Frum vs Erickson on Huntsman candidacy

I have to admit that Erick Erickson’s post in which he vows to not support Jon Huntsman’s candidacy — short of voting for him if he’s the Republican nominee — is surprising and somewhat bizarre. Erickson basically questions Huntsman’s loyalty to America and to President Obama because he started pivoting towards a presidential run while still serving as US Ambassador to China in the Obama administration.

Today former Bush administration official David Frum opens up both barrels in an attack on Erickson and Erickson’s post on Huntsman. Frum characterizes Erickson’s critique:

What matters is fighting the socialist Muslim Barack Obama with all weapons that come to hand! Any politician who can find any area of cooperation with a president of the other party – why such a figure is the worst of the worst.

Except that is a very dishonest reading of what Erickson is actually saying:

John Huntman’s disloyalty to the President of the United States, regardless of the President or to which party the President belongs, should not be rewarded by any patriot of this country.

The reason I will never, ever support Jon Huntman is simple: While serving as the United States Ambassador to China, our greatest strategic adversary, Jon Huntsman began plotting to run against the President of the United States. This calls into question his loyalty not just to the President of the United States, but also his loyalty to his country over his own naked ambition.

I’m as shocked as anyone that Erickson would publicly espouse this view about requisite loyalty of administration officials towards the President. I think it’s likely a cheap cover for the fact that Huntsman is too liberal for Erickson. But the argument he’s publicly making is pretty much the opposite of how Frum characterizes it. Erickson’s argument against Huntsman in this post is about loyalty *to country* as distinct from loyalty to party or, as Erickson sees Huntsman’s choices, loyalty to self.

Frum may be right that the overarching philosophy of Erickson and his brethren is loyalty to the Republican Party and conservative talking heads over non-partisan patriotism. But that really isn’t the case Erickson has made in the slightest. I’m open to the notion that Erickson himself is being dishonest about why he is opposing Huntsman, but this post does not provide Frum with grounding to criticize Erickson for not supporting Huntsman due to a lack of loyalty to conservative partisanship.

Originally posted at AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field

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