I find this to be thoughtful and well written. I certainly hope Huntsman does, indeed, Hunt. I haven’t given up on a defining, break-through moment. For this country’s sake, I truly hope that it does. If anyone could unite this divided country right now, intelligent, diplomatic Jon Huntsman could.
“That dog won’t hunt.” We have all heard that expression regarding an approach, an idea, a scheme, a product or a candidate. I’ve heard more than one political insider suggest that phrase applies to former Utah governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman. On paper he’s an impressive candidate:…
I will tell you that I believe on some issues we have gone too far to the right. I believe that we’ve got to be more commonsense oriented, we’ve got to be focused on solutions, we’ve got to be a party of solutions and big ideas.
— Jon Huntsman
Huntsman does a disservice to conservatism by branding himself as a moderate. He’s not a moderate. He believes in low taxes, free markets, balanced budgets, the importance of the family, and the wisdom of an active—but measured—American foreign policy. His career is a testament to the vitality of these ideas. He shouldn’t run from them.
Perry and Bachmann’s conservatism is defined by what it opposes: science, liberalism, and gays. Others insist that their conservatism is reflexively anti-government, but each supports the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposal that would annul the marriages of gay couples—ripping apart new families, many of which count young children as members.
To be sure, Huntsman is no Republican In Name Only; his positions on abortion and gun control still hew quite closely to the Republican line. But he sees himself within a broader GOP tradition. “[Republicans] forget sometimes what Lincoln taught us about individual dignity and equal rights, what Roosevelt taught us about the environment and big stick diplomacy, about American power abroad and how we project it,” he says, folding his hands beneath his chin and staring out his window. “We have Nixon who created the EPA, for heaven’s sake. People forget that.”
In challenging Republican heterodoxies at a time when most in the party seemed to be circling the wagons, Huntsman quickly became a political sensation. He made The Washington Post’s list of the ten most influential Republicans this month (after being absent from a similar list only four months earlier), with the Post’s Chris Cillizza crowning him “the most popular politician in the country at the moment.”