Jon Huntsman: We Need a “Grateful Dead Tour” to Save America

<a href="">svennevenn</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Jon Huntsman is known almost as much for his frequent popular culture references—Nirvana, Wayne’s World, Led Zeppelin—as he is for his policy prescriptions. On Sunday afternoon in Hampstead, clad in a brown leather bomber jacket and cowboy boots, Huntsman (who once played keyboards in a prog rock band called Wizard) outdid himself once again in the band name-dropping department.

At 1:35 p.m., Huntsman climbed atop a table in the BeanTowne coffee shop and greeted the throngs of supporters and reporters who’d flock to see him speak. Huntsman launched into his familiar American revival speech, but then veered into hippie territory, saying that what the US needs is a candidate “who’s going to lead a Grateful Dead tour of this country” to make it a better place for the next generation of Americans. Here’s his full quote:

The next generation deserves trust in government. We have no trust left. The next generation deserves a Congress with term limits. We need a candidate who’s going to lead a Grateful Dead tour of this country, who rallies the support of the American people in getting term limits and closing the revolving door of lobbyists.

But I need your help. It’s all about the next generations folks.

Here’s the audio:

Jon Huntsman”s “Grateful Dead” Revival Tour (mp3)

A Grateful Dead tour to restore America? The quip earned plenty of laughs from the crowd, not to mention a few quizzical, “Did he just say that?” looks. This latest nugget of culture comes as Huntsman ticks upward in polling here in New Hampshire. A new American Research Group poll released Saturday shows Huntsman in second place with 17 percent, trailing Mitt Romney who has a commanding lead with 40 percent. Huntsman also made a strong showing at Sunday morning’s NBC News/Facebook debate; the Daily Beast called it Huntsman’s finest debate appearance so far in the campaign. But the question is: Are pop culture references and strong debate performances enough to solidify Huntsman’s support in time for Tuesday’s primary?


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend