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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Politics | 5 comments

Why Jon Huntsman Jumped

Upon hearing that Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was taking Obama’s offer to become Ambassador to China, I was saddened. Huntsman was a conservative that didn’t live in the GOP echo chamber and could see the change that needed to happen in the Republican Party if it is to be a viable force in the age of Obama. He was for civil unions for gays, and was pro-environment. He was considered the one candidate that the Obama team was afraid they would face come 2012. As Andrew Sullivan has noted, he was the “un-Cheney.”

Which of course, meant that the current base of the GOP was never going to go for him. I don’t know if I agree as much that Obama co-opted Huntsman as much as it was Huntsman realizing that now is not the time to consider running for higher office. A few weeks ago, Huntsman went to my home state of Michigan which seemed like an obvious attempt to test the waters for a presidential run. As David Frum notes, the reception was far from friendly. The Republican Party of Kent County, which contains the state’s second largest city, Grand Rapids, canceled an event with the Utah Governor because of his support for civil unions.

Grand Rapids and, indeed, much of Western Michigan, is considered a GOP stronghold. If Huntsman could not get a hearing in the town that was once represented by Gerald Ford, he wasn’t going to get far.

The thing is, the way the party is structured now, Huntsman would have to contort himself in order to be a viable candidate. Rudy Giuliani, who is considered a moderate Republican, had to drop his socially liberal views during the 2008 campaign. John McCain, a conservative more or less like Huntsman, had to also make himself more in the mold of the far right to be at least acceptable to them and then had to accept a less than stellar running mate because she was a social conservative.

I think the way the party is constructed now meant that Huntsman would have to have done the same thing. The Limbaugh wing of the party is a sinking ship but is still the king. My guess is that after the debacle in Michigan, Huntsman decided to say “nuts to that” and take the post in Beijing. Dealing with the Chinese is far easier than dealing with Sean Hannity.

Obama’s gain is the GOP’s loss….again.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • StockBoySF

    “The Republican Party of Kent County, which contains the state’s second largest city, Grand Rapids, canceled an event with the Utah Governor because of his support for civil unions.”

    I don’t understand such statements…. In this case everyone knew Huntsman’s views on civil unions so why was the event scheduled, and then canceled because of his views? It’s not like he was hiding something (i.e. tax evasion or an illegal employee) which suddenly surfaced. Did the people who originally invite him not have the authority or did someone protest his scheduled appearance? (I know… rhetorical question.)

    So I’m just perplexed when I see statements like this…. Everyone knew what they were getting when they signed on….

  • superdestroyer

    Huntaman is another politicians from the big government compassionate conservative that was shown to be a disaster during both Bush Administration. Huntsman is not competent enough to be in charge of anything. Like President Bush he is the son of someone who was more successful. Huntsman is not competent enough to realize that open borders and unlimited immigration make conservative politicies impossible to implement.

    If he is not going to be conservative on social issues, not going to be conservative on fiscal issues, and not going to be conservative security issues, then why is anyone calling him a conservative.

  • jwest

    Did Huntsman issue a statement that he is leaving the republican party? Are you assuming that by taking the job of Ambassador to China he is now a democrat?

    Where did you get the impression that the Republican Party is against civil unions? What republicans are opposed to them?

    Are you saying that Rush Limbaugh is opposed to civil unions?

    Where is this information coming from?

  • Jim_Satterfield

    Many of the supposed anti-gay marriage amendments also contained bans on civil unions and other rights for gays. Miss that, jwest?

  • jwest

    I don’t know of any amendment that would prohibit civil unions.

    As to “rights for gays”, what could that possibly be? If anyone proposed any extra rights specifically for gays, blacks, left-handers or any other group, I would oppose it.

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