Andrew defends choosing to endorse Ron Paul for the nomination rather than Huntsman:
I guess the best explanation I can give of backing such an ideologue, rather than a more pragmatic figure like Huntsman, is that I believe the GOP needs re-making, especially on foreign policy. I want that debate opened wider still – and, as someone almost certainly in Obama’s camp this fall, this is my priority. I also want a good and open debate about the role of government, and, whatever else you think of him, Paul is a tonic in that respect. A vote for him this year is like a vote for Goldwater in 1964. It clarifies and revives. I take back not a tittle.
Since he doesn’t bring it up explicitly in his response, I’ll point out the obvious reason why Paul is preferable to Huntsman: Paul is firmly opposed to starting an unnecessary war with Iran, and Huntsman repeatedly mentions attacking Iran as his main example of when he would use force overseas. Washington conventional wisdom holds that Paul’s statements dismissing the threat from Iran are excessive, but when it comes to Iran policy Huntsman has been the candidate consistently making some of the most reckless statements this year. To ask a dissident conservative why Paul is preferable to Huntsman is to admit that you haven’t been paying attention to what Huntsman has said.
According to what bizarre definition of pragmatism is Huntsman the “pragmatic” one of the two? The reality is that Huntsman has adopted an absurdly hard-line position on an issue where the judgment and views of the President are extremely important, but he takes a much less absolutist line than Paul on a number of domestic policy issues where the executive has the least discretion and influence. Huntsman is perfectly content with trying to perpetuate unsustainable U.S. hegemony, his position on Iran is virtually indistinguishable from that of McCain, and he has no significant objections to the expansion of the warfare state. He simply wants to redirect its attention to other parts of the world. Apart from Afghanistan, close examination of Huntsman’s foreign policy would find no significant differences between his vision and the one put forward by Romney, and Romney’s vision is pretty bad.