Questions for Jon Huntsman as he kicks off 2012 campaign

The GOP field for 2012 added another official contestant today when former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman formally launched his campaign. As with most of the other candidates, there was no surprise involved in his pre-announced announcement. But there’s still some mystery as to what kind — and caliber — candidate Huntsman ultimately will be.

Reviewing Huntsman’s questionable prospects at NRO, Jim Geraghty noted that Huntsman’s resume ought to make him a “dream” candidate for Republicans:

● Staff Assistant, Pres. Ronald Reagan

● Ambassador to Singapore

● Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

● Two-term governor, elected in two landslides

● Signed into law the largest tax cut in his state’s history

● From 2005 to 2010, his state’s economy expanded by 3.5 percent annually, second-fastest in the nation and three and a half times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole

● Enacted a health-care reform that raised the legal standard for malpractice claims

● Enacted the most expansive school-voucher program in the country and three pieces of pro-life legislation

● Married, seven children, two adopted

● A financial net worth that makes self-funding a possibility, or at least suggests that his campaign is unlikely to run low on cash

One of Huntsman’s problems is that, as Geraghty says, “few [modern] presidential candidates have worked for their prospective opponent” and fewer still have gone on to defeat their former boss. Huntsman, of course, was ambassador to China for President Obama for almost two years.

Huntsman is trying to take advantage of his time in Beijing by playing up his foreign-policy credentials, which allows him to stake out much different territory than most of the other contenders. But unless one of our Mideast wars really flares up or there’s a big terrorist attack between now and Election Day, this GOP primary and general election are going to be fought on domestic issues.

To that end, Ryan Streeter at the U.S. version of the website Conservative Home has five questions for the newly minted candidate:

Will you be tough enough?

Will you have distinctive ideas, things you are for, that will make you stand out from the others?

What do you know about job creation?

How will you be the un-Romney?

How will you kill the RINO?

Of these questions, the second is most interesting. Here’s how Streeter fleshes it out:

Huntsman has made clear in statements about Afghanistan that we should bring troops home, that we shouldn’t stay and play “traffic cop.” He opposes Pawlenty-ish growth targets, telling Ramesh Ponnuru he prefers instead for government to “create the environment for growth” (a rather standard Republican line), and he favors a hands-off approach on pressuring China on its currency, believing the issue will take care of itself. So far, Huntsman seems to have characterized himself through an avoidance of strong stances on issues. Where he has been clear, such as on entitlements, it’s been to back someone else’s idea (the Ryan plan). The question now becomes, what will be the thing that sets Huntsman apart, that makes him worth paying attention to? Can he paint a picture of a future people want to live in?

Well, that’s a pretty good question for all the candidates — Obama included.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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37 comments Add your comment

Carlosgvv

June 21st, 2011
11:25 am

The only question you should ask is – will you stand on your own and not be bought and paid for by Big Business and The Military Industrial Complex? If so, he is certainly one unique Republican.

Dave R.

June 21st, 2011
11:25 am

My issue with Huntsman is who the people are that are behind him; namely Bush and Washington insider inner circle folks.

Don’t like either of them one bit.

jt

June 21st, 2011
11:26 am

War criminal and Rockefeller Progressive Republican Henry Kissenger endorses Mr. Huntsman.

.
No further questions needed.

.
Ron Paul 2012.

Lee Weber

June 21st, 2011
11:31 am

Couple of thoughts:

1) Huntsman was asked by a voter in Fla. if he would “attack and eviscerate” Obama. Huntsman reply “No, that’s a recipe for losing to him.” (paraphrase.) Huntsman doesn’t have to “eviscerate” Obama personally, just his policies. Reagan and Clinton didn’t eviscerate their incumbent opponents but they did aggressively attack their policies. (T-Paw, you listening?)

2) Huntsman needs to spin his China experience away from serving in the Obama Adm. (politics stops at the water’s edge, or should) and toward an approach that argues that he knows and understands the Chinese and can fight them on the economic front.

3) He also needs to talk up his Western state status. A liberal friend in Montana has said some nice things about him. He won’t vote for him, but some swing voters in important Western states the GOP needs (think CO.) will.

