Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Jon Huntsman Campaign: Why?

The media is playing the entry of Jon Huntsman into the Republican presidential field as if it were Rick Perry, or Mitch Daniels, or Chris Christie - as if he has become the de facto candidate to beat.

And yet, no one can answer the question "why"?  Why should Jon Huntsman be nominated for President?  The current field at least has some wider successes under their belt - Romney as a businessman and a blue-state governor (with Pawlenty showing similar crossover appeal); Herman Cain as a businessman with symbolic importance as a black conservative, Michele Bachmann with her keen understanding of the ires and desires of the Tea Party movement (moreso than almost any politician on the scene), Rick Santorum as a multi-term blue-state Senator and ironclad conservative, and Ron Paul...well, at least Paul gives voice to the fierce libertarian streak that runs through many on the right.

So why Huntsman?  Back in February, Michale Scherer at Time tried to make a compelling case for his candidacy:

"Everybody is gaming out 2012 as if it will be 2010, and it's not," said one Republican laying the groundwork for a Huntsman bid, in an interview with CNN's campaign ace Peter Hamby today. What if in 2012 moderation rules? What if competence is a more important message than ideological difference? What if having worked with Obama is an asset? What if reasonableness trumps outrage? What if people don't just want to throw the bums out, because they tried that three times and it hasn't really worked?

We are in a new age, though no one knows yet just how long it will last or what it all means. Republicans and Democrats sat together during the State of the Union. Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell worked together on a major tax bill. Keith Olbermann is gone from MSNBC. Michele Bachmann has been cast into the outer rings of awkward third-party video responses. However fleeting, we are in an era of moderation.

That "era" lasted about 15 minutes, pal.  And it's your side who tossed "moderation" out the window a long time ago.  And guess what? Having worked with Obama is still not an asset!  And about Michele Bachmann being on the "outer rings", well...it seems as if she's more part of an inner circle, and may yet earn a key spot on the ticket.

That's a bad stab at "why", but even Huntsman's biggest supporters - the mainstream media - can't really do much better.  Jen Rubin writes on an awkward exchange:

From the mainstream media’s standpoint, he is the McCain 1980. He’s a “good Republican” — not too conservative, not too loyal to his party and infatuated (at least he was) with cap-and-trade. And unlike McCain, he’s running to the incumbent president’s left on foreign policy. So it’s not surprising he is lavished with praise. A political reporter asked me the other day, “Don’t you think Huntsman will eat Bachmann’s lunch?” Umm. No. But the total ignorance about the conservative movement is telling and will infuse the mainstream coverage of his race.

Probably, Huntsman's entry will help Michele Bachmann most, as the distraction will keep her out of the media's cross-hairs for a few weeks longer, allowing her to polish her message before they distort it.

But back to the "why" of the Huntsman presidential campaign.  Still not there yet, but I can tell you why not:

As the governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman said he was "comfortable" with the idea of an individual mandate for health insurance and signed a bill requiring his state to study the costs and benefits of one.And here's another reason why not, from Huntsman himself:

Cap-and-trade ideas aren’t working; it hasn’t worked, and our economy’s in a different place than five years ago. Much of this discussion happened before the bottom fell out of the economy, and until it comes back, this isn’t the moment.

And of course, the fact that he jumped on the Obama bandwagon, and offered his services as ambassador to help facilitate our capitulation to China is another reason why Huntsman is a non-starter with the Republican base.  And the middle, and maybe even the RHINO fringe...

So if you came looking for a response "why Huntsman?", well, sorry to disappoint, I've got nothing.  But since I don't want anyone to leave Right, Wing-Nut! disappointed, I'll offer your the aforementioned Michael Scherer's rationale for a Huntsman candidacy:

Pro-life, pro-gun, rides motocross, and his gray highlights are even slicker looking than Mitt Romney's.....

1 comment:

SecondComingOfBast said...

Here's what I think. Obama and his inner circle are scared to death of Mitt Romney. They aren't worried about the GOP base so much as they are the independents. If the dems lose them, they lose the election. To Obama's way of thinking, the GOP base would vote for any Republican nominee in order to defeat Obama. However, the moderates and independents might be more picky. They might vote for Romney, or Huntsman. So since Romney seems to be the odds on favorite to win the nomination, there needs to be another moderate capable of draining votes from Romney in the primaries. That might enable Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain to win the nomination. That would please the GOP base, but the independents might find a true conservative off-putting enough to go back to Obama.

In other words, Huntsman might be a stalking horse meant specifically to derail Romney so the GOP will nominate what the Obama people think is an "extremist" who will turn off the broad moderate spectrum of America, as they see it.