Huntsman ends his wrong-way bid for the GOP nomination

Jon Huntsman’s third-place finish in New Hampshire didn’t give him a “ticket to ride” very far. A slew of reports last night said Huntsman will drop out of the GOP race this morning and endorse the man he spent weeks in New Hampshire trying to tear down, Mitt Romney.

It wasn’t surprising that Huntsman’s chances were nil after he won just one in six voters in the state that received almost all his attention, particularly given that the vast majority of his voters in New Hampshire don’t consider themselves Republicans. And students of political campaigns will long marvel that even a man who planned to run as a moderate in his party’s primary thought he could win the nomination after displaying indifference and sometimes hostility toward the party’s base.

Given his record as governor of Utah and his economic proposals, Huntsman could have chosen to run to Romney’s right. He most likely would have done better. Now, it’s hard to believe his future as a Republican at the national level is terribly bright. If you think Romney has had a hard time convincing voters he’s a conservative after running as a liberal-to-moderate in Massachusetts in 1994 and 2002, imagine how much harder it would be for Huntsman to do the same when he was running as a liberal-to-moderate in a Republican presidential primary in 2012.

Besides running along the wrong flank of the party, Huntsman never made the case for himself as an indispensable leader. Like Tim Pawlenty before him, Huntsman came off as compelling to a compellingly small number of voters. Again, Huntsman’s economic proposals were solid — but there was nothing about them that couldn’t be adopted by Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or any other candidate who chose to do so. Heck, Huntsman pretty much adopted the tax plan of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson anyway.

I doubt this development has much of an effect on the race. There aren’t many “Huntsman voters” for the other candidates to collect, although I suspect the majority of them will in fact go to Romney. One definite impact: The five remaining candidates will each have a little more face time during tonight’s debate. Will any of them gain an advantage from that?

In the next few days, you will see much hand-wringing in the press — not to mention among the more liberal denizens of this blog — to the effect that Huntsman’s failure signals an ideological hard-headedness within the Republican Party. Please. This is the party that nominated John McCain in 2008 and is, in all likelihood, about to nominate Mitt Romney in 2012. It is not making a hard-right turn. Jon Huntsman’s presidential bid didn’t fail because of the GOP; it failed because of Jon Huntsman.

– By Kyle Wingfield

110 comments Add your comment

Joel Edge

January 16th, 2012
5:59 am

“and is, in all likelihood, about to nominate Mitt Romney in 2012″
Yep. Apparently we didn’t learn anything from the McCain debacle. It kinda makes me wonder how many times we’re going to try and appease the left before we get our act together.

ByteMe

January 16th, 2012
6:21 am

particularly given that the vast majority of his voters in New Hampshire don’t consider themselves Republicans

Any particular state in the entire country have a majority of voters who consider themselves “Republicans”? Turns out there’s only one (Wyoming) or maybe two (Utah). In every other state in the nation, there’s no registered party affiliation or Republicans are not a majority.

Ridiculous to use that clause as a “particularly” when it is barely ever true anyway.

As to Huntsman… he’s too much like Romney on the surface (Mormon, not willing to throw social conservative “meat” to the braying jackasses), but he doesn’t excite anyone and Romney had spent more time running for President. Like McCain before him, “it’s Romney’s turn”… to lose. The rest are just a sideshow used to sell tampons on news networks.

Karl Marx

January 16th, 2012
6:21 am

I said all along it would be Romney. It means I’ll be voting “against” rather than “for” someone for president. Anybody but Obama in November.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

January 16th, 2012
6:28 am

Joel, different times, different situations, and different people involved.

This is not a right-wing country. It is moderate-right.

In 2008, you had no incumbent running, and a party in power being perceived as being the problem for a recession. In 2012, you have an incumbent running who hasn’t done anything meaningful to get us out of that recession.

In 2008, you had two Senators running for President, neither of who displayed any ability to work with the opposite party to fix Washington, D.C. In 2012, you have a President who has failed to work with the opposite party, and a likely nominee who has a proven record of working with the opposite party.

In 2008 you had an inarticulate, un-telegenic candidate with a questionable running mate. In 2012 you got a likely nominee who looks good, speaks well, and has a successful career in the private sector creating jobs.

In 2008, you ran against “Hope and Change”. In 2012, you run against “Change that Failed”.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

January 16th, 2012
6:31 am

“In every other state in the nation, there’s no registered party affiliation or Republicans are not a majority.”

I’d be surprised if you could find a single state where registered Democrats are a majority, ByteMe.

Joel Edge

January 16th, 2012
6:39 am

Tiberius@6:28
What hasn’t changed is the media support of our current president and his party. After Romney is the nominee, do you actually think this ‘proven record’ nominee will fare any different than McCain? Talk about believing in hope.

