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16th May
written by Sean Noble

Jon Huntsman

Proving once again that he has real political skill, Obama has selected Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, which was announced Saturday at the White House.

This is a brilliant move by Obama, co-opting a potential (albeit long shot) challenger and putting probably one of the most qualified people in the nation in that position.

Of course this move affects me personally because it ruins a “plugged-in” I submitted to the Arizona Republic for publication on Sunday.  Here is what I wrote:

There is buzz about Utah Governor Jon Huntsman being a candidate for the GOP nomination for President in 2012.  The person most unhappy about this development is former Gov. Mitt Romney, who has made it abundantly clear that he is planning a re-run for the GOP nomination. Or maybe Romney is not unhappy, but welcomes this development, because Huntsman is “more” LDS (he’s actually from Utah, and has always been pro-life) and will divert fire away from Romney.  To wit, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says he fears Huntsman more than any other Republican. I’m not sure I buy that, but it shows that it’s going to be a long 3 ½ years.

I guess Plouffe really was nervous about Huntsman, and so they got him out of the way.

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  1. Tony

    Plouffe wasn’t singing Huntsman’s praises as a warning to his Democrat brethren. Don’t you think it’s too early to warn the D’s about a possible 2012 opposition candidate? Rather, Plouffe gave him the props b/c he had already agreed to the Ambassadorship.

    Many Conservatives began embracing Huntsman because they felt he could still sell as a true conservative because of his cut taxes/cut govt philosophy even though he is fairly progressive. That’s a dream candidate for the Republicans. Someone that can hold on to the far right yet is still progressive in supporting civil unions, healthcare (including supporting prescriptions from Canada for US citizens), opposed no child left behind, and is strong on energy and housing.

    But I think it was just that, a dream. If he went in 2012 his progressive stances would have made him DOA in Iowa and New Hampshire and his real entrée into energy issues, a billionaire father who was a special assistant to Richard Nixon and founded a big oil company in Huntsman Petro Chemical, would have hurt him with moderates even if he made it through a primary.

    I think the real statement made by Huntsman accepting this position is that he is admitting he really may have some conservative principles and is also a progressive. So much a progressive that he does not want to be part of the Conservative sub-party of the GOP that enjoys listening to Dick Cheney dispense wisdom each week like some kind of retired Winston Churchill. A comparison that only 20-25% of Americans can appreciate and that most Americans, at this time anyway, find implausible.

    If Huntsman did not feel this way about the current state and direction of his party, surely he could have followed the example of Senator Judd Gregg and declined the invitation to serve the President

    I appreciate the opportunity to post on your blog Sean. I follow it on Facebook and enjoy your insights and commentary.

  2. StopHuntsman

    Governor Huntsman is a younger version of John McCain. Huntsman has a moderate record when it comes to economic development, health-care reform, education and energy security. He has also welcomed regional cap-and-trade to fight climate change in Utah. He also supported the monstrous federal stimulus package. He has a mixed record when it comes to important social issues. In conclusion he is a big squishy, there are even arguments to be made that he is worse than John McCain.

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