This morning, at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, former Utah Governor and former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman announced his candidacy for President, and made it clear he wanted to mount a high level campaign without personal attacks, but just arguing that he can do a better job than his former boss, President Barack Obama. He plans to focus on New Hampshire and Florida as the way to gain an early lead in the race against Mitt Romney, his major rival.
Huntsman begins his campaign with many assets: good looks, good speaker, nice family, outstanding record and popularity in Utah when he was Governor of the state, knowledgeable in Mandarin Chinese, great experience in foreign policy in Asia in his role as Ambassador to China and Singapore as well as being a missionary in Taiwan, business background in his billionaire father’s chemical business, and image of being a moderate in a field of extremely conservative opponents except for Mitt Romney, a fellow Mormon.
Huntsman’s negatives are that in a right wing party he is a moderate by comparison; is also seen as very much a clone of Mitt Romney, but with less public exposure; he is, like Romney, a Mormon; and he worked for President Obama, and now wants to criticize him in a gentlemanly manner after having raved about his leadership, and the fact that he worked for Obama is seen by many as a reason to reject him.
It seems to the author with Huntsman recently repudiating the Obama Health Care reform, the Economic Stimulus of 2009, stating his opposition to abortion, and asserting he supports the privatization of Medicare proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan, all points that upset the author and led to his statement a few weeks ago denouncing Huntsman’s changes of heart, that he has lost credibility.
And yet, Huntsman could very well bend on these statements, as all politicians do, and is still saying he believes in climate change and global warming, and supports civil unions for gays.
In other words, Huntsman is not preferable to Barack Obama, but among all Republican candidates, he offers the best hope for someone who will be, if elected, acceptable within the mainstream, but with a critical eye on his evolving views.
It is said that Barack Obama is most concerned about Huntsman, and it is clear that Mitt Romney is also very concerned about Huntsman.
Face the facts: Huntsman has the backing of “Establishment” Republicans led by the Bush family, and by implication, Senator John McCain, and Romney is seen as unacceptable to them.
So Huntsman has some major advantages, including in addition, being almost a generation younger then Romney (13 years) and being “newer” as compared to Romney who ran and lost the nomination in 2008, and gained the enmity of both John McCain and Mike Huckabee, his major rivals.
So, the contest may well be Mormon Vs. Mormon, unless the evangelical Christians are able to stop both dead in their tracks, to the detriment of the Republican Party!