Republican Party

Why Not Huntsman?

Huntsman has a record more conservative than his moderate image suggests


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.

He's running at 2 percent in the polls, but working in his favor is that his rivals have defined themselves mostly by their lapses, failures, and gaffes. At the moment, Republicans seem doomed to choose between the fraudulent (Mitt Romney) and the incompetent (almost everyone else). One contender after another has risen to challenge Romney, only to self-destruct in the most mortifying possible way.

That leaves an opportunity for someone who can avoid the exploding cigar, as Huntsman has. Besides being a telegenic master of the complete sentence, he was the highly popular governor of the most Republican state in the country, Utah.

As a family man, he qualifies as an overachiever, with seven children, two of them adopted, and nary a whiff of scandal. His hobbies include such approved Republican activities as shooting and motorcycle riding.

More to the point, Huntsman has a record more conservative than his moderate image suggests. He worked for Ronald Reagan. He wants to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform, decries the Environmental Protection Agency's "regulatory reign of terror," endorsed Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, and favors a constitutional amendment to "ensure legal protections for the unborn."

When the candidates were asked about a hypothetical package consisting of $10 in federal spending cuts for each $1 of tax increases, he joined the others in a chorus of rejection.

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.

He hasn't had to spend a lot of time fighting off major parts of his record. The phrase he uses to describe Romney—a "perfectly lubricated weather vane"—doesn't apply to Huntsman.

He did, however, have the gall to say, "I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming." He also has parted with GOP dogma on civil unions for gays and granting in-state college tuition to foreign-born children brought here illegally by their parents.

But those are mild deviations compared to, say, Romney's Obama-like health care program, Cain's wild incoherence on abortion or Newt Gingrich's sale of his soul to Freddie Mac.

More offensive to rabid Obama-haters is that Huntsman accepted when the president asked him to be ambassador to China. Never mind that firsthand acquaintance with our biggest creditor and most formidable potential military rival (he even speaks Mandarin) would be an asset in a president. Never mind that his service would appeal to independent voters who distrust fierce partisanship.

Never mind, either, that he has attacked Obama for his policy on Libya, which was "not in our core national security interest," and on Afghanistan, which he regards as "nation-building." Republicans wary of extravagant, open-ended foreign entanglements now have an alternative to Ron Paul.

And who else has had the nerve to say what should be obvious about our most questionable ally? "I'm here to tell you, folks," Huntsman declared at one event, "we can't do a damn thing about Pakistan. Only Pakistan can save Pakistan."

If Republicans are looking for the most conservative candidate, they won't settle on Huntsman. But if they are looking for the most conservative candidate who can beat Obama, he may yet get his day in the sun.

The process of elimination is on his side. New Hampshire political consultant Paul Collins, who is now working for the campaign, told The New York Times, "When I signed on, someone said to me, 'Oh, you've met Huntsman?' And I said, 'No. But I've met all the other guys.'"


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  1. I am confused, this article says that this guy supports Afghanistan because it is “nation building”, how is this in any way being “wary of foreign entanglements” ?

    1. It isn’t at all.

      Maybe he is a pro-abortion atheist, the top blocks in any Cosmotarian checklist.

      1. “Maybe he is a pro-abortion atheist, the top blocks in any Cosmotarian checklist.”

        No, that’s not it; both those things are illegal in Utah.

        1. Officer, am I free to gambol about Utah like the Ute once did, until you brutally aggressed against them?

          1. If you want to gambol, you’ll have ot step next door to Nevada. Playing cards and other gamboling paraphenalia are illegal in Utah.

            1. Gambol is referenced as follows:

              Why agriculture? In retrospect, it seems odd that it has taken archaeologists and paleontologists so long to begin answering this essential question of human history. What we are today?civilized, city-bound, overpopulated, literate, organized, wealthy, poor, diseased, conquered, and conquerors?is all rooted in the domestication of plants and animals. The advent of farming re-formed humanity. In fact, the question “Why agriculture?” is so vital, lies so close to the core of our being that it probably cannot be asked or answered with complete honesty. Better to settle for calming explanations of the sort Stephen Jay Gould calls “just-so stories.”

              In this case, the core of such stories is the assumption that agriculture was better for us. Its surplus of food allowed the leisure and specialization that made civilization. Its bounty settled, refined, and educated us, freed us from the nasty, mean, brutish, and short existence that was the state of nature, freed us from hunting and gathering. Yet when we think about agriculture, and some people have thought intently about it, the pat story glosses over a fundamental point. This just-so story had to have sprung from the imagination of someone who never hoed a row of corn or rose with the sun for a lifetime of milking cows. Gamboling about plain and forest, hunting and living off the land is fun. Farming is not. That’s all one needs to know to begin a rethinking of the issue. The fundamental question was properly phrased by Colin Tudge of the London School of Economics: “The real problem, then, is not to explain why some people were slow to adopt agriculture but why anybody took it up at all.”

