At first blush, news of The Boston Globe endorsement of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the New Hampshire Republican primary looks like a straight-up diss to the native son. And it is.
But there's more to it than that – when you look at the way the Globe editorial writers crafted their endorsement, you see their disappointment as well. It's almost as if they wanted to endorse Romney, but he let them down. (Which of course is how lots of GOP conservatives feel about Romney as well, albeit for likely the opposite reasons.)
"Both have track records of success, and both, through their policies and demeanors, have shown the breadth of spirit to lead the nation. But while Romney proceeds cautiously, strategically, trying to appease enough constituencies to get himself the nomination, Huntsman has been bold," reads the endorsement in today's paper.
In evaluating Romney, whom the paper has spent more time and resources scrutinizing and writing than any other, the Globe writes, "Both his supporters and detractors suspect that behind the conservative scaffolding is a data-driven moderate who will make practical compromises. But the way Romney has run his campaign, it's impossible to tell."
The problem for Romney is that his supposed fervent commitment to certain positions over the years has flipped and flopped so many times, people on both sides doubt his sincerity. That includes the left-leaning Boston Globe editorial board and members of his own party.
So indeed that leaves the Boston paper with just one choice amongst the GOP candidates – Huntsman. The guy who boldly declared he believes in evolution and climate change. The guy who served as U.S. ambassador to China under Democratic President Barack Obama.
"He would be the best candidate to seize this moment in GOP history, and the best-prepared to be president," writes the Globe.
At the end of the day, despite the fact that The Boston Globe is widely read by many Granite State residents, endorsements do not mean much. And the Globe's endorsement in a GOP primary means even less – most Republicans would carry the honor with shame.
But the tone of the editorial is a reflection of how Romney is viewed even as it looks like he is well on his way to landing the GOP nomination.