- - Tuesday, January 17, 2012



SOUTH OF THE BORDER, S.C. — At last, the long national nightmare of Jon Huntsman Jr. running for president is finally over. One can only hope we will never again endure hearing Chinese spoken during another presidential debate.

At least not until President Obama wins re-election, keeps borrowing us into oblivion and the Chinese take full possession of America.

Mr. Obama and his crowd may not be big on making new Americans learn to speak English well enough to pass a citizenship test, but these Chinese have no such qualms. When they complete taking ownership of America, you can bet they will force us all to speak perfect Chinese.

Then maybe Mr. Huntsman can be like the head prisoner in one of the concentration camps we will all be thrown into.

Since he never broke out beyond 2 percent in national polls, you say, Mr. Huntsman’s departure was a given. Not so. After his third-place loss in New Hampshire — a state in which he spent months campaigning — Mr. Huntsman actually came out on stage holding his hand high like Rocky and called his loss his “ticket to ride.”

After some sort of divine intervention, Mr. Huntsman decided to quit. Finally, we can now get on with picking a Republican to run against President Obama. And, as the saying goes, as Jon Huntsman goes, so goes the American electorate. In dropping out of the race, Mr. Huntsman endorsed — Mitt Romney!

This comes after an entire campaign of running for president basically just trashing the former Massachusetts governor in some kind of Inter-Mormon Steel-Cage Death Match. So, his endorsement was a little strange, especially since Mr. Romney didn’t even show up for it.

But the absence of Mr. Huntsman and his Chinese gibberish in Monday night’s debate was a boon for democracy. It was, by far, the most illuminating, entertaining and fiery debate of the entire primary. Sparks flew from the opening and did not cease for two whole hours.

Mr. Romney certainly appears to remain in a strong position to win South Carolina. And if he does, he will be closing in fast on the nomination.

Even if former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is certified the winner of the Iowa caucuses, he is not a terribly credible candidate if he cannot win in a culturally and socially conservative state like South Carolina. If polls are accurate, he’s got a long way to go before Saturday’s voting.

And if Rep. Ron Paul of Texas can’t make a better stand in New Hampshire — a state whose motto is “Live Free or Die” — then he needs to find a new line of work. The good news is that sensible libertarianism lives on in his son, who has a long future ahead of him in national politics if he can dodge his father’s crazy old man persona.

That leaves just one ray of hope for those rabidly afraid of a Mitt Romney nomination. Since Mr. Romney has failed to get 50 percent support in any contest, their only hope is that very soon more candidates go the way of Mr. Huntsman so that the anti-Romney vote can coalesce around just one nominee and go head-to-head with Romney.

Charles Hurt may be reached at [email protected]

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