              Richard Manning
              Against the Grain
              p. 24

              1. Corporate farming provides you work as a migrant farmhand, which is all the gamboling you’re entitled to. Lashing out against your providers like this shows how greedy and ungrateful you really are.

              2. Account number 1324576
                White Indian

                You have made a withdral of -10 internetz today. Your balance stands at 305 internets.

      2. Did you read the article? He’s pro-life, and supports an amendment to protect the unborn.

    2. Never mind, either, that he has attacked Obama for his policy on Libya, which was “not in our core national security interest,” and on Afghanistan, which he regards as “nation-building.”

      Nation-building is not being used in a positive sense here by Chapman or Huntsman.

    3. In confused… are you being sarcastic or do you not get that huntsman is against “nation-building”…

  2. Never mind, either, that [Huntsman] has attacked Obama for his policy on Libya, which was “not in our core national security interest,”

    As opposed Ron Paul’s criticisms which are just paranoid tripe, of course:

    But again, Paul laces useful insights with irrational paranoia. In Libya, President Obama might get points for insisting that NATO take the lead role. Not from Paul, who denounces the multilateral approach as “a victory for one world government”?one of his curious obsessions. He has previously accused both Obama and George W. Bush of favoring one world government.

    Fucking partisan hack.

    1. How can he be partisan, Paul and Huntsman are both from the same party.

  3. Huntsman has a lot more foreign policy experience than the other candidates, but spends a lot on government programs. I not convinced he would do anything significant to reduce our deficit. While he might be more desirable than Romney, he’s still behind Paul, meaning there’s no real reason to support him yet.

    If Paul and Johnson both drop out, I may vote for Huntsman in the primaries simply to register a not-Romney vote.

    1. Huntsman will be long gone well before Paul exits the race.

      He might even be out before Johnson if he loses big in NH — though it’s most likely both Johnson and Huntsman will exit after NH.

    2. Huntsman has a lot more foreign policy experience than the other candidates,

      Experience, my ass. A political appointee ambassador spends his time in photo-ops with the kleptocrats, touring their Potemkin factories, while they pretend his 90-day Chinese course at the Foreign Service Institute makes him able to carry on a conversation. The people who get foreign policy experience are the career officers who deal with the real work at the embassy.


      1. jcr – true, but even that is more than most of the others

  4. “If Republicans are looking for the most conservative candidate, writes Steve Chapman, they won’t settle on Huntsman.”

    If they are looking for someone to fart in a jar, they can pick me.

    1. Have you filed yet? Oh wait, I am not a republican so it doesn’t matter.

  5. Lesser evils are still evil and even the lesser is suspect.

  6. Huntsman is the Republican that liberals like to think of as reasonable. In no world is that a good thing.

  7. Just about anybody’s better than Obama.

    1. Worse in the short run can also mean better in the long run.

    2. I remember hearing, “Just about anybody is better than Bush”… and they found someone worse.

      I read it on here… let Obama have the next four years, the ramifications of every bill he passed will come into play during the next four years. Who ever is in office will get blamed, might as well be the person who asked for it.

      1. I don’t buy that Obama is worse than W.

        He’s a little worse domestically. A little better abroad. But most of all he doesn’t sound like a fourteen year old with a hardon every time he opens his yap.

        1. A little better abroad.

          …Except for starting a war on Libya without even the fig-leaf of an “authorization for the use of force”?


  8. Of all the candidates not named Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, Huntsman is the one I’d have the best chance of tolerating in the Oval Office.

    Of course he’s doing just as bad in the polls as Johnson is.

    1. And that’s with a slick campaign operation, a vast personal fortune, and all the love of the MSM.

      I look forward to Reason‘s “The libertarian case for Buddy Roemer” article.

  9. Just give Obama four more years of divided government.

  10. I’ve always preferred Huntsman as far as the non-libertarian candidates. He’s anti-torture, he’s not a monger, he supports civil unions and has the balls to stand by that position. If I can’t get a president who fits my ideology, I prefer that they be be practical, which Huntsman is.

  11. He’s a responsible, well-spoken adult

    You’re not helping.

  12. Doesn’t Ron Paul say exactly what Huntsman says on foreign policy, except with less moderation (which, let’s be clear, is a good thing)? And wasn’t it Chapman that called him paranoid?

    Ron Paul’s got an actual chance here, which (right now) Huntsman doesn’t, is better than Huntsman, and you guys are shitting all over him in favor of this guy?

    I’m no Paulite just to be a Paulite, but he’s by far the best candidate in the race. Huntsman’s a last pick, because I’ll castrate myself with a spoon before I vote Romney.

    1. “Ron Paul’s got an actual chance here, which (right now) Huntsman doesn’t, is better than Huntsman, and you guys are shitting all over him in favor of this guy?”

