Election 2012: Huntsman Drops Out; ‘Sanity’ Cited
The Jon Huntsman for President campaign announced it would no longer seek the 2012 Republican nomination last night. Then he gave a speech today endorsing Mitt Romney. Surprised? Neither is anyone. No one really knew why Jon Huntsman was campaigning in the first place, and certainly no one ever met a Republican supporting that campaign, other than his dad.
Since this is the last time most people will hear about Jon Huntsman until he runs for president again in 2016, and again in 2020, politics writers all over are trying to figure out why this otherwise good-looking, young, energetic politician with a strong foreign policy background couldn’t get going. The reasoning comes down to basic sanity.
As Ben Smith at BuzzFeed explains, Huntsman made an all-or-nothing bet against the Obama-era GOP back in 2009. Republican leaders in Congress decided to be, as it was called then, the “party of no.” They’d campaign and vote against everything the Obama Administration proposed, then wait for the president’s and the modern Democratic Party’s delusion to subside. It did. And the Republican Party mandate is now more about making nice with talk radio dinosaurs, promising to cut government agencies and push voter ID legislation than it is having an actual plan to bring the country back from the brink. If anything, the GOP’s hopes rely on another economic collapse before November, which would give credence to their scoffing at their slow-but-steady 21 straight months of private sector growth. Huntsman was never really into any of this.
He was the “media favorite.” And that meant one thing to the paranoid ranks of the Republican Party and its media machine: He would lose the general election to Obama. (The media favors Republicans who will lose, because they like Democrats.) He ran on a move to the center, while the rest of his party was coating their front doors with sheep’s blood. His hopes for a career in the future now rest on a GOP loss in November, which would prove the Republicans’ newfound Tea Party-Libertarian with a nuclear fetish caricature isn’t happening.