Monday, November 12, 2012

Can Jon Huntsman save the Republican Party?

Jon Huntsman, the former Governor of Utah and U.S. Ambassador to China, never seemed to have a chance at the 2012 Republican nomination. But I hope that Republican pols are considering whether this was unfortunate in retrospect. Huntsman is only 52 years old, and if he ran again, he could benefit from the Republican Party's preference for nominating someone who has already run. (The lone recent exception was Bush in 2000; the rule has held up with every other non-incumbent Republican nominee going back to Nixon in 1968.)

Maybe the 2012 election will force Republicans to realize what Democrats have understood for a while: primaries are less about choosing the ideal candidate for the party's base, than about choosing a candidate who's going to appeal to swing voters in swing states. Huntsman, like President Obama, seems like the kind of person you'd expect to be the president of the United States in the year 2012 and beyond. Mitt Romney seems less like a modern-day president — or anyone the average American would expect to meet in their day-to-day lives — and more like someone who could have played the dad on the Donna Reed Show. (See the update at 8:58 in this live-blog from 2008.)


Joaquin said...

Future US Presidents will be the ones that hand-out the goodies to the poor, Blacks, and Latinos. It's not that complicated.
Future elections won't be about foreign policy, the economy, energy, or anything of any substance. It will be about the goodies. If I was your age, I'd be shitting my pants.

Anonymous said...

Huntsman would be great.

But I doubt the base will go there.

sean said...

After the 2004 election, there was a lot of Democratic soul-searching, but, in the end, the party nominated someone who was pretty far left and certainly doesn't hold a single unconventional left/liberal belief. Yet they have done fine. So history offers no argument that the Republicans either will or should change course.

Furthermore, there's no reason to think that some boring moderate establishmentarian would have done a lot better than Romney.