Huntsman tweetLast week, Jon Huntsman began to call out Gov. Rick “Four Pinocchios” Perry and others in his party for being anti-science. He started with the tweet above, which went viral.

On ABC’s “This Week” with Jake Tapper on Sunday, Huntsman went even further, explaining that being anti-science would harm his party — and America’s future:

TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to tweet, quote: “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” Were you just being cheeky or do you think there’s a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?

HUNTSMAN:  I think there’s a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.

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The Republican Party has to remember that we’re drawing from traditions that go back as far as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. And we’ve got a lot of traditions to draw upon. But I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a party that was antithetical to science. I’m not sure that’s good for our future and it’s not a winning formula.

Whether it’s bad for the Republican party remains to be seen — that would require President Obama and his team (and other progressive politicians) to push back in the general election the way Huntsman has in the GOP race.

But there’s no question that having one of the two major political parties in the most powerful country in the world being anti-science is a disaster for the nation and the world. In the full online interview with ABC (video below), Huntsman starts to explain just how counterproductive and self-destructive it is for the party:

I think we ought to be straight-up and rational and stick with the facts. And when we have a body of science — you know, if you had 98 out of 100 oncologists, cancer doctors, who basically said the following course of treatment is going to be good for prostate, breast, or colon cancers, we would all salute and say, “Finally, we have a consensus among the scientific community.”

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We raise up our young people, we tell them to get a good education and tell them to move forward and solve the great challenges of today, find a cure for cancer, make the world a better place. We then get the results [and] are willing to jettison it and to shun it? I just think that’s the wrong direction.

I’m here to tell you that a lot of people in this country, a lot of people the Republican Party, I think, are willing to embrace science and willing to embrace the realities that have been present around whether to surround evolution or whether it’s climate change. And I’m here to tell you that for us to be successful as a party, we must be a party that respects science, not one that runs from science.

Will other leading Republicans stand up for science?

As an aside, it would be nice if Tapper, rather than quoting the statistics about how many GOP voters have unscientific views, would actually take the time to point out that Huntsman indeed has the scientific view, as expressed by our leading scientific bodies. Also, Tapper should have asked him what the heck Huntsman proposes to do about global warming, given his recent flip-flop against cap-and-trade.

Bashing Bachmann too

Last week, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said she could get gas prices below $2 a gallon. Experts said the only way that would happen is if we went back into a deep recession, which of course might well happen if the Tea Party extremist became president and enforced her slash-and-burn policies.

In his “This Week” appearance, Huntsman also mocked Bachmann for her voodoo economics:

I just don’t know what world that comment would come from, you know? We live in the real world. It’s grounded in reality. And gas prices just aren’t going to rebound like that.

But just as we are in a static world, that is completely unrealistic. And, again, it’s talking about things that, you know, may pander to a particular group or sound good at the time, but it just simply is not founded in reality.

Explaining that the Tea Party’s economics is not founded in reality wins Hunstman big points for honesty, but whether it is a winning political strategy in the hotly contested race remains to be seen.