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How Jon Huntsman can win in 2016: Get your hands dirty this time, Jon
The Week ^ | May 16, 2014 | Michael Brendan Dougherty, senior correspondent

Posted on 05/16/2014 6:11:51 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Last week Jon Huntsman encouraged a little speculation when he said he was "open" to running for the presidency again. After his last showing — in which he didn't even come close to winning a single state in the Republican primary — this announcement did not come with the same breathless fanfare as his last one. Still, I think he should go for it. My advice: Get petty and vindictive.

In the last election cycle I was assigned to profile Huntsman, and I thought I would stick a few pins in him. I wanted to dislike him, in some way. But after following him on the campaign trail and interviewing him at length, my view changed entirely. Hanging around Huntsman had precisely the opposite effect exposure to most politicians has on me; it persuaded me of his merit.

Subsequently, I spent much of the early 2012 primary cycle writing about his ability to create consensus around substantial conservative reforms, his electable persona, and how the GOP and the country could benefit from his realist foreign policy. And for his part, Huntsman ran a brilliant and ultimately victorious campaign to become president of Morning Joe.

The Huntsman presidential campaign was surreal. And worth a review before considering a new one.

He had left a high-profile post in the Obama administration's State Department to make an effort to take his boss' job. That's basically the closest thing to a Game of Thrones plot line that American politics offers. But Huntsman had a legitimate foreign policy beef with Obama over Libya. And if he had embraced it, his first campaign speech could have written itself. "As it did for many Americans," he could have said, "the election of Barack Obama inspired a patriotism in me that was deeper than partisanship, and so I served in his administration. But after being inside, that same love of country demanded that I resign, and it demands that I do everything possible to see him defeated in this election." That would have been a way to explain his story, and to connect it both to the disappointment that independent voters had with Obama and to the dyspepsia of the Republican base. Of course, he said nothing like this.

Instead, while standing in the exact spot where Ronald Reagan had begun his campaign with a paint-peeling speech aimed at Carter, Huntsman promised civility and debuted his charmingly Dadaist campaign video, which encouraged us to admire him for being the kind of Republican who wears a motorcycle jacket. While Republicans wanted a blood fight that Huntsman could have delivered, he promised to have a "difference of opinion" with the sitting president. A difference of opinion can be expressed in a memo; a campaign in a mass democracy has to go bigger.

Despite having the most successful record of conservative governance of any governor in the nation, his big moments in the campaign were advertising his "difference of opinion" with GOP voters. "Call me crazy," he tweeted. The subtext was "I'm calling them crazy" — them being the very voters who might have been attracted to his record on taxes, guns, and abortion.

As governor of deep-red Utah, Huntsman had a record that was always likely to turn out to be a little more conservative than he was. But still, look at that record: He passed several anti-abortion bills, which he should get credit for since he had enough clout to prevent them from hitting his desk. He lowered and flattened taxes. He attracted business to the state, which helped it achieve a low unemployment rate and fast economic recovery. He built consensus in his reforms, even getting the Church of Latter-day Saints to accede to a liberalization of the state's liquor laws. He expanded gun rights. For plugged-in activists on these issues, Huntsman was pretty much a national hero until he worked for Obama.

And so the fundamental divide between Huntsman and the voters in the GOP isn't conservatism as much as it is populism. He embraced the Ryan plan, which others with more conservative reputations treated as too principled to consider. His campaign generated a financial sector reform that was innovative, anti-cronyist, and pro-market.

Huntsman and GOP voters generally agree on policy, but differ on attitude. Huntsman is a co-chair of No Labels, the type of post-partisan project that GOP stalwarts hate, but his co-chair is one of the most conservative Democratic governors (Joe Manchin). Put their records together and you have more conservative accomplishments than "severe conservative" Mitt Romney and CPAC superstar Newt Gingrich. But the substance is obscured by the anti-partisanship.

Huntsman's dislike of Romney, for his phoniness, was palpable when you got close. He also dislikes the Beltway organizations, including the Heritage Foundation and Club for Growth, that pose as populist grassroots organizations while fleecing Republican activists in the heartland, and accomplishing nothing within Washington. But, by not embracing his own record of governance, Huntsman risks becoming just as phony as they are.