OK, I’ll now turn it over to the “anyone who doesn’t hate Obama personally is a RINO” crowd.

jconservative

June 21st, 2011
11:53 am

Lee Weber at 11:31.

Solid comments.

Some Republican must be able to appear as “presidential” during the general election. I am not sure that appearing “presidential” will win the Republican nomination. I am not sure Republican primary voters will be voting for the next president but will instead vote for the best “voice” for their particular single issue.

ByteMe

June 21st, 2011
11:58 am

The real question surrounding a Huntsman candidacy: are you running for 2012 or 2016?

He’s trying to triangulate the GOP crowd from the left, which likely means 2016.

HDB

June 21st, 2011
11:59 am

Questions I would like to ask ANY Republican Candidate:

1) Why do Republicans believe that minorities are not constituents..as exampled by SB 1070 and anti-Affirmative statutes?

2) Why doesn’t the GOP practice the same form of altrusim to the general population, i.e., unemployment insurance, education, et. al., as it does to business?

3) Why does the GOP ignore the problems in the cities…and rather placate those in rural America more?

4) Why does the GOP vote lockstep with ANY Republican proposal…particularly those that HURT the middle class?

5) Why is there limited minority involvement in the GOP?

I’d LOVE to hear these answers…TRUTHFULLY!!!

HDB

June 21st, 2011
11:59 am

Questions I would like to ask ANY Republican Candidate:

1) Why do Republicans believe that minorities are not constituents..as exampled by SB 1070 and anti-Affirmative statutes?

2) Why doesn’t the GOP practice the same form of altrusim to the general population, i.e., unemployment insurance, education, et. al., as it does to business?

3) Why does the GOP ignore the problems in the cities…and rather placate those in rural America more?

4) Why does the GOP vote lockstep with ANY Republican proposal…particularly those that HURT the middle class?

5) Why is there limited minority involvement in the GOP?

I’d LOVE to hear these answers…TRUTHFULLY!!!

Lee Weber

June 21st, 2011
12:00 pm

@Dave R. and @jt…As Reagan used to say “I didn’t endorse them, they endorsed me.”

jconservative..right back at-cha. GOP needs a Al Davis strategy this time around. “Just win, baby.” Any R is preferable to the current occupant of the WH. Single issue voters seem to forget that four years is a long, long time. If you don’t like Obama now, wait until he doesn’t have to worry about re-election.

that's goofy

June 21st, 2011
12:06 pm

How did the GOP go from Reagan and his Big Tent to the Conservative: Kill the RINO? Since I think for myself and refuse to follow the Conservative philosophy I can’t be a Republican.

Fletch

June 21st, 2011
12:10 pm

Huntsman might actually get me to vote again. Growing up in Utah, the Huntsman name is well known and respected. He was an excellent Governor for the state of Utah. I’ve met him several times while skiing in Park City,and he is very genuine and down to earth. Unlike the current train wreck that passes for the GOP offering of presidential candidates, Huntsman actually brings legitimate game to the 2012 race. I have always said that I vote for people and not for parties. If Huntsman is on the ballot, he would most definitely get my vote. Go Johnny!

Harvey Schock

June 21st, 2011
12:15 pm

I actually like the guy, and think that he has a heck of a shot in 2016. It will be an open field, and he is a breath of fresh air from the Republican party. I like his background, and resume. I would vote for him in a heartbeat in 2016.

And he doesn’t need to spend his time working with Obama. It shows that he is willing to work with both sides of the aisle. That speaks volumes.

Logical Dude

June 21st, 2011
12:23 pm

quoted: Will you have distinctive ideas, things you are for, that will make you stand out from the others?

This is a good question because, to me, all the Republican right now don’t have any original ideas. They wait for Obama to say something, and THEN use all their screen time to say how bad it is. . . even if it’s an original conservative idea!

Alas, I look forward to Huntsman bringing up the quality of GOP candidates. Romney (so far) is the only one with the qualities to be President, but someone else may surprise me. Unfortunately, it seems Romney’s baggage is that he’s too close to the center for many Republicans.

