January 16, 2012


Huntsman proves too reasonable for 2012 Republicans (Jonathan Kay, Jan 16, 2012, National Post)

[M]y mind is still wrapped around New Hampshire. There's something heartwarming and old-fashioned about the N.H. primaries. The state looks and feels a lot like America as it appears in beer commercials: Small towns, church towers, pick-up trucks. It's the east coast without the liberal elitism. It's the Midwest without the mega-churches.

These are the two intersecting qualities that made Jon Huntsman skip Iowa and go all-in on New Hampshire. It was his make-or-break state. And his disappointing third place finish in the Jan. 10 N.H. primaries was the real death knell of his campaign. This week's announcement that he was bowing out (and supporting Mitt Romney) was therefore a mere formality. His polling numbers in South Carolina were negligible. Romney's coronation now looks inevitable, in any event (and Huntsman would make a great Secretary of State).

During a trip to New Hampshire this month, I had the opportunity to watch Huntsman on the campaign trail. And I can report that the stuff you hear about him being wonky or flat is wrong: He's quick on his feet, poised and funny. But he's also reasonable and level-headed -- something of a liability, given the agitated state of American conservative politics. At a Jan. 8 Huntsman event I attended in Bedford, N.H., the very first question was about illegal immigrants. Rather than promising to build a mile-high fence, he got a huge laugh from his supporters by quickly answering that the problem already has been solved: "We've so screwed up our economy that nobody wants to come any more!"

After briefly touting his bona fides securing Utah's border during his time as governor, he added that America's bigger challenge is too attract more immigrants -- students, tourists, entrepreneurs -- through a reform of America's visa system. That's true. But it's not what most Republicans want to hear right now.

...another moderate Mormon governor, and one not only lives in NH but who'd already run a national campaign.  John Huntsman wasn't even the best John Huntsman in the race, Mitt was.
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Posted by at January 16, 2012 2:25 PM

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