January 31, 2011

"Barack Obama braces for Jon Huntsman 2012 bid."

A big headline over at Politico that had me wondering: Who's Jon Huntsman?

He's: 1. the U.S. Ambassador to China, 2. the former Governor of Utah, 3. Republican, 4. wealthy, 5. good-looking, 6. Mormon, and 7. was co-chairman of McCain's campaign in '08.
“I couldn’t be happier with the ambassador’s service, and I’m sure he will be very successful in whatever endeavors he chooses in the future,” Obama said of Huntsman.... “And I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary.”
I love when the Prez gets sarcastic.
“It’s also good to see Jon Huntsman, our ambassador to China,” [White House Chief of Staff William Daley said...] “Or as we call him around the White House: the Manchurian Candidate. I want Jon to know that the president has no hard feelings. In fact, he just did an interview with the Tea Party Express saying how integral he has been to the success of the Obama administration.”
So... they sound worried, right?
[T]he appointment of Huntsman was, in the first place, unmistakably political. With senior Obama advisers openly fretting about the prospect of facing off against a telegenic, wealthy, center-right Republican, shipping him off to Beijing was hailed as a savvy play.
Helloooo, savvy plan!
No way, the assumption went, could he somehow return stateside and capture his party’s nomination after serving in the Obama administration.
Okay, let's look back at the news reports from 2009, when Huntsman was appointed ambassador:
For Mr. Obama, whose advisers already have their eyes set on his re-election in 2012, the selection of Mr. Huntsman is something of a political coup. He has emerged as one of the nation’s most visible Republican governors and was expected to at least consider seeking his party’s presidential nomination to run against Mr. Obama....
It was far from certain whether Mr. Huntsman would have actually sought the Republican presidential nomination – his centrist views could have created a challenge in early-voting states – but if he is confirmed by the Senate for the ambassadorship to China, he is part of the Obama team at a time when China is of critical importance. And he is out of the mix in the 2012 presidential race.

“When the president of the United States asks you to step up and serve in a capacity like this, that to me is the end of the conversation and the beginning of the obligation to rise to the challenge,” said Mr. Huntsman, who was joined by his wife Mary Kaye, and the couple’s seven children, one of whom was adopted from China....

“Governor Huntsman has respect for China’s proud traditions,” Mr. Obama said Saturday. “He understands what it will take to make America more competitive in the 21st century and will be an unstinting advocate for America’s interests and ideals.... I hope the good people of Utah will forgive me and understand how proud they should be of their governor for his willingness to serve... He always puts country ahead of himself. That’s what Jon has always done.”
So everyone knew what was going on. It was hailed as a savvy plan. What now? The savviest people are the one who can outfox somebody else's savvy plan.

51 comments:

Fen said...

So, our choice of Ambassador to the rising power of China (who's military already trains as if America is their next target) was based on a campaign strategy to keep Obama in power.

How cute. No wonder our enemies are so emboldened.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Huntsman/Crist 2012!!!!

Scott M said...

Yes, but even Tzun Tzu knew that even the bests plans never survive contact with an opponent's savvy.

Skyler said...

Huntsman who?

I think they are too clever by half. I've never heard of him. If they're so afraid of him, why are they bringing his name up?

Apparently they want him to get the nomination as part of his administration. That's because a lot of people like me will never ever vote for someone who was part of a Marxist administration. It would be a coup if he could be nominated because that would virtually assure B. Hussein's re-election.

And what kind of simpleton thinks that being invited to be part of your political enemy's organization creates an obligation to accept?

Fen said...

Anyone else laughing at Team Obama's assumption they'll have a job after the Dem convention?

sunsong said...

Huntsman was a terrific governor here. He is smart, innovative, effective and diplomatic. I would love to see him as president!

I have no idea if he plans to run in 12. I would be excited to see him him offer some help to the State GOP governors. When the financial crisis hit - we, in Utah, were sitting with a nice rainy day fund.

john said...

