• Jon Huntsman May Not Be Able to Actually Speak Chinese All That Perfectly

    So, this really does seem to be the week for Republican scandals, doesn't it? We had Rick Perry's weirdo speechifying in New Hampshire, Herman Cain's sexual harassment allegations re-emerging from the past, Rick Santorum being seen at a Rick Santorum event, and now this bombshell for Jon Huntsman.

    Last week, when former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman was on the Colbert Report, he told Stephen Colbert that he did indeed speak Mandarin Chinese and then proceded to say some Chinesey kinda sounding stuff that seemed pretty convincing.

    But how well does he really speak Mandarin Chinese? I mean, really really?

    When asked on the Colbert Report to speak Chinese, Huntsman spoke one sentence and then "translated" his words as "I just said you ought to consider being my running mate for vice president." The studio audience roared in approval. Yet in reality, Huntsman’s mangled Chinese would translate as: "I really want you to do my vice-America president."

    In this brief and simple sentence, Huntsman managed to (incorrectly) insert the word America in the middle of the Chinese word for vice president (fu-zong-tong); made a less-than-ideal choice of verbs; and combined my and American vice president in a way that implies (in Chinese) that Huntsman possesses his own personal vice president of the United States.

    I am awestruck. Truly truly awestruck. To think that America actually came this close to putting a man who only speaks a sort of imperfect pidgin Chinese into the Oval Office. Can you imagine the scandal when that shortcoming was eventually pointed out?

    Seriously, what would we have done if the King of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan-stan came visiting and wanted to have a chat in the international diplomatic language of Mandarin? Our nation would be a laughing stock. A laughing stock, I tell you!

    Tags: China, Jon Huntsman, Primaries, Republicans, The Colbert Report


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