One good thing about having a GOP presidential field with no obvious standout candidate (Rick Perry’s rapid rise notwithstanding) is that the eventual nominee will have a host of policy prescriptions and political arguments to co-opt from the also-rans. For instance, Tim Pawlenty broke some ground by suggesting strongly that it’s time to stop subsidizing the production of ethanol from Iowa corn, even if he didn’t make it long enough as a candidate to see the idea to implementation.
Along those lines, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman may be polling around 1 percent, but he’s got a top-tier plan to free up the private economy.
Huntsman unveiled the plan last week to rave reviews on the right. Among the highlights:
There’s a lot of common ground between Huntsman’s plan and the other candidate plan that’s been laid out in detail: Newt Gingrich’s. Specifically, the two agree on ending the capital gains tax; cutting the corporate income tax (though Gingrich would lower it to 12.5 percent); simplifying and flattening individual income taxes (Gingrich favors a flat 15 percent rate); repealing Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley; privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and modernizing the FDA.
The ground that Huntsman very conspicuously did not tread onto: entitlement reform. Gingrich included it in his “Jobs and the Economy” plan, and it’s possible that Huntsman will deal with it under a different policy heading. But the much-discussed Paul Ryan plan from the House GOP almost certainly means the eventual Republican nominee will have to take a stand on dealing with Social Security and Medicare.
Mitt Romney is due to release his jobs plan today, so we’ll see where his ideas overlap with the other candidates’. But the common ground outlined above suggests an emerging policy consensus among the GOP candidates that most likely will contrast sharply with the one President Obama proposes in his joint address to Congress on Thursday.
– By Kyle Wingfield