      Yes they are. Establishment libertarians are not big fans of those who tolerate Rothbardian ideas. They do not object so much to government but to government run by the ‘other guys.’

      1. Dude, it’s Steve Chapman. He’s just syndicated by Reason as far as I know, but he doesn’t really represent the average Reasoner. They’ve published extremely unlibertarian articles of his on here, so take him with a grain of salt like the rest of us.

  13. Uhm, dude, “irrational paranoia”. As opposed to the rational kind.

    1. Ron Paul, you see, published racist homophobic racist racist ultra racist RACISISISSIIITII RACIST newsletters, according to left-wing bloggers, so let’s shit all over him and settle for worse candidates, BECAUSE WE CAN!!!!!!

      1. Not just according to left-wing bloggers, but according to Steve Chapman, “libertarian” Reason contributor extraordinaire. I think it’s time to take off the tinfoil hat RPA, and admit that Huntsman is the only reasonable human qualified to lose the to the Annointed One.

        1. Look, I’d vote for Ron Paul in a heartbeat, but the claims that Ron Paul published racist newsletters doesn’t originate from any source and/or sources apart form the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report. Like it or not, he did publish those newsletters, and they did contain race baiting content.

  14. Why hasn’t anyone mentioned. We already have a Mormon and there’s really not room for two in the race.

    1. “. . . a Mormon . . .”

      Speaking of which, I could never trust a man who thinks it’s an abomination upon God to begin the day with a cup of coffee.

      1. I believe it’s an abomination to begin my day with anything BUT coffee.

        1. I can see it now: Huntsman’s first act after taking office would be to classify caffeine as a Schedule I drug under the CSA. People will be hiding coffee beans inside bales of marijuana just to throw off the coffee-sniffing dogs. Exceptions will be made under state laws for people with pressing medical needs. Starbucks will eke out an existence operating “dispensaries.” The feds will raid them.

  15. “He hasn’t had to spend a lot of time fighting off major parts of his record. The phrase he uses to describe Romney?a “perfectly lubricated weather vane”?doesn’t apply to Huntsman.”
    Ummmm…he was also Governor of Utah, one of the most conservative states in the country. There’s not a whole lot in the local Overton window that’s going to disqualify a candidate from running in national elections as a Republican. Romney (and trust me, I’m no fan) was Governor of Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the country. That gives him a lot of positions to backtrack in the national Republican arena. His expressed views generally put him to the left of his record.

  16. The thing about Huntsman is… where’d did he come from? I’m enough of a political nerd to have heard of any number of obscure pols (Gary Johnson, Phil Bredesden, Bob McDonnell, Barack Obama) but I never heard a peep about Huntsman until he was suddenly the candidate of a slice of the media. Can anyone name any thing he’s done? Or is it just good hair?

    1. Gov. of Utah and Ambassador to China. Not exactly piddling positions.

      1. George H.W. Bush was ambassador to China. George W. Bush was a governor.

        1. HW was also a head of the CIA at one point.

    2. Made a small splash in 2008 primary by endorsing McCain over Romney, his co-religionist. Romney of course won Utah in a landslide anyway, even though Huntsman was still governor there.

  17. To be truthful, I always thought that Huntsman was looking more with 2016 in mind, figuring that Obama wins reelection

  18. That dude just looks corrupt as the day is long.

  19. He also leads in the most important category of all: smoking-hot daughters.

    1. You are a gentleman and a scholar. It is true.

    2. I cannot tell a lie: they are excruciatingly sexy.

      1. GW – would you chop down their cherries?

  20. I know a lot of Democrats who would consider voting for Huntsman. To conservatives, of course, this means he’s a tool of Satan.

    1. Did you pull that one out of your ass, or did mom yell it down to you through the basement trapdoor?

      1. Let me put it this way. If an Obama-Huntsman election were possible, I wouldn’t have nearly as good a reason to constantly say the best thing anyone can do for this country is never to vote for a Republican. The GOP is dying, and it deserves to die, and if it isn’t dying then it means the country is.

        1. Just forget 2010.

      2. I’m a Democrat and would vote for Huntsman over Obama as it sits. he’s the only candidate I would vote for over Obama currently in the field.

  21. To demonstrate his intellectual seriousness, Huntsman should appoint David Frum as ambassador to David Frum,

    1. Someone needs to double down on their morning coffee…

  22. Huntsman hasn’t caught on because there’s something weird and off-putting about him — his style, mannerisms, chip on the shoulder — I can’t quite put my finger on it. And, of course, the most partisan GOPers will never trust him because he worked for Obama

    1. He’s a little smarmy.

      1. He’s got smarmalade all over his face.

    2. I think Huntsman needs to dust off his synthesizer and reunite Wizard. Do something to generate some excitement and stand out in the crowd of GOP blowhards.

