A New Potential GOP Candidate?

I've never heard of Jon Huntsman, but Newsweek spends four pages on the former Republican Governor of Utah who Obama made Ambassador to China. He's back in DC and apparently contemplating a run for the GOP nomination.

He's a moderate, who believes the GOP needs to attract younger voters by hitting on three issues: immigration, gay rights and the environment.

Like Mitt Romney, he's a Mormon, which ordinarily would prompt concerns about whether they would be competing for the same supporters and donors. Huntsman doesn't have to worry about that.

Huntsman wouldn’t have much trouble financing the first leg of a presidential campaign on his own: his father, whose company invented the “clamshell” container for McDonald’s to package its Big Macs, is a billionaire.


What's so special about him? According to Newsweek:

As governor of the reddest state in the Union, Huntsman championed unpopular gay-rights legislation, updated the state’s culturally entrenched liquor laws, publicly endorsed cap-and-trade—and still left office with approval ratings above 80 percent. His supporters within the GOP hope he can do the same thing at the national level.

Newsweek says he shares a few things with Obama:

[T]hey share an appreciation for wonky policy discussion, they demonstrate similar impatience with inflexible ideologues, and they have both, at times, been heralded as visionaries within their respective parties.

The puff piece was written by a young Mormon reporter named McKay Copins. He answers critics here. Two years ago he was still a journalism major at Brigham Young. And neither here nor there, but he doesn't have kind words for independent bloggers.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Since Pres. Obama tapped Huntsman (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:29:57 AM EST
    (from GOP) as Ambassador to China, perhaps Pres. Obama will step aside in a true show of PPUS!

    Obama is wonky? (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by observed on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:43:36 AM EST

    I know (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:58:10 AM EST
    That was a good one, wasn't it.

    The reality is that Democratic hopes that the Republicans will run an awful candidate like Huckabee or Sarah Palin against Obama are just pipe dreams.  Repubs will find someone who can win.  Running a likely loser like John McCain in 2008 was about pinning some of the economic debacle on Democrats.  Worked great too, since the Democrats didn't do anything to prevent getting stained!


    imaptience with inflexible ideologues (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:01:26 AM EST
    this is PRECISELY what Obama is -- he believes, inflexibly, that blind compromises, over and over again, apparently, without a whit of thought about the future consequences, is a good thing.  he is as much of an idealogue as anyone, but his ideology isn't grounded in ANYthing but capitulation as some kind of moral badge. again, that he just accepted the rebublican meme that low taxes for the rich are part of their philosophy, and didn't shame it for what it is, didn't do ANYthing, well, that tells you all you need to know about who is inflexible.

    yes - reposting from a couple of weeks ago (none / 0) (#8)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 03:58:36 PM EST
    Christopher Lydon of Radio Open Source recently interviewed Professor James Kloppenberg of Harvard, who says the key to understanding Obama is that the president is a philosophical pragmatist in the mold of William James

    online comments on the interview include this one

    President Obama was not elected as a pragmatist. . . . He was elected by voters who believed that he would take action to advance the moderately progressive policies he espoused during the campaign. But not only has the president failed to advance those policies, he has actually opposed and obstructed them. James Kloppenberg's thesis begs the question of the difference between true pragmatism and an inflexible attachment to the philosophical doctrines of pragmatism. If we grant Professor Kloppenberg's overarching point regarding President Obama, the explanation for the president's behavior in office is the president's unwavering espousal of a set of philosophical doctrines. As a practical matter, then, the president is not a pragmatist. He is an ideologue. One can understand [liberal & progressive] voters' dismay and impatience, especially after eight long years of Bush/Cheney. . . .

    i can't see it happening (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by pitachips on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:57:10 PM EST
    A GOP candidate who wants to make common cause with "they gays" at the same time that conservatives are boycotting the CPAC convention just because they happen to allow a group representing gay Republicans to attend?


    Power is the aphrodisiac (none / 0) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 12:55:49 AM EST
    If, and when, Huntsman displays it those malcontents will do their best impressions of moths to a flame. The hardest of the hard Right will publicly mouth-kiss their male aides to get a closer seating assignment to Huntsman.

    Just the way Power works.

    You would've thought, with all his education, Obama would have learned this eternal axiom.


    Quick correction: it's Jon, not (none / 0) (#3)
    by caseyOR on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:25:54 AM EST
    Howard, Huntsman. :)

    thanks I fixed it (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:38:33 AM EST
    much appreciated.

    Two years ago McKay Copins may (none / 0) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:23:26 AM EST
    have still been a journalism student at Brigham Young University, but the referenced article (Mormon Times, 15Oct08) indicates that he has been writing humor columns since he was 15.   His humorous talents do show up in the article, such as those  visionary attributes.  However, the premise of the article is based on irony, since President Obama supposedly sent the Republican governor off to China to eliminate a possible electoral threat.