Ronald Reagan's chief domestic policy adviser took Texas governor Rick Perry to the woodshed Friday for recent controversial statements -- in particular about his suggestion that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing treason by printing money to boost economic growth.
"Rick Perry's an idiot, and I don't think anyone would disagree with that," Bruce Bartlett said on CNN's American Morning.
Of course, Bartlett did write a book in 2006 with the title Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, so I don't suppose he's been all that welcome in Republican circles for awhile now.
But then, Jon Huntsman, who's still a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has actually come out in support of both evolution and the scientific consensus on global warming, and neither position will do him much good with the GOP base.
Here's how Huntsman explained it:
[Jake] Tapper asked, "Were you just being cheeky or do you think there's a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?" Huntsman's response: "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."
Huntsman went on to describe what he sees as the long term political downside to questioning science:
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....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.
He also noted that he wouldn't trust his Republican opponents on the economy:
Well, I wouldn't necessarily trust any of my opponents right now, who were on a recent debate stage with me, when every single one of them would have allowed this country to default. You can imagine, even given the uncertainty of the marketplace the last several days and even the last couple of weeks, if we had defaulted the first time in the history of the greatest country that ever was, being 25 percent of the world's GDP and having the largest financial services sector in this world by a long shot, if we had defaulted, Jake, this marketplace would be in absolute turmoil. And people who are already losing enough as it is on their 401(k)s and retirement programs and home valuations, it would have been catastrophic.
(Incidentally, TPM has a long list of prominent Republicans who claimed that default wouldn't be a big deal. Considering how the stock market has been crashing lately, most of them are trying to walk back from those claims now, I suspect.)
But here, too, I wonder. Huntsman isn't exactly a frontrunner in the campaign. I mean, he got a total of 69 votes in the Iowa straw poll the other day (Michele Bachmann got almost 5,000). Heck, Rick Perry got more than ten times that as a write-in candidate!
So I'm not counting on a sudden outbreak of sanity in the GOP. And although I'd love to see an outbreak of courage and common sense among independent voters, I'm really not seeing that, either. If there's a backlash coming, it's not real evident.