In an interview this morning with ABC News’ Jake Tapper, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman repeatedly ripped his fellow GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Perry’s “extreme” views on global warming, monetary policy and secession:
TAPPER: [C]omments 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. . . .
TAPPER: A former Bush political guru, Karl Rove, called [Perry’s claim that monetary stimulus amounts to treason] “un-presidential.” What do you think?
HUNTSMAN: Well, I don’t know if that’s pre-secession Texas or post-secession Texas. But in any event, I’m not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate, that sounds like someone who is serious on the issues. . . . I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party you make yourself unelectable.
It will be up to the voters to decide how electable Rick Perry is, but Huntsman is absolutely correct that Perry is an extremist even within a deeply radicalized Republican Party. Perry believes that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. He didn’t just flirt with secession, he signed an unconstitutional law claiming that Texas has the power to nullify federal laws it doesn’t like. Perry opposes letting voters elect their own senators. He thinks federal environmental laws are unconstitutional “nonsense.” And he wants to eliminate all federal involvement in education, a position that would cause millions of college students to lose their Pell Grants and student loans.
Needless to say, Texas has suffered dearly because of Perry’s poor governance. One quarter of Texas children live in poverty. It has one of the highest high school dropout rates in the country, and one of the highest teen birth rates. Texas has the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the nation and the worst health insurance rate in the country.
Nor is there any truth to incessant right-wing claims that Texas is a Mecca for new jobs. Texas’ unemployment rate ranks 24th in the country — slightly worse than New York’s — and the state’s unemployment rate would be much worse if it wasn’t for the fact that, as a major oil producer, Texas’ economy benefits enormously from an era of sky-high gas prices. “The Dallas Fed has found that, every time oil prices rise 10 percent, Texas gets a 0.5 percent GDP bump.”
So Huntsman is absolutely right to call out Perry’s record, which has been an almost unbroken streak of extremist statements, failed policies and economic misery.