We have reached that point in the electoral cycle when the Presidential election looms in the distance, but as yet no one has to openly declare their candidacy. Which means this is the delightful dead time, a political interlude, when all sorts of idiots, self publicists and fringe operators simply looking to give their pet hobby horses an outing, trot round the nation’s political ring.
Into this melee of insanity steps forward Jon Huntsman. Huntsman, we are told in, dozens of newspapers, hundreds of magazines, and thousands of blogsites is not a household name.
Whatever, he is certainly garnering the plaudits. The Economist, no less, even saying he would be “an outstanding candidate”.
He would certainly fit that niche of the-best-looking-man-from-the-west candidate presently being sought by Thune (known to his pals as “Buff”). More stylish than Thune, better bred than Huckabee, and more likable and less divisive than Palin, he seems like a sure cert.
He has political expertise. He was elected Governor of Utah twice in 2004 and 2008.
But. And there are buts galore. Huntsman is a moderate, sensible man interested in a bipartisan approach to the problems afflicting the nation, but he would be fighting in a time when those ideas of moderation and consensus will be being shouted down by the mob seeking redress for unemployment and the collapsed economy, and drowned out by hysteria and fools.
For a Republican candidate his serving as an Ambassador under Obama will also need some working to overcome.
He also suffers from his religion. Huntsman is a Mormon from Utah. Another Republican Mormon from Utah when you might think that Romney already had that pitch sewn up. How ready, we might wonder, would the American public and the Presbyterian right be for seeing two Mormons both standing as the good-looking-candidate-from-the-west in the field together?
His ancestry is solidly 7th generational blue blooded Utahn. His stance is clearly “posh candidate” which might be turned as yet another Rodney Richpig character. Through his mother, he has decent from Norton Tuttle the first Bishop of Tootle, Utah, and Horton Haight a “Mormon Trek” veteran. Grandfather David Bruce Haight was an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter day Saints, and Mayor of Palo Alto. His father Jon Huntsman senior is a billionaire through his founding a vast chemical firm.
His education is hardly worn subtly. Almost every commentary pushes the fact that as Ambassador to China he took the trouble to learn Mandarin fluently. Now speaking foreign languages (where that foreign language isn’t Spanish) has never been an asset to Presidential candidates. Remember the fun that Karl Rove had at Kerry’s expense for his speaking good French?
Should he run? Of course, but not looking for President. He should be looking to hitch his wagon to a more obvious star to gain the face recognition and love of the people and hope for the VP slot. Then if the Republicans win, he is set up as the obvious candidate in 2020 and if they lose, he is front runner in 2016.
Copyright David Macadam 2011