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Suspending disbelief about Jon Huntsman's 'suspension'

Whatever else it produces, the 2012 race for the White House has elevated a euphemism in political discourse: "suspending"

Whatever else it produces, the 2012 race for the White House has elevated a euphemism in political discourse: "suspending." In pulling out of the Republican contest today, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. announced that he was "suspending" his campaign -- and then endorsed Mitt Romney.

Hmm. Merriam-Webster offers these definitions of "suspend":

1: to debar temporarily especially from a privilege, office, or function <suspend a student from school.
2: a : to cause to stop temporarily <suspend bus service> b : to set aside or make temporarily inoperative <suspend the rules>
3: to defer to a later time on specified conditions <suspend sentence>
4: to hold in an undetermined or undecided state awaiting further information <suspend judgment> <suspend disbelief>

So what "further information" would induce Huntsman to un-suspend his campaign -- and renege on his support for Romney? None, of course. "Suspending" your campaign -- as Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann also did -- is a face-saving way to say "I'm outta here" as well as a legal technicality that allows a former candidate to continue to raise and spend campaign funds.

Maybe it will catch on in non-political circles. Instead of "I quit," disaffected employees could say "I'm suspending my job."


How to predict a president

Hunted by the "super PACs'

Campaign trail monkey business

-- Michael McGough

Photo: Speaking in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Jon Huntsman Jr. announces he is suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press


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