Huntsman Slams Perry on Climate and Evolution: We Are “On the Wrong Side of Science and Therefore in a Losing Position.”

Last week, Jon Huntsman began to call out Governor Rick “4 Pinocchios” Perry and others in his party for being anti-science.  He started with the tweet above that went viral.

On ABC’s This Week, Huntsman went even further, explaining that being anti-science would harm his party — and America’s future:

TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote:  “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.  Call me crazy.” Were you just being cheeky or do you think there’s a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?

HUNTSMAN:  I think there’s a serious problem.  The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem.  We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.  When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science – Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.

The Republican Party has to remember that we’re drawing from traditions that go back as far as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush.  And we’ve got a lot of traditions to draw upon.  But I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a – a party that – that was antithetical to science. I’m not sure that’s good for our future and it’s not a winning formula.

Whether it’s bad for the Republican party remains to be seen — that would require President Obama and his team (and other progressive politicians) to push back in the general election the way Huntsman has in the GOP race.

But there’s no question that having one of the two major political parties in the most powerful country in the world being anti-science is a disaster for the nation and the world (see WashPost stunner: “The GOP’s climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion”).  I’ll be expanding on that position in the coming weeks, but what is interesting is that in the full online interview with ABC (video below), Huntsman himself starts to explain just how counterproductive and self-destructive it is for the party:

I think we ought to be straight up and rational and stick with the facts.   And when we have a body of science, listen when — you know, if you had 98 out of 100 oncologists, cancer doctors, who basically said the following course of treatment is  going to be good for prostate, breast or colon cancers, we would all salute and say finally we have a consensus among the scientific community.

We raise up our young people we tell them to get a good education and tell them to move forward and solve the great challenges of today, find a cure for cancer, make the world a better place. We then get the results are willing to jettison it and to shun it?   I just think that’s the wrong direction.

I’m here to tell you that a lot of people in this country, a lot of people the Republican Party I think are willing to embrace science and willing to embrace the realities that have been present around whether to surround evolution or whether its climate change.   And I’m here to tell you that for us to be successful as a party, we must be a party that respects science, not one that runs from science.

Will other leading Republicans stand up for science?

Here’s the full interview (the science part quoted above start around 5:30):

As an aside, it would be nice if Tapper, rather than quoting the statistics about how many GOP voters have unscientific views, would actually take the time to point out that Huntsman indeed has the scientific view, as expressed by our leading scientific bodies.

Also, Tapper should have asked him what the heck Huntsman proposes to do about global warming, given his recent flip-flop against cap-and-trade.  More on that soon.


Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:

There is absolutely no chance that Huntsman will be the Republican nominee. He presumably has decided that he’d rather be sane than president. So let’s be glad there’s at least one non-insane person speaking as a Republican, and go on to concern ourselves with which lunatic will be the nominee. (Romney may not actually be a lunatic, but he’s quite willing to pretend to be one if that’s what it takes.)

40 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 12:57pm

James Fenimore Cooper · Georgetown University

Ron Paul can be sane, too. Remember his utter ridicule of the US attack on Iraq during previous candidate debates? Too bad Paul goes off the deep end elsewhere. Some of his ideas are sound.

3 · Like · Reply · Monday at 3:01am

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

Huntsman loses a great deal of credibility to me when he calls Obama ‘far to the left’.
If anything Obama has caved to the right more then any President since Herbert Hoover.

If Huntsman feels that after the last 35 years when the upper 5% have over 20% of the inceome and wealth in this country as far to the left- then he is clueless.

7 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 1:55pm

Bill Goldman

I’d much rather have politicians listen to their panels of scientists and argue amongst themselves about the economic merits of various solutions than ignore the scientists, take them out of context, or accept the minority position as gospel.

7 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 2:09pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

Perry and 99% of republicans and 20% of Democrats rely on one science- lining their pockets.

6 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 11:46am

Sarah Morris

I disagree. They’re all pigs feeding from the same trough. If Democrats actually did what was good for their constituency, California wouldn’t be getting sucked into a debt vortex from whence we shall never return.

3 · Like · Reply · Sunday at 4:52pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut


you are right- I grew tired of Democrats being the lesser evil- joined the Green Party.

1 · Like · Reply · Sunday at 6:54pm

Gary Herstein · Top Commenter

The debt vortex in CA is a result of Prop. 13, which was driven by the GOP and conservative citizens who treated arithmetic and basic economics as liberal conspiracies.

