Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thoughts on Huntsman

Jon Huntsman's announcement that he is running for the Republican nomination strikes me as raising a couple of interesting issues, quite aside from what sort of job he would do as President. One source describes him as the anti-Trump, on the grounds that he is serious and Trump was not.

He strikes me as more nearly the anti-Romney. His most obvious attraction is to conservative Republicans who believe they need a  centrist candidate in order to win the election. Like Romney he has a centrist image, but he does not have the same history of appearing to want to be all things to all people and he did not create the first draft of Obamacare. Not knowing a whole lot about either of them and being a libertarian rather than a conservative, I still feel more comfortable with the idea of Huntsman as President than of Romney.

One somewhat ambiguous element, however, is the verbal support that Huntsman is getting from not only the political center but the Democratic establishment. It could be that they have only the welfare of the country at heart—but the obvious suspicion is that they think he would be easier to beat than, say, the current governor of Texas, who seems at the moment to be the most likely conservative nominee.

I was amused by Harry Reid's comment that Romney has flip-flopped on so many policy issues that he “doesn’t know who he is.” Not that I don't agree—but isn't that also true of the candidate that Reid's party plans to nominate?

11 Comments:

At 3:59 PM, June 21, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Romney is still the front runner. Intrade has Romney at 33.4% chance to be the Republican nominee as opposed to Perry at 13.7. Huntsman is at 10% for what its worth.

 
At 4:06 PM, June 21, 2011, Anonymous Intermediate said...

You don't mention that Huntsman was ambassador to China. Nixon is frequently credited (and in fact it's one of the only positive things you'll hear said about Nixon) with having "opened up relations with China". I'm not interested in the veracity of that claim, but China is being seen more and more, at least by the MSM, as a potential "superpower" (again, practically it doesn't matter whether this is true or false). It might be that the atypical support for Huntsman from establishment Democrats is merely due to the fact that he is intelligent and willing to work with Democrats. Obviously Romney's record of inconsistentcy will likely pose a challenge for him.

Having said all that, there's no way I would vote for any Republican over Obama, be it Romney, Huntsman, Paul, Johnson, or anyone else. In fact, given our situation, I wish Obama had been able to do much more in the way of intervention, taxation, etc. Hopefully the ideas of protectionism, interventionism, socialism, etc. will die for good, but perhaps that's a hopelessly naive idea. Some might view this as callous, but really, what could any president do to preserve the continuation of the American system and government at this point, and how would this be conducive to the goals of libertarianism?

 
At 12:10 AM, June 22, 2011, Blogger 49erDweet said...

I concur with your perceptive analysis re: Huntsman's apparent acceptability to the Democrat establishment. I think it more wishful thinking on their part than altruistic patriotism. Given the mood of voters I connect with, I suspect he will not go far in 2012. Possibly he's positioning himself for a future run?

Having said that, it strikes me that was probably how the eventual winner initiated his 2008 campaign. Could lightning strike again?

 
At 1:04 AM, June 22, 2011, Blogger Mark Horning said...

Huntsman's greatest asset is simple, he is not Romney.

Romney gave a big speech a few weeks ago explaining why Romneycare was not Obamacare, and that it was constitutional for Massachusets to do something that would be unlawful for the Federal government to do.

This misses the forest for the trees. It's a legal response to a philosophical argument. The problem isn't whether Romney care is lawful or not, the problem is that he has unapologetically substituted the "Judgment of the State" for that of the individual. By doing so he has embraced the cult of the omnisapient state. Libertarians and Libertarian-leaning Republicans will never vote for him

 
At 6:18 AM, June 22, 2011, Anonymous Ricardo Cruz said...

Intermediate: by your logic, Greece should be a libertarian paradise by now.

 
At 7:59 AM, June 22, 2011, Blogger Skip said...

Obama's done such a poor job with things that at this point I think the Republicans could nominate the dog-catcher from Topeka and be no worse than a nail-biter on election night. Or they could nominate Romney, and be no better than a nail-biter on election night, because Romney can't really hammer Obama on the things he needs to be hammered on without justifiable charges of hypocrisy. Of course, things could change between now and the election - the media hasn't yet gone into 'let's get our guy elected' mode after all.

As for Huntsman, I think there's very little chance he can get through the primaries - he's far too associated with the other side. My suspicion is that Perry will enter the race officially soon, and he'll turn into the front-runner almost immediately.

 
At 12:53 PM, June 22, 2011, Anonymous Intermediate said...

Ricardo: This misses the point. There will be losers, i.e. countries where a majority thinks they can live off the state perennially, but there are always opportunities with crises such as this. Governments with sane(r) policies will likely see an influx of capital and labor. Libertarians should use the coming instability to delegitimize statism, central banking, interventionism, etc. as much as possible. If faith in governments can be eroded even a little bit, that's a win. As governmental power decreases, secession becomes more plausible.

 
At 6:35 AM, June 23, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Reid comment on Romney, according to PolitiFact.com Romney comes out better on both the Truth-o-meter and Full Flops...

 
At 12:23 PM, June 23, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intrade prices imply that Jon Huntsman would be quite a bit harder to beat than Rick Perry--53% chances of winning conditional on nomination vs. 39% for the governor of TX. (Mitt Romney is at 40%, close to Perry.) It seems that Democrats regard Huntsman as a genuinely better candidate.

 
At 5:09 PM, June 23, 2011, Blogger missprism said...

Who will attend to reducing the size of the government relative to the rest of us, is what I'd like to know. Huntsman may be best, if likeable to Democrats, as such a deed will have to be accomplished on a bipartisan basis. So screamers and celebrity egotists are out.

 
At 6:30 PM, June 24, 2011, Blogger dWj said...

I like how Huntsman apparently used his last speech as ambassador.

 

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