Top Democrats in and outside the White House, speaking on background so they could be more candid, suggest that former US Ambassador to China and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman would be the GOP candidate President Obama would least like to face in 2012 — but they think he can’t win the nomination.
The very qualities that make Huntsman formidable in November 2012 — his centrism and bipartisanship — will work against him in Iowa and South Carolina, Democrats say.
White House senior adviser David Plouffe was years ago quoted saying the notion of a Huntsman candidacy made him “queasy.”
The blog piece goes on to mention that the White House does not believe Huntsman will get the GOP nomination. Since he has yet to announce his run and the public does not yet know him or his platform, I don’t blame them for feeling that way. But, as Byron York points out today, there is a palpable hunger in the GOP electorate for someone, anyone other than the candidates that they see before them. Huntsman can be that person.
If you don’t believe me, check out his commencement address at the University of South Carolina last weekend. It is non political, but shows that this man has the charisma to win over voters. And his positions on the environment and social issues can lead the Republican party away from the anti-science, socially restrictive stigmas that have pushed Independent voters away since the 1980s.
And, since it can not be repeated often enough, Obama has NOTHING he can say against Jon Huntsman. Tea Party? He was thousands of miles away. Obamacare debate? He wasn’t involved. Birther? He wasn’t here to weigh in on it. Obama has made it a point to refer to him as a “buddy” and a “friend.” He was obviously doing this to turn hardcore rightwingers against Huntsman. But if Huntsman can get through it can turn out to be a huge political gift.
But by all means, Republicans. Run Mitt Romney. Run Mitch Daniels. Run Tim Pawlenty. All three (and the rest of the current crop of GOP candidates) can be pilloried by the left, the media and the administration. They can’t do that with Huntsman. And they are trying to tell us this. Let’s see if the GOP electorate is listening.