No, I am not talking about Bobby Jindal.
I am talking about Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who is a conservative that actually lives and works outside the conservative cocoon. From an interview in Politico, here is his take on the stimulus:
It’s easy to criticize the bill and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to take the money. It’s pretty simple.
I guess in hindsight we can all say that there were some fundamental flaws with it. It probably wasn’t large enough and, number two, there probably wasn’t enough stimulus effect. For example, a payroll tax exemption or maybe even a cut in the corporate tax…for small and medium-sized businesses for three years, for example.
We will take the money...I’m not sure it’s the stimulus money that will necessarily allow the economy to recover…It will help to fortify our budgets, frankly, to ensure that there isn’t as much backsliding in the areas of education and healthcare, for example. But economic recovery must be earned. And it will be earned by entrepreneurs and it will be earned by small businesses.
His take on free trade and the "Buy American" rhetoric coming from the Democrats:
That’s shades of Smoot-Hawley, 1931…When America closes its doors, so does everybody else. We are the primary engine of growth in the world and we are the only beacon of free trade left, and open markets.
His views on the current state of the GOP:
...we will be irrelevant as a party until we become the party of solutions and until we become the party of preeminence.
Huntsman has come out in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples and is very pro-environment.
Huntsman hits all the right notes for a vibrant 21-century conservatism: seeing government as a needed part of society but not the end all and be all, believing in entrpenuership and free trade and supporting the environment and the right for all Americans to live in freedom.
Listen to Jindal's speech this morning, what I heard was a conservatism of the past- where government was seen as an impediment. As David Brooks has said, people want the government to do something during these tense times, so the argument between liberals and conservatives has to be how government can help and how much of a role should it have.
Rush can have Jindal, my heart is with Huntsman.