Archive for May 17th, 2009

Moderate Republican Governor Flees To China

Interesting move, this:

Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. (R) will be introduced today as President Obama’s choice as ambassador to China, a source familiar with the decision said last night.

Huntsman, 48, was mentioned this spring as a potential Republican contender for the White House in 2012, and Obama’s former campaign manager recently suggested that he is a rising force in the GOP.


Huntsman was elected in November to a second term as Utah’s governor, drawing 70 percent of the vote. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004 and, for President George H.W. Bush, was ambassador to Singapore. He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.

Huntsman has been getting informal advice from national political consultants, helping to stoke rumors that he might be positioning himself for a run at Obama in 2012.

On the surface, this certainly appears to undermine any hopes Huntsman might have of running for president.  It certainly has not been well-received by the wingnut base.

But maybe Huntsman has a plan: An ambassadorship, especially an ambassadorship to such a pivotal country, will seriously boost Hunstman’s credibility on foreign policy, which is typically the Achilles’ heel of most governors not named Bill Richardson.

Beyond that, he may also be making the calculation that there will inevitably be a Republican backlash against the hard-right extremism which has destroyed the GOP’s image and made its candidates all but unelectable.  Huntsman will be well positioned as the Reasonable Bipartisan who can Reach Across The Aisle and Work With Democrats to Get Things Done. (Preferably in 2016 rather than 2016, since unless things are going really badly, he’s probably smart enough not to want to run against an incumbent Obama)

If the GOP can put the crazy base back in the box by 2016, this could be a genius move by Huntsman, and if the dead-enders are still running the party in 2016, well, he was never going to get past the primary anyway.

1 comment May 17th, 2009 at 11:44am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

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