10 · Like · Reply · Sunday at 9:31pm

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Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

I wonder what he actually thinks of the issue apart from what scientist are telling us.

You can form an opinion from the data and observations of the weather and climate readily available.

Also, is it just about wining the elections of doing something about climate change.

The only way nations can tackle GW is if everyone addresses it… not just the party currently in power.

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 12:09pm

Robin Luethe

My suspicion is that Huntsman may be positioning himself for 2016. Not necessarily a dumb thing to do.

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 4:17pm

Jody Bruhn Lemke · Seattle Pacific University

I agree, Robin. Nice to see some sanity still exists on the GOP side.

Like · Reply · Sunday at 6:24pm

Miles Lunn · Simon Fraser

Huntsman seems like one of the more moderate candidates. In fact I heard many in the Democrats are worried about facing him as he would have a very good chance at winning. However, I am not sure the Republican party would support him as I believe he is a mormon like Romney which the Evangelicals don’t like and he also isn’t right wing enough.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 12:30pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

When Huntsman calls Obama a ‘leftist’ he is no moderate.

Like · Reply · Sunday at 6:56pm

Miles Lunn · Simon Fraser

I would still argue if one looks at his policies and looks at where the average American voter is, he is pretty moderate. Sure he may not be as left wing as site and most its posters, but most who post on this site and the people who run it are well to the left of the median American voter. Heck most posters on this site and its administrators are to the left of your average Canadian and European voter who are generally more left wing than your average American voter. Let me ask you, was George Bush an extremist or McCain? If you say they are then you are saying almost half of the population in the United States are extremists. And BTW I didn’t want either to win.

Like · Reply · Sunday at 9:30pm

Charles Goodwin · Co-Founder at Web Enable IT Ltd

He has to call Obama a leftist. He alienates the majority of the republican vote if he is seen to believe Obama as anything other than an extreme liberal.

Like · Reply · Monday at 9:37am

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Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

Red States have been having wretched extreme weather, and still aren’t through hurricane season or end of harvest. It’s hard to miss that the climate is changing. Wonder what Huntsman knows about the mood of his constituency.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 3:26pm

Clay Kneip

I love Jon Huntsman.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 4:05pm

catman306 (signed in using Yahoo)

ence? Am

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 2:20pm

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

I would just like to urge you all to view the video found via pages below on the debate between elders Canadian environmental icon David Suszuki and Thay Nhat Hanh a well renown peace activist and Zen master (He was nominated by Martin Luther King for the Nobel peace prize).

I have come through various stages in realization of what GW now means and our collective reaction in addressing it. Realization that this is a serios problem; frustration of the denial and inaction of so many; realization that it is not just a problem, but a catastrophe; what that means for my kids;.

Frustration, anger and despair. This conversation between David and Thay Nhat has brought me some peace and strength in dealing with the situation….
…See More

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 12:08am

Leif Erik Knutsen · Top Commenter · Friends with Joseph Romm

What if: Obama, in a final gesture of conciliation to the GOP, but more importantly to the American people and the people of the world, the VP position. I love Joe Biden, but for the salvation of humanity and all,… There will be plenty of work to go around and Joe, if anyone, I am sure would understand. The United States have wasted decades conniving to see who gets into the drivers seat as the fork in the road fast approaches, both feet still on the gas. (One of which is a dead end.) Science must be the operating word here.


Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 2:49pm

Leif Erik Knutsen · Top Commenter · Friends with Joseph Romm

I did not listen to the video,.. however. On the other hand, it could put the squeeze on the Tea Party and with the Military thinking GREEN an all, hell, you might even get the Capitalistic/Corporate system to step up to the plate.


Like · Reply · Sunday at 3:11pm

George Ennis · Top Commenter · University of Toronto

While it is good to see at least one GOP Presidential candidate speak out forcefully on this issue, that has to be balanced that mR. Huntsman is considered an extremist.

I suspect that his goal is to position himself for the 2016 presidential election if and its a big IF the GOP does not win in 2012.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 12:55pm

Mike Roddy · Top Commenter · Yucca Valley, California

We don’t know yet that ignoring scientific evidence places a politician on the losing side.
Obama could easily lose to either Perry or Bachmann.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 2:17pm

Kyle Murray · Cincinnati, Ohio

also huntsman, but he doesn’t stand a chance.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 3:11pm

catman306 (signed in using Yahoo)

publican that believes in Sci.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 2:19pm

Tabitha Neuwirth

Too bad he wont get the nomination.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 3:03pm

Kelley Seiler · Letter Carrier at United States Postal Service

Your Crazy!