ByteMe

January 16th, 2012
6:49 am

@Tiberius: 5 of them. Maryland, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. And, of course, DC itself, although that’s not a “real” state. Numbers from the states themselves and compiled by someone at Wikipedia, so it’s possible to check them yourself.

As I wrote: I wouldn’t use such a rare occurrance as the “particularly” to improve your argument, because it’s like saying “particularly because the sun doesn’t rise in the west in NH”. How about “particularly because NH has a moderate/libertarian voter base that was best suited to Huntsman’s moderate/libertarian message”?

jconservative

January 16th, 2012
6:52 am

“Please. This is the party that nominated John McCain in 2008 and is, in all likelihood, about to nominate Mitt Romney in 2012. It is not making a hard-right turn.”

And, I might add, the party that twice nominated a liberal George W Bush and a liberal George H W Bush and re-elected a liberal Ronald Reagan. (I give Reagan a pass as a conservative in the 1980 election. He only became liberal after taking his oath of office in Jan 1981.)

The Republican Party only talks about “hard-right turns”, it does not in fact ever make one. So, as a result, we have had big government liberalism in Washington, DC for the past 79 years. But all one has heard from Republicans for the last 79 years is that the “country is turning conservative”.
If it is, it is a mighty slow turn.

And if one looks just at the legislation signed into law, the most conservative president we have had since Herbert Hoover was Bill Clinton!

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

January 16th, 2012
6:56 am

Joel, your reply is a moot point. Do you think “the media” would be supportive of a more conservative nominee? Of course not.

Moderates had a choice to vote for one established “moderate” in McCain in 2008, or a perceived moderate in Obama. They chose what they considered the lesser of two evils (and the more attractive of the two). There was also an energized first-time young vote in 2008 which will not be present in 2012. Additionally conservatives sat on their hands in 2008; they won’t make the same mistake in 2012, even if Romney is nominated. Polls show the biggest reason for voting FOR the GOP nominee is who is given the best shot at beating Obama.

That is not to say that Romney being the nominee will be a cakewalk. This election will come down to 5 key states’ electoral votes, with the eventual difference being less than 20 electoral votes in my opinion. But I still think it is Romney’s to lose given the mood of the electorate.

ByteMe

January 16th, 2012
6:57 am

In 2008, you had two Senators running for President, neither of who displayed any ability to work with the opposite party to fix Washington, D.C.

So you forgot McCain/Feingold already? And Republicans in the Senate and in the Illinois state house have said on more than one occasion that Obama was more than willing to talk across the aisle to get some legislation done.

Jon Huntsman to exit 2012 race – CBS…

January 16th, 2012
7:04 am

[...] 10, 2012, in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Getty Images) Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman …Huntsman ends his wrong-way bid for the GOP nominationAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Huntsman ends his campaignWashington Post (blog)Huntsman to Drop [...]

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 16th, 2012
7:29 am

Running to the left of Romney not only goes against the grain of the GOP, it’s downright un-American.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

January 16th, 2012
7:29 am

ByteMe, one disastrous piece of legislation does not a ‘working with the opposition” make in 2012, as that was done YEARS ago. And while he MAY have been willing (who knows as he did virtually NOTHING in the IL Senate) to talk across the aisle, he’s shown no ability nor willingness to do so in his term as President. Get caught up with the present, will you?

Old Hippie

January 16th, 2012
7:32 am

Kyle, Kyle, Kyle, your GOP made a hard-right turn when it elected Bush-Cheney. And what did that get us – an unnecessary war in Iraq, an eleven year war in Afghanistan that should have been over in six months (if Bush hadn’t tied the military’s hands), the unconstitutional Patriot Act, and the worst economic disaster since 1929.

I’m not happy with everything Obama has done, but he’s the incumbent, he’s raised more money than God (and has spent little so far), and the economy is tracking back up. Romney will lose on a scale of Goldwater or Landon.

Ayn Rant

January 16th, 2012
7:55 am

Right! Huntsman is too intelligent, too experienced, too sophisticated, and too dignified for the party of Hoover, Nixon, and Bush.

What don’t responsible politicians like Huntsman of Utah, Martinez of New Mexico, and Jindal of Louisiana just unload all the neo-con bull of the former Southern Democrat, former Dixiecrat, now Republican Party, and form a real conservative, pro-American third party?

Probably, the big money that controls American politics wouldn’t allow it!

ByteMe

January 16th, 2012
8:07 am

Get caught up with the present, will you?

You should read what you wrote. You discussed who they were in 2008 not who they are now. So… maybe you should be more gracious in your wrongness.

