You're Jon Huntsman. You were a successful and conservative governor of a very conservative state. These are your heresies, according to the Washington Times: you endorsed creating a market for pollution to combat catastrophic climate change instead of sneering at those who consider it a problem; you support civil unions for gay couples -- not even gay marriage! -- ; and you weren't willing to bar the children of illegal immigrants from public education. You have the audacity to believe there's no contradiction between being a conservative and being an adult.
You also are a classic non-doctrinaire Republican realist, the type of person who, a generation ago, wasn't just in the mainstream of American foreign-policy statecraft, but was its default steward. In a coming Pacific Century, you were ambassador to China, in part because that was a massively important job to have, and in part because you think you ought to serve your country even when you'd like to unseat your president. You argue that America is overleveraged with respect to the Middle East, a position that gets more sensible the more anyone thinks about it, and you are unintimidated to say so. You have the audacity not to care about the elements of the Republican Party that ruined America's global standing during their moment of ascent.
And then you realize you will never, ever be more popular within your party than this guy:
Maybe you've come to terms with the fact that Mitt Romney, the Pepsi Max to your Coke Zero, will be the nominee. Sure, Romney is willing to say anything to get elected and you're more about calmly explaining why you can't responsibly demagogue China. ("You can get an applause line by saying that you’re going to go to war with China, that you’re going to slap a tariff, without remembering that you’ve got North Korea. You’ve got work on Iran sanctions. You’ve got Pakistan. You’ve got global economic rebalancing. You’ve got South China Sea.") Still, part of being an adult is recognizing the world is unfair.
But Herman fucking Cain? This buffoon? The base would rather have this guy than you? Why -- because it would rather believe a tax fantasy, and it rallies behind anyone accused of sexual harassment? This isn't just the rugged unfairness of life. This is humiliation.