Fletch

June 21st, 2011
12:25 pm

Harvey Schock – “It shows that he is willing to work with both sides of the aisle. That speaks volumes.”

Absolutely!I can tell you from experience what Huntsman is not:

He is not a partisan hack. He believes in working with both the left and the right to attain an outcome that is in the interest of all the peolple, not just his party.

He is not a media hound. He is approachable, and is willing to study both sides of an issue before making a determination.

He excels in debate. By that, I mean he actually can discuss the issues intelligently without the need to rip his opponent down in order to get his point across.

He doesn’t engage in name calling. For the party faithful on here, I’m afraid you will never hear him use the words obummer, obozo, idiot messiah, hussein, oblahblah, etc…

He believes in serving the best interests of the people not his party.

Again, excellent candidate!

Fletch

June 21st, 2011
12:29 pm

Logical Dude – “They wait for Obama to say something, and THEN use all their screen time to say how bad it is. . . even if it’s an original conservative idea!”

Pretty much my problem with politicians from both sides. Take Obama out of the equation and replace him with any figure left or right. That’s why I like Huntsman, he doesn’t need to resort to “shock” value or negativity to get people to listen to his ideas. Also, he looks at everything from the perspective of his opponent and genuinely belives that compromise is always the best solution.

Rob Woodall loves his healthcare because its free, loves that yours puts you in the poor house when you have a catastrophic health event

June 21st, 2011
12:44 pm

The only worthwhile question for any republican is “Can you make yourself seem far enough to the right during the (southern & mid-west) primaries and then seem more of a centrist during the general election?

Whoever can pull that off has a shot at knocking off the President.

Whoever cannot need not apply.

citizen

June 21st, 2011
1:07 pm

The purist form of an idea is at its genesis. The american experiment with capitalism has had many twist and turns but we have endured because of our belief in ourselves. Our determination and self-reliance have served us well and will serve us again if we convince enough individuals that we, not the government, are the masters of our own destiny. The wheels of government turn slowly. I want a Chris Cristy as my president.

Dave R.

June 21st, 2011
2:16 pm

“1) Why do Republicans believe that minorities are not constituents..as exampled by SB 1070 and anti-Affirmative statutes?”

They don’t believe that. That you believe that they do doesn’t make it right.

“2) Why doesn’t the GOP practice the same form of altrusim to the general population, i.e., unemployment insurance, education, et. al., as it does to business?”

They do.

“3) Why does the GOP ignore the problems in the cities…and rather placate those in rural America more?”

They don’t.

“4) Why does the GOP vote lockstep with ANY Republican proposal…particularly those that HURT the middle class?”

They don’t.

“5) Why is there limited minority involvement in the GOP?”

Ignorant minorities?

Independents

June 21st, 2011
3:03 pm

If Huntsman can make it past the nut jobs in the primaries, I think he can win over all the independent voters and take the election. Here’s hoping the primaries don’t leave us with two extereme options and no one for the middle ground…..as usual.

RGB

June 21st, 2011
3:05 pm

Too bad HDB equates throwing dollars at select minority groups and implementing open borders as good for anybody.

His insinuation is that liberals are “good” to minorities apparently because Democrats talk down to them. Remember Hillary Clinton speaking in a black church with a fake black accent intoning “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired”? People with any self regard should find that insulting and patronizing.

I hope that HDB thinks about his “questions” and concludes that Democrats–and especially President Obama–aren’t good for minorities or other Americans.

Minority unemployment has skyrocketed under Obama and food stamp usage is at an all-time high. To libs, the food stamp figure would be a sure sign that Obama “cares”. I think we’ve had enough caring. What we need is jobs, an improving economy, and rising housing and stock markets. Democrats’ only plan is more spending and more taxes. That hasn’t worked anywhere in history and isn’t working in America.

Are you willing to double-down on a failed plan?

Junior Samples

June 21st, 2011
4:06 pm

I’ll admit that Huntsman has the best chance.
Unless he pulls a Howard Dean moment….

MrLiberty

June 21st, 2011
4:09 pm

Huntsman Who? The fact that the media and folks like you Kyle are in love with this guy means nothing – and everything – all at once. Still just another status quo guy. Been there done that.

