southernbeau

Making sense of the non-sensical world of American politics

Huntsman is in, but without a snowball’s chance

Today, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman threw his hat in the muddled, ever-expanding Republican ring by officially declaring his candidacy for the presidency with the Statue of Liberty poignantly in the background.  I have to admit straight away that Huntsman is easily my favorite of the Republican contenders.  My admiration for Huntsman is based on my judgment that he is a thinker – and a reasonable one at that – and is far from an ideologue.  These are characteristics that are hardly shared by the rest of the field (except for maybe Ron Paul) – a field comprised of candidates who tend to be reflexively ideological, allergic to reason and prone to political opportunism.

There are several aspects of Jon Huntsman’s biography that I find interesting, not the least of which is the fact that he dropped out of high school to play in a rock band called Wizard.  Rock on!  My guess is that no other candidate in the field can make that claim.  I respect that out of his seven children two are adopted – one from China and one from India (although Michele Bachmann wears the crown in this category). 

I like that Huntsman lived in China, learned to speak Mandarin and, as a result, inherently understands our increasingly vital relationship with the Chinese.  I applaud Huntsman for accepting President Obama’s invitation to serve in his administration as Ambassador to China.  Unfortunately for Huntsman, while impressive on a resume, holding a job in the Obama Administration is highly unlikely to win him any votes in Republican primaries.

But let’s be completely honest and blunt here: Jon Huntsman has absolutely zero chance of winning the Republican nomination.  In addition to working in the Obama Administration, Huntsman has referred to the president in glowing terms, going so far as to refer to President Obama as a “remarkable leader.”  Strike one!  Furthermore, Huntsman has defied Republican orthodoxy and embraced reasonable analysis once again by proclaiming his belief that climate change is, in fact, a real phenomenon.  Strike two!  And just to drive the final nail in his own coffin, Huntsman has voiced his support in the past for civil unions granting equal rights to gay and lesbian couples, though without invoking the word marriage.  Strike three!  The fatal trifecta in any Republican primary election. 

Huntsman does possess a traditional Republican record on taxes and abortion and has come out in support of the Paul Ryan budget.  As governor of Utah, he cut taxes and was stridently pro-life.  But this will not be enough to undo the irreparable damage caused by his more moderate, reasonable positions.  At today’s announcement on the banks of the Hudson River, Huntsman said, “But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president, not who’s the better American.”  It is extremely refreshing to have a candidate in the Republican field who actually respects the president and intends to run a civil, issues-based campaign instead of questioning the president’s American credentials at every turn.

While he will not win the Republican nomination, Huntsman will provide an element of independence, civility and, yes, reason that is sorely lacking amongst the current Republican candidates for president.  I wish him well in his ill-fated, yet honorable decision to challenge the Republican dogma of divisiveness and unbridled anti-Obamaism.  Good luck, Mr. Huntsman – considering your final judge and jury will be the Republican primary electorate – you’re gonna need it!  But you can always count me as a fan….now if I could only vote in the Republican primary.

June 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Presidential Election, Jon Huntsman, Politics, Republican Party | , , , | 2 Comments