So it’s been another peculiar week on the presidential campaign trail. Apparently Jon Huntsman’s name ID problems extend even to his own campaign, as it turned out several units of his campaign apparently don’t know how to spell his name. We’ll skip over the cliché barbs about how we can’t possibly expect a guy whose campaign can’t spell his name to stand up to Chinese creditors, because I don’t see how Huntsman can possibly survive Andrew Ferguson’s hilarious (but I’m being redundant here) takedown in The Weekly Standard a few weeks back, “The Rethinking Man’s Candidate.” (If you missed this piece, don’t.) It’s been clear for a while now that Huntsman is this cycle’s John Anderson (who really should have been a “Jon”), the “maverick” Republican the media likes best, unless he actually gets the nomination, whereupon he’ll be discovered to be just another GOP extremist (see: McCain, John, 2008).
Such confusion on the campaign trail is not new. Sen. Orrin Hatch recalls that when he was stumping through New Hampshire in his 2000 presidential campaign (does anyone even remember that Hatch ran?), well into his third decade as a senator, he was shocked at how many people he met who’d never heard of him, which is rather refreshing when you think about it, and just the right way to deflate the ego of preening politicians, of whom fewer have a higher “preenability quotient” than Hatch.
I mention New Hampshire because it was the scene of another great confusion, back in 1968, when Sen. Eugene McCarthy dealt Lyndon Johnson a political death blow with his strong second-place (42%) finish in the primary. But there is some reason to suspect that many Granite State residents were slightly confused about the Minnesota poet’s identity. Following a speech to the Manchester Kiwanis Club, for example, Gene McCarthy was presented the customary service club thank-you plaque with an inscription expressing “appreciation to Senator Joseph McCarthy.” (Emphasis added.) If only.
But the Award for the Most Embarrassing Confusion of the Week goes to Democracy 21, one of those goo-goo “reform” groups that has a permanent case of the vapors about money in politics. This week they’re after some pro-Romney “super-PAC” that received a $1 million contribution, so naturally the would-be regulators of free speech “reformers” have their knickers totally twisted, and are demanding investigations from the Federal Election Commission, the FBI, the Justice Department, the Justice League, the UN, the International Criminal Court, Starfleet Command, and SPECTRE.
Late yesterday afternoon Democracy 21 issued this terse, one-sentence press release: “NOTE TO THE MEDIA: The Democracy 21 press release sent out earlier today incorrectly identified presidential candidate Mitt Romney as George Romney.” Not even Andy Ferguson can top this for laughs.
Maybe the Democracy 21 folks were just suffering from a thorough “brainwashing” (if you know the reference), or subconsciously think the Mitt Romney candidacy is really a clever sequel to Weekend at Bernie’s, which is what a lot of Romney-skeptics pretty much believe to be the case.