If he were serious about this, the first thing he has to do is change his name.

It's uncivil.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



By all means let’s have an Obama Administration official, a “moderate” GOP, who believes in Global Warming be the GOP candidate…How COULD the GOP lose?

AJ Lynch said...

I am surprised that Daley had the time to comment since his #1 Job over the next two years is to grab as much money as he can for Dems, Chicago & the Obama cronies.

AJ Lynch said...

Fen- are you saying you think the Dems may need to dump Obama from the 2012 ticket?

ricpic said...

It's gonna be Sarah and she's gonna wipe the floor with Hussein.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Oh, BTW, a certain George HW Bush was ambassador to China -- back in the tough old days. He brought his CIA and war hero days into the mix, but a governor ain't to shabby either.

Republicans have three wings of the party: the somewhat upper-crust wing, largely northeastern; the militant evangelical wing, largely southeastern; and the generally libertarian wing, mostly western.

What is significant about both Palin and Huntsman is that they represent the western wing of the party, as (to some extent) did Cheney.

Given that the only long-term sustainable political position in America is ...

a) Solid on defence and security
b) Fiscally conservative and small-government
c) Socially more or less libertarian

... Huntsman is not badly placed for a credible run at the White House.

The Blueblood wing is not particularly solid on anything but defence and security.

The Baptist wing is miserable on the social issues.

Western Republicans are generally more in line with the key things than either of the other two wings of their party or the Democrats.

THAT is why they're perceived as such threats.

Democrats have become the party of entitlement, victim-hood, racial identity, government workers, academics, and rapidly-aging feminists who resemble old cats with the fur falling out.

The evangelical Republicans have become a bunch of scolding nags who long for Big Government to impose their views instead of someone else's.

The Bluebloods continue to seek privilege for the elite. They define the political struggle as a debate over who those elite should be.

Just remember that at this point in '07 the race was clearly to be between Giuliani and the Hildebeest.

Western Republicans are more in line with the American ethos than any other group in modern politics. As such, they are incredibly dangerous to all the others, and the others know it.

Scott M said...

and rapidly-aging feminists who resemble old cats with the fur falling out.

Except, oddly enough, they have plenty on their legs.

Joe said...

Huntsman was a great governor. He may be a little too moderate for the GOP, but he doesn't have the baggage of Romney.

edutcher said...

McCain's campaign co-chair?

Another Mitt?

(Axelrod must be trying to make him look good)

Next...!!!!

PS The Zero's new COS calling anybody else the Manchurian Candidate.

That's chutzpah.

murgatroyd666 said...

"Don't worry," the boy scout said. "The smartest president in history just jumped out of the plane wearing my backpack."

peter hoh said...

I guess I'm too much a political junkie, but I've been impressed with Huntsman since before he was picked to serve as ambassador to China.

He will be a good presidential candidate.

There's been some discussion of his running for Senate first in order to raise his national profile.

Zach said...

I remember the speculation that Huntsman was appointed in order to take him out of the running in 2012. It always struck me as poor reasoning on Obama's part, if indeed it was his reasoning.

Looking at things in 2009:
1) If Obama does a good job, he's the odds-on favorite to win in 2012. Simple as that.
2) If Obama does a poor job, he's vulnerable. All viable candidates will try for the Republican nomination. Being an ambassador will prove slightly embarrassing to Huntsman, but isn't so closely aligned with the administration as to rule him out, either. Remember, Eisenhower worked very closely with both Roosevelt and Truman.

The best case scenario is about what happened. Huntsman is out of the loop for two years and loses some momentum getting the nomination.

It's not so much a smart plan as a dumb person's version of a smart plan. Huntsman was never more than a resignation letter away from being back in the mix.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Mr Huntsman name flotation should gear up the journolist folks to start introducing the Mormon card in play--

Seems to me the Iowa caucuses are a year away so things will heat up politically--a lot can happen in a year as events in Egypt have shown--as for me at this point? Dems vulnerable to lose the senate in 2012; Rs will retain the house--actually I would love to see Mr Obama relected so we can have the gridlock resulting from a republican congress and an weak president who can only veto and hope it doesnt get overriden. The less washington can do the better the prospects for our freedom.

