Linda Loftin

Man, this dog won’t hunt!

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2011 at 7:16 pm

We don’t know a lot about Jon Huntsman yet, but what we do know leads me to believe he would never get the Republican nomination to face off against Barack Obama. He is a moderate in a sea of right-wing sharks in an era when Republican moderates are out of fashion. He has the hair of a winner, the vast family fortune, and the requisite number of children that a Republican seems to need (seven in his case) but Huntsman does not describe himself as a conservative. Instead he refers to himself as a “pragmatic problem solver.” Now, right there, you know he doesn’t stand a chance when all the other candidates are falling all over themselves to try to convey the idea that they are far more conservative than their peers.
Jon Huntsman also has the taint of Obama on him because he served as ambassador to China for the past two years and we know that no good Republican, who seeks national attention, can be seen anywhere in the vicinity of a Democrat these days. However, Huntsman certainly was liked by Utah voters, who reelected him governor in 2009 with 78 percent of the vote. It seems that in Utah, moderation is not dead. We don’t hear much from him on the issue of religion in a time when some candidates wear their holiness on their sleeves, even though he was a missionary to Taiwan as a young Mormon. I’m not personally keen on missionaries as I feel that we need to leave people in other cultures have their beliefs without interference from us, but not bragging about his missionary time does have some merit.
Another admirable trait that Huntsman, thus far demonstrates, is his reticence to make ugly personal criticisms about President Obama. He has even referred to Mr. Obama as a “remarkable leader.” That is almost universally unprecedented among Republicans. He indicates that there are some policies that the President embraces, that Huntsman would not, such as our Libyan involvement, but he does not resort to the vilest sort of nasty name calling that we have nearly become used to these days. When he ran for governor the first time in 2004, he refused to denigrate his Democratic opponent and stated “that’s not the way I operate.” When a woman recently told him to “eviscerate” the President, Huntsman told her that was a “losing strategy for the next Republican.”Could he be ushering in a new civility in politics?
The kiss of death for this candidate’s chances though, are threefold: he actually believes in scientific findings such as climate change, he believes that the offspring of illegal immigrants should be shown some mercy, and he thinks we should allow gay couples to join together legally (although, it appears that this would be through civil unions and not traditional marriage).
As a progressive, I might get a little nervous if Jon Huntsman got the Republican nomination to run as the 2012 presidential candidate. I could easily laugh off the candidacy of any of the rest of the current field; those pandering to the far wing of the religious right. But Jon Huntsman appears to be his own man (like Ron Paul, only moderate) and that means that he would get a large slice of the moderate to progressive vote. I don’t really think I need to worry though; the Republicans sincerely seem to want to lose the 2012 election, so it’s most likely that a far right candidate will get the nomination.

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  1. Great introduction to Huntsman. Right now we seem to only know the positive things about him. Will be interesting to see how he begins to fare in the primaries and what he is willing to say to get votes.

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