At last! Jon Huntsman has announced that he will announce. And that’s good enough for us.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is joining the fast-growing pack of Republicans battling to take on President Barack Obama.
Huntsman, who was Obama’s ambassador to China until a month ago, will make his formal announcement next Tuesday — with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop, his campaign team said. Though he served in Washington for three Republican presidents, he faces a challenge in making himself known nationally and winning over GOP primary voters.
Now it hardly needs to be said that we here at OB&B are excited by this news. We have been tracking Jon Huntsman for several years as the possible antidote to a political right wing that has moved even further right since the election of President Barack Obama.
“I intend to announce my candidacy for the presidency of the United States of America a week from today,” he said during a discussion about China policy in New York with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
His campaign will begin in earnest at the northern New Jersey park where President Ronald Reagan began his 1980 White House run, according to advisers who noted that he had worked as a staff assistant in the Reagan White House. From the Statue of Liberty, Huntsman plans to travel to New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, and to Florida, a perennial battleground and host of the 2012 GOP nominating convention. He also plans stops in his home state of Utah and in the early caucus state of Nevada.
Though he’s a two-term governor from a conservative state, Huntsman’s moderate stances on some issues and service as Obama’s ambassador to China could hurt him with the Republican Party’s right-leaning base. He has honed a message of service to his country and has called for civil political discourse.
In a field lacking deep foreign policy credentials, Huntsman is pitching himself as a politician with international experience who would help the United States’ economy rebound. It’s an attempt to appeal to segments of the GOP that care both about foreign policy and domestic prosperity.
Civil political discourse???
That kind of attitude will not win him much support on the right wing blogs (so what?), but should play well on Main Street. As the other candidates behave like children in an attempt to design the perfect all-purpose insult to President Obama (remember how the right used to hate how the left did this?) Jon Huntsman can run on a positive platform of rational solutions to real world problems. Insults will not hire anybody. Snark will not cut spending. Let the blogs have their Bachmanns and her soundbyte producing ilk.
The right is teetering on a dangerous precipice. They have a field containing unelectable candidates who tarnish the brand (Paul, Bachmann, Santorum, Cain, Gingrich) and political also-rans that have limited charisma and no chance of inspiring Democrats and Independents to cross the divide and vote for a Republican (Romney, Pawlenty). Pick one from the former list and embarrass the party for the next 3 elections. Pick from the second list and lose by 10% again. The right has an opportunity to change that by supporting a candidate that will instantly become the most “serious” candidate in the GOP field the moment he formally announces.