  23. Obama 2008: Yes We Can!

    Romney 2012: I’m such a frigging cunt of a shit-peddling, empty-suited politician.

    Fuck ’em both. I’m sticking to Paul, and Huntsman’s a reserve, I guess.

    1. >Fuck ’em both. I’m sticking to Paul, and Huntsman’s a reserve, I guess.

      This is my position too. Being in California my primary vote is essentially counted last as it is.

  24. Why not Huntsman??

    He’s not Ron Paul.

  25. Either way, I’m happy the “real” scary fuckers are out of the running: Perry, Santorum, Gingrich etc.

    No Dominionists in the White House, please.

    1. “Either way, I’m happy the “real” scary fuckers are out of the running: Perry, Santorum, Gingrich etc.”

      I’ve been reading the last couple days that Gingrich is polling at or near the top of the field . . .

  26. At least with Huntsman, I can really go to town with the Cesar Franck jokes.

    And he got himself elected governor of Utah – do you think you can get that job by being pro-abortion, anti-gun, or pro-taxes? Romney would have been a prolife gun nut if he’d run for governor of Utah not Mass.

  27. He’s a global warming wacko.

    1. No, embarrassingly for his party, he is nearly alone in believing in science.

      1. Yes, but he believes in junk science, which puts him in good company with the rest of the religious nutjobs in his party.

        1. No, you believe in junk science. You can tell because it’s peddled by radio fatasses instead of scientists.

          1. I know. I spelled science rite in skool.

  28. Competent governors with solid records (Perry, Pawlenty, Hunstman, and Johnson – all Cato certified) don’t have a place in todays TEAM RED, which is dominated by fundangelical shitstains who cling to their medicare/medicaid/SS handouts and want to ethnic cleanse the country of Mexicans and go on eleventy crusades against teh moooslims. Remember, Perry dived in the polls because he wasn’t perceived as being sufficiently hardassed towards Mexicans. Pawlenty got out because that horrible michelle bachman was preferred by the people they were both trying to woo as their base-consticuency (midwestern yokels). Michelle brought the anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim fervor, thats what sells these days to TEAM RED. And Hunstman and Johnson have never had more than 2% of the vote in a national poll.

    We’ll see how old Ron does, but I’m ready to go all-in 3rd party. I won’t pick between jingoist theocrat nanny statists and command-economy klepto nanny statists.

    1. Bachmann isn’t exactly reaping all that much success these days.

      Also, I think Perry’s dive might be at least as related to his horrible campaign skills and his tendency to vacillate between awkward and grouchy. The base might have overlooked his immigration sins if he hadn’t accused them of being heartless.

    2. And this is why libertarians shouldn’t bother running in republican primaries anymore. The infiltration strategy just doesn’t work with TEAM RED. If you express nuanced views on abortion, or stray from their desire to remain self-appointed police chief of the planet Earth, you’re toast.

  29. If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson weren’t running, Huntsman might be someone to settle for.


    1. That’s kinda how I feel. He’s the third best in the race right now. He’s probably not good enough to motivate me to get up and vote Republican though.

  30. I just love this intentional ignorance and rejection of the true leader, not politician, that is making strides right now. You people are sick and the media has sickened you. Do not pay any attention to their presidential puppets. Find out about Ron Paul and find our next true leader.

  31. Why not Huntsman? Well sure if you intend to maintain the status quo and reject the evidence that prooves the existence of a “monolithic conspiracy” attempting to install an authoritarian regime on the shores of the entire world. JFK gave the speech. He was a president then and told the American public of this mess. Ron Paul has spoken of it for a long time as well. Who gives a fu8% about Huntsman or any other douche bag? I want a leader. I want Ron Paul. America doesn’t deserve him after all the voluntary ignorance we have placed upon ourselves but he is plugging away anyway. If you have support for any other politician I have nothing but shame for you and for me. I am truly sorry for being asleep for so long. At last I am awake. I see one star, Ron Paul, guiding us to a newer future without corrupt bankers and politicians. Let it be so.

  32. Huntsman in 2009: Stimulus “Probably Wasn’t Big Enough”…..nough.html

  33. Thank you for every one of your hard work on this site. Kim enjoys managing investigation and it’s obvious why. Most of us know all regarding the dynamic manner you make helpful tactics through this web site and in addition welcome participation from visitors about this article then our own simple princess is really discovering so much. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. Your conducting a really good job.

  34. I could actually live with Huntsman, but this article was shit.

    First it entirely ignores Ron Paul (unless Chapman considers him one of the “incompetents”) then it advocates voting for Huntsman OVER Ronnie Boy. As if a libertarian could ever justify doing that

  35. I can’t understand why Reason is so ignorant of the actual science, of the problems with the IPCC, and of the level of corruption in the climate field.

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