Newsweek's Michael Tomasky counts himself as one of many "impressed liberal[s]" who are heartened by Jon Huntsman's attacks on Rick Perry.
Writing yesterday on the Daily Beast website, Tomasky suggested the former Utah governor was "a narrow thread of hope about the future" of the GOP dominated by both leaders and rank-and-file primary voters who are far from "reasonable."
As such, Huntsman's tactic of violating Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment was harmful in the short term but a perfect plan for a long-term resurgence, Tomasky insisted (emphasis mine):
The Huntsman strategy here is obvious: position himself as the moderate and reasonable guy on the off chance Republicans decide to be moderate and reasonable. We must assume he is aware that his odds on this are rather long, so what he’s really hoping for is to be the consensus candidate of 2016. Maybe the party just has to go through this purge, this Reign of Terror; so just let it do that, and once it does and nominates an extremist who can’t beat a weak incumbent during a time of 9 percent unemployment rates, and the heads are piled high enough in the tumbrels and enough people finally have returned to their senses, he will ride the Thermidorian wave to victory after Obama leaves town.
Tomasky went on to complain that Huntsman is hardly a moderate, being an advocate of a flat income tax but that, "Even so, his remarks about science, Perry, and the debt ceiling all suggest a man who doesn’t think compromise is, to use Perry’s word, treason," the Newsweek contributor noted approvingly.
All the same, Tomasky issued a smug prediction that foresees at least 12 more years of Democratic dominance of the White House:
The more likely long-term scenario is that Huntsman will have negligible impact on his party. Unless the GOP does something truly self-immolating next year, like nominating a Bachmann who goes on to win 120 electoral votes, the current trajectory will likely continue for the foreseeable future. I think the Republicans, a stubborn bunch, will have to endure eight years of Obama and then eight years of some other Democrat (Hillary?) before they finally acknowledge certain realities, and even that seems iffy. So that’s 2024 at the earliest. Huntsman will be 64 then. But Sarah Palin will be just 60.