The Wall Street Journal editorial page, the insidiously dishonest opinion organ of the respectable wing of the conservative movement, loved Jon Huntsman's tax plan. That's proof that Jon Huntsman's tax plan is awful and destructive, but it also means that it's properly conservative, despite Huntsman's affection for Captain Beefheart and avowed belief in established evolutionary science. Mitt Romney released his (very long) tax and spending plan this week. It's basically a $6.6 trillion tax cut for corporations and rich people. It "immediately" caps spending at 20 percent of GDP, which is nonsense. The Journal editorial page doesn't just hate this plan, it loathes it.
According to the editors, "the 160 pages and 59 proposals also strike us as surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic predicament. They're a technocrat's guide more than a reform manifesto." This for a plan that does nothing but cut taxes. Romney's proposals are barely different from the Huntsman plan the WSJ drooled over, except that Romney's plan is much more specific. The Journal attacks Romney for being vague on plans to "reform" Social Security and Medicare, but Huntsman plan doesn't mention them at all.
Both of these men are proposing doing exactly what the Wall Street Journal wants done, but the thing is, they hate Romney. They just dislike the guy. I bet they don't even like Huntsman all that much, and they only praised him to irk Romney. They've been begging for someone to come along and beat the guy.
This has always been Romney's nightmare -- that the establishment that doesn't actually like him all that much would find someone else electable-enough to coalesce around -- and Rick Perry might be the "nut" that Journal-readers can actually support, in a way that Bachmann never could be. Or Perry could totally burn out and leave the Journal desperately trying to make Huntsman look like a contender. We'll see.