In the absence of any more compelling Republican candidates, I am finding myself warming up to Jon Huntsman.
Because he seems to be a rational Republican.
Huntsman’s accomplishments are impressive by any standard.
If only he could get through the Republican primary, Huntsman seems to have a unique resume fine-tuned to the challenges of the twenty-first century. He speaks fluent Mandarin for one, and was an ambassador to China. He also seems to have an intelligent view of climate change in a field of candidates likely dominated by climate change deniers.
He worked for President Reagan as a White House staff assistant. He then went on to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative.
He has an impressive track record as Governor of Utah. For one, he presided over the largest tax cut in Utah’s history. Utah voters also re-elected him in 2008 with 78% of the vote.
He also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania after earning a G.E.D.
In my view, his resume is more impressive than President Obama’s.
Huntsman single biggest liability is that he worked for President Obama. While this fact will likely hurt his chances in the Republican primary, it could be neutral or moderately positive during the election.
A second liability is that Huntsman is not exactly an everyman. Like Mitt Romney, he is the wealthy scion of a billionnaire-cum-politician.
Huntsman’s last liability is the religious bigotry for his Mormonism that he will likely face from the evangelical strain of Republicans.
Running Primary Gauntlet Huntsman’s Chief Challenge
If only Huntsman can get through the primary, he may have a better shot at the Presidency than many of his Republican competitors.
It seems the Republican Party may have a viable option after all.