And for all his moderate temperament, Huntsman has praised the libertarian-leaning firebrand Rand Paul for trying to change the narrative of the party. And he likes Paul Ryan, for taking wonky risks. So, conservative policy doesn't bother Huntsman, phony conservative posturing does.

So why not let that out next time? The Huntsman campaign had one thing that worked well: An opposition research team that could take heads. It was willing to leak on Herman Cain, who was the ultimate populist fraud of the 2012 GOP primary, and even leaked on Mitch Daniels, keeping him out of the race.

Huntsman had the record and credibility to inflict damage on Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and other conservatives from the right and center in these debates. He had a way to look both more serious and more conservative than his opponents at the same time. If he runs again, he should let the little devil on his shoulder speak more. Substance doesn't have to be so prim and civil with raving frauds.

Let the voters know that the GOP primary has too many clowns in the clown car. Call out the conservatives who perform like pitchfork-wielding lunatics in their district, and then dine out with lobbyists and cash checks from widows in D.C. Bash those who talk like revolutionaries year after year, even as they ossify into the least accomplished Establishment in American history.

Ronald Reagan, a divorcé who had liberalized abortion laws in California, told the members of the nascent Moral Majority, "I know you can't endorse me, but I endorse you." Huntsman could have a similar moment. He could tell conservatives that he may not reflect their anger all the time, but he won't take advantage of them either. After two terms of exile form the executive branch, parties become bloody-minded about winning. Show them you want it. Throw a punch and mean it.


TOPICS: Utah; Campaign News; Issues; Parties
KEYWORDS: 2016; gop; jonhuntsman; squish
Oh, good grief! Is every loser from the last 15 years going to run this time? No Huntsman, no Huckabee, no Santorum, NO BUSHES, NO CLINTONS, no Romney, no McCain, no Gingrich and no McCain!!
1 posted on 05/16/2014 6:11:51 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

AMEN!!


2 posted on 05/16/2014 6:13:26 PM PDT by doc1019
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Despite an unlimited war chest, and near-constant praise from a sympathetic media elite– Jon Huntsman finished just ahead of Michele Bachmann, and behind Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry in 2012.

http://www.mofopolitics.com/2013/12/09/bwahahahaha-guy-everyone-hates-gives-rand-paul-political-advice/

Even in the wake of such a comprehensively humiliating defeat, Jon Huntsman saw fit to lecture leading GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul…


3 posted on 05/16/2014 6:14:12 PM PDT by ObamahatesPACoal
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It’s like someone left the gate open at the mental hospital, and let all the crazies out.


4 posted on 05/16/2014 6:14:19 PM PDT by corlorde (forWARD of the state)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Who?


5 posted on 05/16/2014 6:14:29 PM PDT by caver (Obama: Home of the Whopper)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sweet merciful Jesus, please come and take me off of this lunatic rock ;/


6 posted on 05/16/2014 6:14:41 PM PDT by chris37 (heartless)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He strikes me as a phoney


7 posted on 05/16/2014 6:16:44 PM PDT by ronnie raygun
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Huntsman is a left-wing jerk. He made Mitt Romney look like a conservative in comparison.

And this guy claims that Huntsman is a conservative?


8 posted on 05/16/2014 6:16:59 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

How about Dole?


9 posted on 05/16/2014 6:17:12 PM PDT by Freestate316 (Know what you believe and why you believe it.)
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To: Freestate316

How about Dole?
***********************
I think the plan is to have Dole on Huntsman ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate. /sarc


10 posted on 05/16/2014 6:18:57 PM PDT by House Atreides
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I'd rather vote for this guy:


11 posted on 05/16/2014 6:19:26 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Fegelein! Fegelein! Fegelein!)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Clearly, I am slow tonight.


12 posted on 05/16/2014 6:19:54 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Fegelein! Fegelein! Fegelein!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Remember Huntsman is Romney’s cousin and they have been involved in business together.


13 posted on 05/16/2014 6:20:49 PM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The writer sounds like a space case, that isn’t anchored much to anything.

Oh, he works for the “American Conservative”, a very strange publication, with an inappropriate name.