Ron Paul 2012.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 21st, 2011
4:14 pm

Question for Huntsman: once inaugurated, how long before you remove the parasites from the taxpayers’ wallet?

MrLiberty

June 21st, 2011
4:34 pm

It seems like what every republican wants is anyone who won’t have the courage to tell them the truth. Plenty of folks like that already in the race.

Jefferson

June 21st, 2011
5:33 pm

Throw something on the wall and see if it will stick !!! What a bunch of misfits — will they make each other mad or lie and get in line ?

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 21st, 2011
5:58 pm

Hmm…methinks it’s the “Social Security and Medicare aren’t broke” Democrats who prefer candidates who feed their need for denial.

Ayn Rand

June 21st, 2011
6:17 pm

Kyle, thanks for raising an important subject: getting the candidates to focus on real issues. Here are some questions to determine whether a candidate understands anything at all about the economy:

- How much longer do you think the US can run big federal budget deficits before our creditors refuse to lend for fear of default?

- Over how many years should a deficit reduction plan stretch to the point of zero federal deficit?

- How can we Americans maintain our standard of living without federal deficit spending, which constitutes 14% of our GDP and sustains 14% of our jobs?

- How likely is the private sector to invest in business startups and expansions that will create jobs to replace those lost by cutting the federal deficit? Explain why investors would risk their capital in an economy that is 14% poorer as a result of eliminating the federal deficit.

- What are your priorities for “sharing the pain” of cutting federal spending to balance the budget? Would you reduce or eliminate the income supplements and the medical benefits of the elderly and the indigent? Would you cut back on the military spending programs to develop and acquire weapons suitable for another Cold War? Would you grant the mega-rich and the mega-corporations more tax cuts in the hope that they will invest their surplus wealth in American industry and commerce rather than in speculative financial instruments like derivatives and hedge funds?

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 21st, 2011
6:22 pm

Ayn, I look forward to hearing the Idiot Messiah’s answer to these questions, especially since he’s caused most of the problems you allude to.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 21st, 2011
6:42 pm

Another question for Huntsman; Why are you running for the Republican nomination and not the dummycrat, oh yeah, obozo has got that one locked up.

Can you say RINO?

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 21st, 2011
8:50 pm

“compromise is always the best solution”
————————–

Compromise on the Holocaust would have meant three million Jews would have been murdered instead of six million.

Compromise on Obozocare would have meant only half of what the Idiot Messiah told us about it would have been BS, instead of pretty much all of it.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

June 21st, 2011
9:23 pm

Well, Wingfield’s nuttier than a fruitcake if he thinks I’m voting for a guy that wears Special Underwear and is a Mormon to boot. Give me somebody that’s against abortion, for war, for big tax cuts, against welfare for the old coots and welfare queens, and will say no to the people that want gay marriage. I want my country back. Just keep your guvmint hands off of my Medicare.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 21st, 2011
9:29 pm

No one’s for war, Red.

Fletch

June 21st, 2011
10:04 pm

LBB – “Compromise on the Holocaust would have meant three million Jews would have been murdered instead of six million.

Compromise on Obozocare would have meant only half of what the Idiot Messiah told us about it would have been BS, instead of pretty much all of it.

I’m very familiar with Huntsman and his political career as well as his accomplishments. As previously posted, I’v met him on several occasions and found him to be one of the best representatives in recent years. He’s a solid GOP candidate, what seems to be your issue with him?

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 21st, 2011
10:21 pm

Don’t know anything about him. Why do you ask?

Fletch

June 21st, 2011
10:23 pm

You re-posted this from my descrition of Huntsman when he was governor of my home state of Utah ““compromise is always the best solution”
It lead me to believe that you had some sort of issue with Huntsman.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 22nd, 2011
6:05 am

No, I have an issue with compromise.

Dave R.

June 22nd, 2011
6:18 am

And just from a political analyst viewpoint, this guy has zero speaking presence. No inflection, higher pitched than normal, lacking emotion and leadership style.

How is anyone going to vote for someone who cannot inspire them?

We’re elected a leader. not a policy wonk.