The Huntsman Dilemma

After spending $800,000-plus on media over the last several months, Our Destiny PAC, the pro-Jon Huntsman political action committee, plans to spend an additional $650,000 on new television ads for the New Hampshire primary. If Huntsman were a viable contender, this might make sense. As it stands, it seems like a huge waste of cash for a candidate with little shot of catching on.

With that in mind, if I were Jon Huntsman, I would be furious with the current dynamics of the Republican primary. Compared to the likely nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Huntsman is a far more reliable conservative. In addition to serving as the conservative governor of one of the nation’s most conservative states, Utah, Huntsman has been consistently conservative on most major issues. His heterodoxies, on climate change and civil unions, are far less egregious than Romney’s, and he doesn’t have Romney’s history of casually switching positions for narrow political gain. To borrow a line from Spencer Ackerman, Huntsman is the Coke Zero to Romney’s Pepsi Max.

Huntsman’s problem, aside from serving as the administration’s ambassador to China, is that he doesn’t seem to hate Democrats in general and Barack Obama in particular. His rhetoric is of someone who disagrees with the president, but doesn’t doubt his commitment to improving the country. Unfortunately for Huntsman, this runs counter to nearly every bit of conservative rhetoric over the last three years. If the current GOP were a party which didn’t reward personal animus toward the president, then Huntsman would probably be in a much better position.

Comments

I agree. Frankly, the only reason he has money to spend is because of his father who chairs the PAC. Frankly, I'm surprised that Huntsman, Bachmann and Santorum are still in the race but the volitility of this year's campaign seems to make anything possible. However,neither Bachman nor Santorum will have enough money after New Hampshire and will probably drop out. Huntsman, and his family, are sufficiently wealthy to stay in after New Hampshire but I think he'll pull the plug because, unless he wins or comes in second, he has no chance in very conservative SC. Since the dynamics of this race are constantly changing it's hard to know how to handicap it. However, I think by super Tuesday it will be down to Newt and Mitt.

Huntsman is the republican Party's last chance to choose sanity over insanity. In a sane party Bachmann, Perry, Cain, et al would never be even considered for any political office. Barry Goldwater is turning over in his grave!

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