He’s a responsible, well-spoken adult with a good record in office, a soothing style, bipartisan appeal and ample knowledge of the world beyond our shores. But Jon Huntsman, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, somehow imagines he can overcome those handicaps.
Ouch. But that’s just where we are at this stage of the primary season. The one intelligent republican candidate with new ideas, a consistent conservative record, no baggage and an appeal to moderates on the other side of the political divide must wait his turn for the spotlight as the republican herd knowingly rushes towards failed candidates du jour. And it’s getting embarrassing. In today’s Chicago Tribune Steve Chapman makes the case for Jon Huntsman.
In The American Conservative magazine, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote: “For the past two decades a ‘moderate’ Republican was one who generally didn’t side with his party on three issues: taxes, guns and abortion. Huntsman’s record on those isn’t just to the right of other moderates, it is to the right of most conservatives.”
His centrism is mostly a matter of temperament. His record in office stands up well by conservative standards. He pushed through big cuts in income and sales taxes. He cut state employees’ retirement benefits.
In the libertarian Cato Institute’s 2008 fiscal ranking of the nation’s governors, he came in fifth — tied with Rick Perry. He also can argue that he knows how to foster a sound economy. During his time as governor, by one measure, Utah ranked first in the country in job creation, while Romney’s Massachusetts ranked 47th.
Read the whole thing. It’s nice to see major newspapers (finally) coming to the conclusion that we made before Jon had even returned from China.