Why Is Jon Huntsman Running for President?

Jon Huntsman seems like a solid, reasonable guy with outstanding leadership credentials and a great head on his shoulders.  He speaks like an adult.  He has accomplished great things in both corporate life and public service, building an impressive resume that anyone would envy.

So why in all hell is he running for the GOP nomination for President?

Don’t misunderstand me.  I firmly believe that the American public, especially right now, is absolutely dying for the chance to elect a full-grown Republican to the White House.  A reasonable candidate who has held a real job, occasionally reads a book, and questions the voices in his head, would go down like a cool drink of water on an August day.  But if you think you’re that guy, you have to be prepared to fight like a wet raccoon for the GOP nomination.

Do not imagine that you’re going to stroll into the Republican nominating race, saying things like, “no one wants to be around a bunch of cranks” and cruise to victory.  Uncle Barry warned us all many years ago that those cranks were taking over the Party infrastructure.  He was right and they did.

Guess what?  As a rational candidate you’re only going to get to the voters by outfighting and outmaneuvering those very powerful cranks.

McCain’s 2000 run was a blueprint of what a GOP candidate who’s committed to sanity will face from the insiders that run this joint.  Any reasonable candidate who wants to run and win as a reasonable candidate will have to fight harder, better, and longer than he did, and be prepared to do it more than once.  Your chances of winning the first time around are nearly zero.  You’re gonna have to be prepared to stitch up your wounds, pay off your debts, and come back smarter and meaner a second time.

That candidate will have to be one tough, ugly, SOB.  Huntsman not only isn’t that guy, he seems oblivious to what he’s walked into.  Perhaps the best he can hope for is to go unnoticed.  If the constantly rotating “front-runner” status in this race ever turns in his direction, the people who took McCain down in South Carolina in 2000 will absolutely ruin this guy.  He may need to reserve some time in a nice, quiet institution instead of entertaining hypotheticals about a VP slot.

Dear Governor, Doctor, Ambassador, Secretary, Rocker (that’s right), Eagle Scout, CEO Huntsman:  If you’re serious about this, you better start landing punches soon, and don’t stop swinging even when your arms go numb and your eyes swell shut.  Find a safe place to hide your children immediately.  Especially any brown ones.

Please understand that in our Party right now rational is radical.  You are on the lonely fringe.  If you launched this campaign hoping for a stint at the Naval Observatory, by all means flee right now.  Don’t pause to pack a bag or send a tweet, just go.  Run fast and hard and don’t look back no matter what you hear coming behind you.  And don’t ever tell anyone you did this.

Most importantly, quit teasing us.  Those of us who long for a return to solid Republican leadership are getting cranky.

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About Chris Ladd

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.
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7 Responses to Why Is Jon Huntsman Running for President?

  1. dedc79 says:

    I just don’t see his path to the presidency, no matter how skilled a campaign he runs. The people who come out to vote in the primaries aren’t looking for someone like Huntsman. I think he’d do better in a democratic primary right now than in a republican one (and someone who tends to vote for democrats, I mean that as a compliment).

    • goplifer says:

      The GOP primary voting base, especially outside the Deep South, is nowhere near as radical as the party core. A candidate, like McCain in 2000, who took them on deliberately and unapologetically might actually have a better shot now than back then. It could work, but it takes a special kind of personality to pull that off. Huntsman is way too laid back to have a prayer.

      Chris Christie?

  2. james kelly says:

    I don’t always agree with Mr. Huntsman on international trade issues, but we don’t share the same insights. However he seems to be an experienced and intelligent person with great common sense. His wading into presidential politics would make me question that common sense. That being said, he is a kind of Republican that was more typical in the pre-Gingrich era, and the reason I joined the party so many years ago.

  3. Moe says:

    I think it’s possible that Huntsman is simply in the race to add a rational voice to a party and a country he loves anbd knows full well he hasn’t a chance. Even though he’s largely unknown to the public, he was fracking invisible before. After this race, he’ll be qualified to be part of the dialogue in the party and the media..

    If that’s his reason, then good for him. (Plus of course he couldt look very sweet in ’16 or ’20. )

  4. Scott Erb says:

    I’m not writing Huntsman off yet. It’s early — and the opposition is weak. Another interesting thing is that he’s good for Romney. The more Huntsman seems to be getting the radicals mad, the more Romney can position himself as the reasonable candidate who can keep the party reasonably united. I believe Obama should and will win re-election, but I would give Huntsman a good look. I’m a left-leaning independent, but I often vote Republican (including Senators Snowe and Collins in my state).

  5. Pingback: Looking at the ’16 race, from four years ago | GOPLifer

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