In gearing up for his third-place finish in New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman’s campaign appropriated the slogan “Country First” that I first coined. None other than the New York Times has reported that this is the slogan that Huntsman is running on, and his turtle-necked crowds are cheering. In fact, if you - like Huntsman - read my 2009 best selling campaign memoir I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man’s (wildly inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), you’d know that I was the one who first wrote that campaign slogan - initially for John McCain. To wit, in my Foreward, on page xvi, I wrote:
Because for me, “Country First” (a phrase I, by the way, came
up with, but let others take credit for—in the body of the book, I
will explain) is not just a slogan. It is a philosophy, a value system,
a moral ethic I live by. That’s why I offer no regrets in leaking to
the press (after the election, of course) that Governor Palin greeted
me in a skimpy, provocative towel and that she wasn’t sure whether
Africa is a continent or a country. In my humble opinion, America
needed to know, so I put country ﬁrst.
Now, in theory, I like Jon Huntsman: He has a billionaire father and several attractive daughters. It doesn’t get any more American than that. But when his father refuses to pay Jon’s campaign bills and his daughters scorn the advances (I’m told) of certain campaign consultants, then I have to take pause, and withhold my judgement. Of course I’m flattered that Huntsman is a fan of my work. In fact, I remember signing my memoir for him when my book tour took me to Beijing (for a Mormon, I must say that he throws a hell of an embassy party). It’s great when third-place presidential candidates take my advice, but let’s just say that maybe if he’d paid me, he’d have gotten second.
Some of you have noticed I’ve been keeping a low profile during this primary campaign. (Perhaps because I’m doing stealth work for an unnamed candidate; perhaps because I’m out of the country.)