Erin McPike has a superb piece in RealClearPolitics about (possible) candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. It is truly an article that you need to read in its entirety as a few quotes do not do it justice.
This example – and there would be many others – is why President Obama appointed Huntsman, a Republican, as ambassador to the strategically important nation of China. And it is why many Democrats, including some inside the Obama re-election effort, say privately that Jon Huntsman is one GOP nominee they would rather not face in November 2012.
Diplomacy, vision and long-term planning tend to be the hallmarks of Huntsman’s leadership style, according to a handful of Utah activists interviewed by RCP for this story. And it underscores why Obama effectively deported him to China.
The 50-year-old Huntsman has a sparkling résumé, and his record as a former governor of Utah is rife with credentials that would make other fiscally conservative governors with national ambitions salivate. In fact, his four-and-a-half years in charge of the Beehive State were seen by some as so successful that, along with two Democratic governors, Tim Kaine’s Virginia and Christine Gregoire’s Washington state, – the Pew Center on the States listed Huntsman’s Utah as one of the nation’s three best-managed states in its 2008 Government Performance Project report.
The piece goes on to list Huntsman’s strengths in the It’s basically a wish list for what voters actually want out of their elected officials.
When he ran for governor in 2004, Huntsman laid out a detailed 10-point “Plan for Economic Revitalization.” In it, he called for restructuring the state’s tax system, recruiting businesses to the state, creating a more attractive image for international tourists and making the state government more efficient.
He listed such goals as: “Leverage my international experience with relationships to benefit Utah” and “Secure more federal grant money for Utah companies and projects.”
And when Huntsman sought re-election in 2008, he circulated a 16-page progress report on the same 10-point plan from four years earlier to prove that he had accomplished what he set out to do in his first term.
He oversaw a reduction in the sales tax on food and revamped the tax structure to create a flatter tax; the overall savings to taxpayers was $400 million. The document also lists increases in rates of tourism from 2004 through 2007, or roughly the first three years of his tenure as governor, and it cites specific benchmarks of job growth and capital investment.
What’s more, supporters of Huntsman’s have a five-page document that denotes scores of lists Utah has made for its better business climate.
So, strong foreign policy experience (as ambassador to what may be the most important global economy on Earth over the next few decades), tax reform, and a creator of a very successful business climate. He sounds like a candidate that conservative Republicans should embrace.
But in contrast to many of the prospective GOP field in 2012, Huntsman has some unexpected (for the GOP, at least) supporters in environmental circles.
De Freitas, the environmental activist, said that as a voter, she’s still paying close attention to how Obama does over the next two years, but she heaped praise on Huntsman.
“I felt as though he really demonstrated commitment to the state,” she said, adding that he was “very productive” and “forward thinking.”
She said it came as no surprise that someone with such a diplomatic touch would be named to an ambassadorship, but that as for the environmental community in Utah, “We were very sad to see him go.”
If any of this sounds familiar, we here at OB&B laid out a similar case back in January. As we go into 2012 with what appears to be a very weak field of either extreme right or wholly unelectable candidates on the right, it is refreshing to see a possible candidate that represents conservative values while supporting sane middle/left positions on important issues that happen to resonate with Independents and Reagan Democrats. We could not be happier that word is getting out about Jon Huntsman.