14 posted on 05/16/2014 6:26:19 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He would have a chance in the D primaries.
There are tons and tons of people who do NOT want Hillary


15 posted on 05/16/2014 6:28:15 PM PDT by faithhopecharity ((Brilliant, Profound Tag Line Goes Here, just as soon as I can think of one..))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Huntsman’s chances are zero. Same as last time.


16 posted on 05/16/2014 6:33:20 PM PDT by wny
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Joe Huntsman. Isn’t he the guy who sells cars or something?


17 posted on 05/16/2014 6:35:09 PM PDT by gunsmithkat (There is no such thing as Too Many Guns)
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To: Elsie

PING


18 posted on 05/16/2014 6:36:30 PM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Is every loser from the last 15 years going to run this time? No Huntsman, no Huckabee, no Santorum, NO BUSHES, NO CLINTONS, no Romney, no McCain, no Gingrich and no McCain!! “

Agree with all, but Bushes ain’t no losers.


19 posted on 05/16/2014 6:42:22 PM PDT by sagar
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To: sagar

Furthermore, if you don’t count “losers” then Palin is out as well, since she most definitely lost in 2008. Lincoln certainly was a ‘loser’ before he was a winner and winning he did!


20 posted on 05/16/2014 6:43:59 PM PDT by sagar
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Every morning the alarm goes off and Sonny and Cher are singing.

Phil in Groundhog day - “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?


21 posted on 05/16/2014 6:44:14 PM PDT by Proud2BeRight
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To: sagar

Where were you between 2001 and 2009?


22 posted on 05/16/2014 6:44:30 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I wonder how much Huntsman paid him to write this fantasy ?


23 posted on 05/16/2014 6:48:29 PM PDT by Popman ("Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/reevaluating-huntsman/

He’s been singing the same song for awhile.


24 posted on 05/16/2014 6:58:33 PM PDT by Luke21
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

We need:

Hefty, hefty, hefty.


25 posted on 05/16/2014 7:10:35 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Huntsman? WTH?
The nan us a loser.


26 posted on 05/16/2014 7:12:41 PM PDT by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
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To: Cicero

Didn’t Huntsman support amnesty?


27 posted on 05/16/2014 7:14:25 PM PDT by apocalypto
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; All

The only way this buffoon could be president is every person in the US died. Maybe he ought to try the other party that has Kankles running


28 posted on 05/16/2014 7:14:44 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This is what it must have been like to watch the ‘62 Mets - every ineffective loser pitcher from the last 4 years gets another chance.

At least we’d get to see more of Huntsman’s daughters, though....


29 posted on 05/16/2014 7:15:07 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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To: ronnie raygun

Let’s face it; most of these people on this list could just as easily run as democrats.


30 posted on 05/16/2014 7:15:24 PM PDT by corlorde (forWARD of the state)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Show me your golden tablets and I’ll think about it...


31 posted on 05/16/2014 7:17:26 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Who knows, Red Hampshire could give him a boost this time.


32 posted on 05/16/2014 7:22:05 PM PDT by Theodore R. (It's inevitable: Kentuckians are incapable of saying "No" to McC!)
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To: ClearCase_guy

What do Bob Dole and Pat Roberts have in common? They were (are) KS senators, and neither lives in KS.


33 posted on 05/16/2014 7:23:28 PM PDT by Theodore R. (It's inevitable: Kentuckians are incapable of saying "No" to McC!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

After seeing “consensus” and “realist” and the advice of going petty and vindictive - I stopped reading.


34 posted on 05/16/2014 7:36:08 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: sagar

You mean the veep candidate?

Why place a veep among that list of guys who ran for the presidency and lost?


35 posted on 05/16/2014 7:37:27 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: sagar

Palin did not run for President in 2008


36 posted on 05/16/2014 7:38:04 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Support for all these candidates seem to appear out of nowhere as election time nears. These candidates never express their views on any day-to-day controversial matters and appear in public view only before the next election. There is always little information available on them except that which their supporters or the media give us.

The real candidates in my opinion have been waging the day-to-day battles on the controversial issues. They have a historical record on how they stand on them between the elections. They have battle scars which prove or deny it.


37 posted on 05/16/2014 7:48:51 PM PDT by Texicanus (Texas, it's a whole 'nother country.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Lord, Grant me the serenity to accept Stupid people the way they are, Courage to maitain my self-control, and wisdom to know if I act up on it, I will go to jail...


