Guest Column: Huntsman’s pragmatism should earn him GOP nomination


Photo: Jim Cole/AP Photo

Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., shakes hands with Molly Graybill as he marches in the Fourth of July parade in Amherst, N.H. on July 4. 

There is one Republican

presidential hopeful who ought to win the GOP nomination for 2012.

He is very well mannered and experienced, has promised not to do

negative campaigning or attack ads, and therefore has absolutely no

chance of winning the Party’s nomination. I am writing, of course,

of Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who recently resigned as

the U.S. ambassador to China.

Huntsman is unelectable as a Republican for several reasons. First,

he knowingly accepts climate change as a problem that we face, and

as Governor of Utah, joined his state in the Western Climate

Initiative, a program to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Because of

the Republican Party’s denialist stance on climate change, it seems

likely that he will have to defend himself against attacks on this

completely reasonable decision he made as governor.

Huntsman also defends civil unions and supported legislation in

Utah to grant same-sex couples civil unions, but not marriage (for

a Republican, this rates as commendable). As the Republican

hard-line stance against same-sex civil unions and marriages

continues, this is liable to be another area of vulnerability for



position of Huntsman’s that makes him unelectable is his stance

against attack ads and his proclamation that he will not use them

in this campaign. This is a very refreshing stance for a Republican

to take, especially in the age of “shoot first and ask questions

later” political tactics. Whether or not the GOP can even run a

candidate who has spurned such tactics is an open question; attack

ads from both sides of the political spectrum have become the norm

for each campaign season.

In the

contemporary Republican Party, perhaps even being associated with

President Obama is enough to make one unelectable. If this is so,

 Huntsman’s in trouble: he was appointed by Obama’s administration

as ambassador to China. Working closely with Obama, Huntsman surely

gained an intricate understanding of how the current administration

really works, which will help in the campaign — certainly more than

just shouting about socialism and such.


days after he announced his candidacy, videos have surfaced from

conservative groups claiming that Huntsman is a RINO, or Republican

In Name Only — not exactly a term of endearment on his side.

However, the Republican Party needs politicians like him order to

claim that it is a party of ideas. When everyone in the party

marches in lockstep with one another, it damages the party. If the

GOP is to survive in America’s constantly changing political

climate, it needs people with a variety of different ideas.