Paddy O said...

He should have appointed Palin to be ambassador to Russia.

Paddy O said...

If Hillary starts making lots of trips to China, we'll know there's some conspiracizing going on.

junyo said...

This is a win/win for Huntsman. Even if he doesn't plan on running, the speculation helps him as the ambassador. The Chinese can't really afford to screw with him too much; they might see him again as the POTUS. And Obama can't hang the "obstructionist" tag on him, nor effectively criticize him without inflicting wounds upon himself, which means all they have is sarcasm and the hope that other Republicans tear him down.

Michael said...

If ever a supposed presidential candidate radiated the smell of a politician merely hoping to up his speakers' fees when he retires from his present job, by talking about running for president. Jon who, indeed.

Dark Eden said...

Yeah this seems like a scam to me. "Hey you know who we're really afraid of? This moderate Huntsman guys. You guys should TOTALLY not make him your candidate."

Never heard of this guy before. There's a groundswell going on here and we'll make our own decisions about candidates thank you very much.

peter hoh said...

Junyo's idea that this rumor gives Huntsman more cred in China makes sense.

I don't think Obama put Huntsman in the post to take him out of contention for 2012. If he was really concerned about Huntsman, he wouldn't have given him something the opportunity to pad his resume. Huntsman probably surmised that the 2012 primary climate was not going to be a good one for moderates such as himself. And Obama bought some friends in the Senate by appointing Huntsman to this post. It was a win/win for both these guys, and it remains so.

If Huntsman can flip the tables and win the nomination? I think that would be a good thing for the country and the GOP, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Dark Eden, want another dark horse candidate that you may not have heard of yet? Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

bgates said...

From wiki: He previously served as the 16th Governor of Utah from 2005 until his resignation on August 11, 2009

Quitter!

(Totally not the same as Sarah Palin. She resigned in July.)

Geoff Matthews said...

Some marks against Huntsman.

1) Spending went up (quite a bit) while he was governor. He didn't create the rainy-day fund, but did add to it, but Utah has had to make some cuts during the recession (is it a depression?).

2) He was open-borders (and pro amnesty). Probably still is. This will be an issue.

3) Mormon. If it was an issue for Mitt, it will be for him as well (full disclosure, I'm a practicing Mormon).

4) He's was raised wealthy. His father started Huntsman Chemical. I'm sure that he's smart and has held real jobs (outside of government), but someone is going to claim that he just doesn't understand 'real americans'.

5) He is a moderate. This will cut both ways.

Personally, I like Christie more, because he's shown the cajones to take on interest groups to cut spending, and communicate why it needs to be done. But I don't want to run someone with a short resume either. But if I had to chose between Huntsman and Christie, I'd take Christie, hands down.

edutcher said...

According to KSL, he's about to resign.

Insta says the UT Tea Partiers are not happy about this.

As I said, another Mitt.

Next,...!

Dark Eden said...

I figured out the thing that bothered me about this story. They aren't calling him a nazi racist and they aren't saying the world will end if he's elected. Considering even McCain was called a dangerous extremist the lack of crazed violent rhetoric stands out.

If the left isn't calling you a nazi racist, you aren't doing your job.

Mitch H. said...

I can't understand why anyone other than the Huntsman family thinks he has the slightest chance in hell of being a viable national candidate. Only political geeks and people from Utah have heard of him. The Utah Republican Party has historically had a real issue with smugness, insularity, hackishness, and other characteristic vices of the single-party state. Mike Lee was a huge deal in Utah *because* the electorate rose up and destroyed one of their unworthy corporatist party leaders.

Admittedly, I don't know much about Huntsman, because hey - he was the governor of a small, conformist one-party state with little interaction with the rest of the country. Same reason I don't have the foggiest idea who's the governor of Idaho.

