I was accustomed over the years to being interviewed by national media on the Sunday morning when a presidential endorsement came out in the paper. Today was no different, as a reporter with NBC called to ask me about The State and and its endorsement, prior to interviewing Jon Huntsman today.
I was happy to explain the Huntsman endorsement within the context of the ongoing consensus of the editorial board. I could well have written many of the words that appeared in the paper today. And I told her to remember the one thing I have said, more often than anything else, in explaining what an endorsement is not, and what it is: It’s about who should win, not who’s going to win. We all knew Huntsman wasn’t going to win, just as we knew Joe Lieberman wasn’t going to be the Democratic nominee in 2004. But he should have been.
And Huntsman was the man who should have won the Republican nomination, as well expressed in the editorial:
We need a president who can work within our poisonous political environment to solve our nation’s problems, not simply score partisan points. Someone who understands that negotiation is essential in a representative democracy, and that there are good ideas across the political spectrum. Someone who has a well-defined set of core values but is not so rigid that he ignores new information and new conditions. Someone who has shown himself to be honest and trustworthy. And competent. Someone whose positions are well-reasoned and based on the world as it is rather than as he pretends it to be. Someone with the temperament and judgment and experience to be taken seriously as the commander in chief and leader of the free world.
We think Mr. Romney could demonstrate those characteristics. Mr. Huntsman already does. And we are proud to endorse him for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.
Exactly. And Cindi’s accompanying column (Nina Brook years ago dubbed this sort of pairing “steak and steak”) went on to explain why none of the other candidates would do. All well reasoned.
And The State‘s reward for having done the right thing, and having clearly stated why, will be catcalls from detractors delighted that its chosen candidate quit only hours after the endorsement was published. (This will particularly thrill the ones who truly hate the newspaper, and maintain that its endorsement is the “kiss of death.” So seldom does anything happen to support their erroneous thesis — the newspaper’s chosen candidates win about 75 percent of the time in general elections — that I suppose we must indulge them in having their fun, eh?)
Have you seen the news? It just broke a few minutes ago:
Huntsman Says He’s Quitting G.O.P. RaceBy JIM RUTENBERG, JEFF ZELENY AND MICHAEL D. SHEAR
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Jon M. Huntsman Jr. informed his advisers on Sunday that he intends to drop out of the Republican presidential race, ending his candidacy a week before he had hoped to revive his campaign in the South Carolina primary.
Mr. Huntsman, who had struggled to live up to the soaring expectations of his candidacy, made plans to make an announcement as early as Monday. He had been set to participate in an evening debate in Myrtle Beach.
Matt David, campaign manager to Mr. Huntsman, confirmed the decision in an interview Sunday evening. “The governor and his family, at this point in the race, decided it was time for Republicans to rally around a candidate who could beat Barack Obama and turn around the economy,” Mr. David said. “That candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.”
Huntsman was right to back Romney, thereby seconding The State’s point that he would be the second choice.
But the nation is worse off for not having Huntsman as an option.