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Think He Can Do It?

June 22, 2011

 

by J. Andrew Zalucky

So Jon Huntsman officially began his campaign yesterday. Even with some of the technical problems humorously discussed here, his campaign should be off to a good start. While many journalists like to deride him as a “media darling”, I think this actually plays to his advantage. After all, what this really means is that the media is taking him seriously.

In terms of his place in the GOP, he’s a bit of an anomaly. He holds a variety of views that make him a strong sell to Centre-Right oriented independents, the business community, and perhaps the more “libertarian” strain of the tea party. Among movement conservatives? Hard to tell. Among evangelicals? Even more uncertain. And what of the more Centre-Left independents out there, or what the recent Pew Political Typology Quiz refers to as the “Post-Moderns”? (While I happen to fall into this category, something about being called “Post-Modern” makes me cringe) Perhaps his support for Civil Unions, environmental legislation, and immigration reform will help put this group in play. And he’s been very wise to frame his Mormonism in a cultural light, rather than engage in some chest-pounding “profession of faith”.

Some conservatives have dubbed Huntsman as “to the left of Mitt Romney”. While this is certainly true, I’m temped to ask conservatives: “so what?” Don’t you want to retake Ohio? Don’t you want to start winning in Pennsylvania again? Don’t you ever want New-Englanders to vote Republican again?! Of course this will make things difficult for him in the Iowa caucuses (not to mention South Carolina), but if he can snag New Hampshire and Florida, he could easily ride his dirt bike to victory. And of course he worked for the President as ambassador to China. Complain as they might about this, conservatives would do well to promote a candidate with legitimate foreign policy experience and who understands the issues at play in Sino-American relations.

Incidentally, as governor of Utah he attended a Dream Theater concert and was so impressed that he officially declared July 30th as “Dream Theater Day”.  So what we have here is a fiscally conservative, socially moderate, prog-metal fan who speaks Mandarin and is an Eagle Scout…hm. While he may not have my full endorsement yet, he has caught my attention.

To my conservative friends and readers out there- what do you think of this guy?

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