Roger J. said...

Well Mitch--seems you are remarkably uninformed about anything -- lots of opinions but little knowledge--must be a librul

Blue@9 said...

Who?

junyo said...

@peter hoh:
Not an original thought, just regurgitating some analysis I heard somewhere.

@edutcher:
Insta says the UT Tea Partiers are not happy about this.
Ah, the kel suprise. Time for another performance of "The Perfect is the enemy of the good theater, starring Harry Reid and Chris Coons as "Fuckers who should be looking for a job but inexplicably aren't".

Oh the horrors that a Romney presidency would have inflicted on the country compared to Obam... wait a second. Oh yeah, he really couldn't have fucked up much worse without ripping off his mask and revealing himself to be an alien overlord from Omicron Persei 8 right after being sworn in (before you hippies get you're cut-n-paste outrage ginned up, it's called hyperbole). And idealogical purity purges are the path that has lead the Libertarian Party to such astounding electoral success, now being exported to the GOP. A fluke election does not a paradigm shift make.

I know, I know, quisling, the lesser of two evils is still evil, the horse I rode in on, yadaX3.

@Mitch H.:
Same reason the Jr senator from IL is POTUS. People knowing who you are/a long public paper trail is a political liability these days. Impressive resume (check), loads of money (check), and packaging (yet to be seen) is the deal now.

Scott M said...

Oh yeah, he really couldn't have fucked up much worse without ripping off his mask and revealing himself to be an alien overlord from Omicron Persei 8 right after being sworn in (before you hippies get you're cut-n-paste outrage ginned up, it's called hyperbole).

I doubt very seriously that Romney's wife is secretly named Ndnd. If that turns out to be the case, though, someone better come up with Bigfoot asap. If he exists, perhaps.

Phil 3:14 said...

Yeah, I read this Politico piece this am. The little I've heard re: Huntsman sounded interesting but

I have to say this had a please don't throw me in the Briar Patch feel to it. I mean, has he showed up on anyone's radar screen (other than his own) for '12?

edutcher said...

junyo said...

@edutcher:
Insta says the UT Tea Partiers are not happy about this.

Ah, the kel suprise. Time for another performance of "The Perfect is the enemy of the good theater, starring Harry Reid and Chris Coons as "Fuckers who should be looking for a job but inexplicably aren't".

Oh the horrors that a Romney presidency would have inflicted on the country compared to Obam... wait a second. Oh yeah, he really couldn't have fucked up much worse without ripping off his mask and revealing himself to be an alien overlord from Omicron Persei 8 right after being sworn in (before you hippies get you're cut-n-paste outrage ginned up, it's called hyperbole). And idealogical purity purges are the path that has lead the Libertarian Party to such astounding electoral success, now being exported to the GOP. A fluke election does not a paradigm shift make.

I know, I know, quisling, the lesser of two evils is still evil, the horse I rode in on, yadaX3.


The mating cry of the RINO. The last thing the country needs is another faux Republican who is mostly concerned with seeing how gracefully he can lose.

But, then, junyo sounds like someone who thinks a fighter would be sooo un-Presidential.

junyo said...

The mating cry of the RINO. The last thing the country needs is another faux Republican who is mostly concerned with seeing how gracefully he can lose.

Yes, because McCain's noble defeat worked out so well.

What I think is un-Presidential is not being pragmatic enough to win. Noble losers are still losers. Again, in the fruitless irrelevance of the Libertarian party lays the future of the GOP.

peter hoh said...

Junyo, it'd be a lot more fun to discuss this over a meal instead, but here goes.

It should be acknowledged that 2008 was going to be a rough year for whoever the GOP nominated, so I don't think we can be certain that Romney would have beaten Obama in the general election -- though historically, voters have preferred governors over senators.

It's puzzled me why McCain ended up with the nomination. He was nobody's favorite heading into primary season, but there he was, standing at the end, with only Huckabee nipping at his heels.

