It’s not as though this was unexpected. The Washington Post and The Hill have similar pieces today about how Jon Huntsman’s candidacy is doomed, DOOMED! by proximity and (gasp!) praise from Barack Obama.
In the WaPo blog’s “The Obama Political Death Hug” (I know, right?) blogger Aaron Blake suggests that Huntsman is likely to face a backlash for…being good at his job.
With the president severely unpopular among members of the opposite party – as most presidents are – the Obama team is taking advantage of any and every chance to tie him to GOP presidential candidates and create liabilities for them in the Republican primary race.
Earlier this year, Obama praised U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, the GOP former Utah governor as an “outstanding advocate for this administration and this country.” (Huntsman is resigning his post next month to consider a run for president in 2012).
Yes, yes. As everybody knows the presidency is no place for an outstanding advocate for this country!
Left wing publication and blog The Hill goes one better in their piece “Huntsman’s Ties To Obama Weigh Heavily.” Did you know that Jon Huntsman is popular with gay-rights activists AND environmental groups?
If there’s going to be one consistent attack on Huntsman, it will be on the friends he’s made and the praise he’s earned.
For example, during his time as governor, Huntsman said that even though he favored defining marriage as between a man and woman, he supported civil unions. That sent some social conservatives through the roof, but won accolades from gay-rights groups in Utah.
When Huntsman stepped down as governor, Equality Utah put out a statement lamenting his exit: “Jon Huntsman was a pioneer in saying that you can be a conservative Republican and still stand up for basic rights for all Utahans.”
He also earned kudos from environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club for joining the Western Climate Initiative — a move that outraged some Republicans in the state’s Legislature and prompted a resolution condemning the impact it might have on small businesses.
Quick! Someone read to me from my scrapbook of Rick Santorum speech transcripts. This Huntsman guy is crazy!
All kidding aside, while I believe Huntsman will have to win over the far right (yes they do exist, and yes they will whine about these things), if the best the left has is that Jon Huntsman is TOO good at his job and is TOO sane when it comes to social conservative values which alienate the center, then I say “more please.” I know they think they are planting the seeds of Republican doubt with pieces like this. But since elections are won by the center and not the edges, this strategy just might help him gain those crucial percentage points from the middle that the GOP could not get in the last election.
But nice try though. Really.