state like Utah (or Texas) than a deep-blue state like Masssachusetts.
Huntsman has spent the entire campaign as a deeply confused candidate — he came swinging out of the gate as the “sane” alternative to supposedly “insane” candidates like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. He threw himself a jubilee celebrating his belief in evolution and global warming. His advisers — former McCain toadies — took open delight in bashing the Republican Party. Recently, shocked to realize that attacking the people he wants to vote for him ended up backfiring, he ran ads touting himself as the “consistent conservative” alternative to Mitt Romney, bragged about praise from the Wall Street Journal, and touted the words of George Will. I guess we’ve come full-circle once again — here’s Huntsman, engaging in deceptive, anti-conservative tactics, just like when he began.
There’s talk of a late Huntsman surge in New Hampshire. No matter. Whether Huntsman places second or fifth, he’ll be forgotten within days — he’s proven that his irrelevance is well-earned.