I think a Romney presidency would have probably worked out, but I'm not so certain it would be all that different than the Obama presidency. Romney would have continued the TARP program, would have bailed out GM, and would have escalated the war in Afghanistan, right?

Synova said...

"It's puzzled me why McCain ended up with the nomination. He was nobody's favorite heading into primary season, but there he was, standing at the end, with only Huckabee nipping at his heels."

Too many people voted for who they thought other people would be willing to vote for instead of who they wanted. Huckabee attracted people who believed in miraculous victory.

So... on one side the pragmatists voting for who they thought had the best chance of actually winning.

And on the other side those voting for who they really wanted (a socially conservative socialist).

Considering that brought Huckabee so far, what might have happened if people voted for, oh, Fred because he was the only grown-up in the race? Or even for Mitt instead of second-guessing who might not be willing to vote for a Mormon, or Giuliani?

It's not an insistence on purity or a disdain of purity, but the queer notion that mind reading other voters works.

Leo Ladenson said...

“And I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary.”

I hope I'm not being totally humorless, but that line struck me as one of the douchiest things Obama has said.

A rising political star in the opposition party accepts your offer of a monumentally important diplomatic posting--you know, Huntsman speaks Chinese; what languages does Obama speak, Austrian?--and yet when asked about his future you make a two-edged douchy joke out of it.

What the f. is up with that? Is this Obama guy an adult? This guy who's never held a real job, never demonstrated any real accomplishments, who--uhh, what?--he's president of the United States and leader of the free world? Is this the Twilight Zone? What the hell is happening here? Who's f'ing with my medicines?

Synova said...

"I love when the Prez gets sarcastic."

For some value of the word "love" which generally means, "nasty guilty pleasure at the opportunity to rip him about doing it again."

But there you go.

Synova said...

Just to clarify... I'm not saying that's what Althouse thinks, that's what I think.

I've never seen anything the least bit "cute" in this obsessive habit of his.

Tari said...

If Huntsman was other than a fiscally liberal, socially conservative Republican, this might be good news.

peter hoh said...

Tari, you want a Republican who isn't a social conservative? Try Gary Johnson.

Mark Daniels said...

In 1964, while still serving as ambassador to South Vietnam for Democrat Lyndon Johnson, Henry Cabot Lodge, won the New Hampshire Republican primary as a write-in candidate.

Of course, Lodge was, in his day, more widely known than Jon Huntsman is today. He had been a major force in Dwight Eisenhower's 1952 campaign for president, had been US Senator from neighboring Massachusetts (a job he lost to John Kennedy), and Richard Nixon's vice presidential running mate in 1960. He had added name recognition because he was Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., his father having also been Senator from Massachusetts.

Nonetheless, any calculation by the Obama team that making Huntsman our man in Beijing would keep him from challenging the President in 2012, was ill-founded.

In fact, Huntsman may be able to make his service in the Obama Administration work very well for him. To Republican audiences during the pre-convention campaign, he can say: "You know, I served in the Obama Administration. I saw things from the inside. I know we can do better," etc., etc. In the general campaign, if nominated, he could say to an electorate pining for civility, "You know, I served in the Obama Administration. I deeply respect and admire the President. But there are areas of policy in which I think that he's just plain wrong..."

Do I think that Huntsman will be nominated? No.

Fen said...

AJ: Fen- are you saying you think the Dems may need to dump Obama from the 2012 ticket?

Yes. I think he'll be challenged and lose.

Of course, my batting average re predictions is only slighter better than American Politico's, so...

Fen said...

/via Malkin

"Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the U.S. ambassador to China, sent a resignation letter to President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House said. Huntsman now is likely to explore a Republican presidential bid, according to supporters."

John Salmon said...

The better question is, what's in Hunstman's closet? The WH has to be building him up for a reason-for one thing, they know a Mormon isn't very electable.

9dades CP said...

blog english

abeer ahmed said...

For the latest news visit us on cnn.com
http://whois.domaintasks.com/cnn.com