June 26, 2011

IF HE ISN'T MORMON THEN HE'S LESS NOMINABLE, BECAUSE IT LEAVES HIM NO FAITH:

Buzzkill: The problem with Huntsman hype (Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, June 26, 2011, Politico)


For all his obvious gifts, and his potential appeal as a general election candidate, it seems to us Huntsman has two even more obvious problems. He’s got the wrong issues for a Republican nominating contest. And he’s got the wrong persona, especially for this angry moment in GOP politics.

Don’t get us wrong. We have nothing against political hype. Trying to understand Huntsman Fever — and not averse to catching a bout of it ourselves — the two of us this week traveled to South Carolina to watch him on the campaign trail and sit down with him for a wide-ranging interview.

The trip made clear the basic bet of his campaign: That by the power of his personality, and with a few lucky bounces early in the nomination battle, he can unilaterally repeal rules of GOP politics that have dominated for a generation. Our colleague Charles Mahtesian, laying out the case for Huntsman hype here, believes many of those rules might be obsolete in 2012. Our response: Fat chance, Charlie.

There’s a reason he barely has a pulse in the polls. He speaks so softly that even his aides sometimes have trouble hearing him at events. He is making civility a cornerstone of his campaign, at a time when Republican voters are ravenous for red-meat conservative policies, and an epochal showdown with Obama.

The GOP base, sensing weakness in Obama, wants a brawler, the sort of Republican who prospered in dozens of races in the 2010 mid-terms. This is the main reason so many activists are clamoring for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to get in the race. Huntsman, by contrast, is running as a diplomat.

Huntsman, of course, worked for Obama, as his ambassador to China — a resume line that huge swaths of Republicans consider all-but-disqualifying. Huntsman likewise will pay a price among some uncertain number of evangelical voters for his Mormon connections, yet some Mormons themselves are put off by his rare attendance and effort to distance himself from the church. When asked about religion, he replies that he is “a good Christian” who is “proud of my Mormon roots.”

GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, a disciplined and aggressive campaigner, could easily throw Huntsman on the defensive on the campaign trail, barring a radical change in Huntsman’s laidback and even diffident style.


He is Mitt Romney, who couldn't win the nomination either.


Posted by at June 26, 2011 10:34 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« HAMMERING QUEER PEGS INTO STRAIGHT HOLES: | Main | KIND OF LIKE PHILLY DEMOCRATS BELIEVE THE VOTE COUNT WILL FAVOR THEM: »