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 9:58pm

David Paul Hluchy · Hagerstown, Maryland

The Republican party is largely anti science. I don’t believe Christianity needs to be anti science but most Conservative Christians are.

1 · Like · Reply · Sunday at 10:11pm

Kevin McKay · Foley Artist at Dark Alley Media Inc.

Anti-science… sounds like anti-intelligence to me!

2 · Like · Reply · Sunday at 11:10pm

Kevin McKay · Foley Artist at Dark Alley Media Inc.

@ Kelley … You’re crazy! It’s a contraction of you are, so you need the apostrophe and an “e”. See if you weren’t so “anti-intelligence” you’d know that…. LMAO !!

Like · Reply · Sunday at 11:13pm

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catman306 (signed in using Yahoo)


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catman306 (signed in using Yahoo)

A Rep

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 2:18pm

Paul Merrifield · Top Commenter · Gardener at Retired Gardeners Inc.

Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading stock markets run by corporations and politicians to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 25 years of climate CONTROL instead of the obviously needed POPULATION control. This wasn’t about a climate change; it was about controlling a changing climate with taxes and sacrifice and we former believers promise you that history will call this a dark age for environmentalism. Maybe they will call it EnvironMENTALism? Climate Blame was not environmentalism. It was a 25 year old ” worst case scenario” theory turned death warrant to billions of children by selfish leftists and thoughtless media, exploiting scientists, pandering politicians and shameless media. Studying effects instead of causes of something that never happened was DISO science and Obama never even mentioned the “crisis” his state of the union address. That means the new denier is anyone who still thinks the former believer majority you see before you now will ever vote YES for taxing the air to make the weather colder. There is a special place in history for whoever was one of these goose-stepping climate change fear mongers who condemned billions to a CO2 climate he! for 25 years of needless panic. So when we see these thousands of climate change scientists marching and acting like it’ the emergency they said it was, then I’ll believe in climate blame.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 9:45am

Paul Merrifield · Top Commenter · Gardener at Retired Gardeners Inc.

The new climate change denier is anyone who doesn’t know that the voting majority is now made up of former believer democrats, not republicans. Climate Blame was our Iraq War of climate WMD lies and “catastrophic” fear mongering as we condemned billions to a CO2 death knowing full well it was all an acceptable and comfortable EXAGGERATION. Now who’s the evil, lying and fear mongering neocon leading us to another false war?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 5:36pm

Doug Percival

Huntsman’s acceptance of the overwhelming scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic global warming is all well and good, but unfortunately I think the most significant line in Joe’s article is at the very end: “his recent flip-flop against cap-and-trade”. Huntsman is not the first prominent Republican politician to “accept” the science, and he won’t be the last to nevertheless oppose any actual action to reduce emissions.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 4:28pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

I agree

By accepting the fact that GHG are increasing- does he (Huntsman) understand the urgency we are facing? And what are his solutions if any?

Like · Reply · Sunday at 6:59pm

Joan Taves · Yachats, Oregon

Refreshing that he’d rather be sane than be president, but I agree with Prof. Laws that a lunatic (or in Romney’s case, one who is at least willing to pretend to be) will be the nominee.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 11:51am

Rob Vinciguerra · CEO at Wepolls

I meet people every day who doubt evolution, and I think that’s because the GOP uses it as a political tool.

POLL: Are Republicans on the wrong side of evolution?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 4:09pm

Grant Gilmore · San Diego, California

Wow look at that, someone in the Republican Party is sane enough to realize his party is headed on a downward slope.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 4:37pm

Adam Terry

I think the 98 out of 100 oncologist bit was straight out of The Daily Show with John Stewart.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 4:12pm

Gary Herstein · Top Commenter

“Call me crazy.”

No. But clearly no one will call you a Republican…

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 9:30pm

Nathan Zechar · Sinclair Community College

Wow. I would actually vote for this guy over Romney.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 9:20pm

Kris Flitton · Server at Starlite Diner

Like · Reply · Monday at 4:31pm

James Fenimore Cooper · Georgetown University

Why did he add the phrase “Call me Crazy.”?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 2:58am

Kyle Murray · Cincinnati, Ohio

as far as I see, the only republicans who will protect the environment will be romney (maybe), and in a different way ron paul (though his strict protection of property rights, you cant pollute your neighbors property/air).

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Sunday at 3:10pm

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