38 posted on 05/16/2014 7:50:14 PM PDT by Linda Frances (Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I did vote for him...and don’t regret my vote. The other option was just not ever, ever going to happen.


39 posted on 05/16/2014 7:52:17 PM PDT by conservaKate ( I grow weary of the goobers in the Republican party. (thanks Chris))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

AMEN AND THANK YOU...A New Candidate FOR 2016, Someone with a GOOD track record and WITH EXPERIENCE of actually making a difference somewhere! No Community Organizers...


40 posted on 05/16/2014 8:07:49 PM PDT by Kackikat
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To: caver

NO MORE MILKTOAST CANDIDATES PELEASE.


41 posted on 05/16/2014 8:08:37 PM PDT by Kackikat
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Run Sarah! Run!

Run Allen! Run!


42 posted on 05/16/2014 9:01:06 PM PDT by Taxman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Office of First President & Living Prophet®:

November 8, 2012

Fellow MORMON Freeper Christians!!
 
I must apologize and ask for forgiveness from you all.
 
As you know, we at Headquarters NEVER tell you pew warmers how to vote. It says so right in our press releases. Anyway, we were ALL thrilled to the max when there were two – TWO! – MORMONs being touted in the primaries: Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.
 
Talk in our upper chambers high above SLC was how our gods were favoring us with these men; who had prepared their entire lives for an opportunity to save this Nation; which so badly needs guidance: OUR guidance even! So naturally, I and the other twelve analyzed and discussed the situation.
 
Consensus was that the voters should listen to the inner urging and vote for the one they wanted; but that seemed to be leaving WAY too much to chance.
 
I decided, that since I am the ONLY man on earth that can hear GOD’s voice, that I would pray for wisdom and clarity in the matter.
 
I hadn’t used the fleece in a while, so I questioned GOD with a test. A paper, with Romney on one side and Huntsman on the other was to be placed by the air conditioning vent high above my desk in the sumptuous office the Full Tithers have provided.
When the air would kick in later in the evening, while I was home, the paper would be blown down and whomever GOD wanted would then be visible on the upper surface.
 
As you can probably guess, when I came in the next day, the paper had landed on my desk, with Mitt’s name on top.
Last night, I was staying late, praying to GOD about how it was even possible that Mitt lost, when the janitorial cleaning crew came in. Being surprised to find me here, they apologized for interrupting me. I said to them, “It mattereth not, as I was about to leave anyway.”
 
As I was going out the door, the foreman of the crew just happened to mention that my office is ALWAYS so neat and tiny, never anything out of place, that they barely have to do anything to tidy up. Then one of the sweepers said, “Except that time in the spring when we came in to clean and found a paper with Huntman’s name on the floor by your desk. We put it back on your desk and left.
 
 
Tommy M.
 
PS Keep praying that Huntsman will add an “H” to his name. Jon looks so dang effeminate!
 
Onward to 2016!!!

43 posted on 05/17/2014 4:41:14 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Hanging around Huntsman had precisely the opposite effect exposure to most politicians has on me; it persuaded me of his merit.

There are 100's of thousands of American CHRISTIAN voters who will NOT vote for a man of 'merit' who cannot see through the very plain DECEPTION that is Mormonism.

Did you not LEARN this last time?

44 posted on 05/17/2014 4:43:50 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: gunsmithkat
Isn’t he the guy who sells cars or something?

You may be thinking of a relative of another MORMON who is trying for a high position in government; Mia Love.

45 posted on 05/17/2014 4:46:50 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Linda Frances

Smile...


46 posted on 05/17/2014 4:48:13 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: apocalypto

Barack Obama chose Huntsman to be his Ambassador to Communist China. I think that says all we need to know about him. Obama doesn’t compromise on those positions, and there are few countries more important to him than China.

Huntsman lied his head off when he ran in the last primary. But after he’s elected, you can bet that he’ll take the leftward way on everything.


47 posted on 05/17/2014 8:22:26 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Some Fat Guy in L.A.

Since you are so interested in the Huntsman daughters, here is the latest on them: http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/214209-huntsman-daughter-marries


48 posted on 08/18/2014 2:54:15 PM PDT by RedWhiteBlue (Mama tried)
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