Baker

January 16th, 2012
8:20 am

Speaking Mandarin should’ve been a huge asset, but if you watched Bret Baier after that New Hamp debate, you would’ve thought it was a drawback. Very upsetting how easily the Repub primary voters as xenophobes theme can be perpetuated.

glenn

January 16th, 2012
8:28 am

Yeah . When you appease your base you get candidates like John Kerry . How did that workout for the Democrats ? If you can’t win the moderates . You know the voters with sense . You can’t get elected . So when Romney runs to the middle after he smells the nomination I highly doubt you will chastise him for it . Huntsman will have many options Republican party or not . He is a very bright man . I would be willing to bet there are plenty of opportunities available for a man that speaks Chinese fluently .

Streetracer

January 16th, 2012
8:29 am

Old Hippie:

And where does Obama’s money come from? Those 1% types like Goldman-sachs, MF Global (weren’t they the ones that “misplaced” more than a billion $ of investor funds?), Kaiser (again the Kaiser Family Foundation was one of the biggest investors in Solyndra, and managed to restructure the Gov’t loan such that private investors would be paid before taxpayers in case of default). The list is long, but you should get the idea. The present administration is about cronyism, maintaining status quo, and buying votes from the do-nothings.

Really?

January 16th, 2012
8:36 am

sound of crickets …

Ayn Rant

January 16th, 2012
8:49 am

Fluent Mandarin and a billionaire dad are keys to success in 21st Century America! Lucky Huntsman!

Why did he jump into that snakepit of politics, in the first place?

Road Scholar

January 16th, 2012
8:49 am

Streetracer: And the Repub money comes from trailer parks? Get real. Business is behind a majority of the funding…why are there PACS? to hide the roots of their donors!

If Ga is to have additional ethics law/rules, in addition to limiting gifts, get rid of PACS. They give the Mafia a good name!

Kyle Wingfield

January 16th, 2012
9:00 am

ByteMe: Um, it was a *Republican* primary. It stands to reason that his performance among *Republicans* there would be instructive about his chances going forward of winning the *Republican* nomination.

Baker: I think Huntsman’s mistake re: his Mandarin ability was thinking it would play well to flaunt it in a debate.

Atlien

January 16th, 2012
9:05 am

Huntsman was only in the race to get name recognition when he runs against Clinton in 2016.

When you look at demographics and the right wing people who are turned off by crony capitalism, I don’t think Romney has a chance.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
9:13 am

Huntsman was MSNBC’s choice. Mika Brawhateverherlastnameis was in love with him.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
9:16 am

” Jon Huntsman’s presidential bid didn’t fail because of the GOP; it failed because of Jon Huntsman.”

Absolutely. Obama will most likely win in November simply because the GOP has nothing to offer. Romney’s record as governor is horrible. Gingrich is a moron. Perry makes himself look dumber every day just by speaking. I like Santorum but the guy has no executive experience.

I think the a-listers are waiting until 2016 to run since none of them want to inherit Obama’s mess.

carlosgvv

January 16th, 2012
9:16 am

When Huntsman announced his candidacy last year, almost all of us knew he had no chance whatsoever to win. And yet, he’s just now finding this out. Hope must spring eternal in political candidates.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
9:17 am

Kyle, what do you think about Romney?

Mccain just endorsed Romney which is funny because Romney lost to Mccain who lost to Obama.

hryder

January 16th, 2012
9:55 am

Vote all elected officials out of office in November, 2012. Realize also that the vast majority of the so called “neutral” media are unwitting, or if aware they are flat out baldface liars incapable of viewing reality unbiasedly. Obama is without peer as the least competent individual elected to the highest office in the USA.

DannyX

January 16th, 2012
10:10 am

Today in South Carolina Marilyn will announce she is leaving the Munsters.

“It has dawned on me that my family is very scary,” Marilyn said. They are all very creepy and I really don’t want to be around them anymore. I don’t fit in with these very strange people.”

wallbanger

January 16th, 2012
10:30 am

I think I may be glad I am losing my hearing. I can’t stand the thought of Obama’s smirking face and all the syncophants behind him idolizing and clapping for this idiot night after night on my television set. I figure I will be doing a lot of reading rather than tv watching during this race. My vote is for Romney. He led a clean life, has a good family, is smart, knows how the economy works, and has a “background” that is “transparent” unlike our Manchurian candidate.

ylojkt

January 16th, 2012
10:38 am

Tiberius, where do you get this idea from?
“And while he MAY have been willing (who knows as he did virtually NOTHING in the IL Senate) to talk across the aisle, he’s shown no ability nor willingness to do so in his term as President. Get caught up with the present, will you?”
Sadly, pretty much all Obama has done during his presidency is cater to the republicans, so much so that any one of his landmark policies that he ran on to get elected turns into a big mess that nobody wants. Healthcare, anyone?
What this country needed was someone with the balls to say no to them and do what was necessary to right the ship, Obama tried to pacify them and lost his base because of it. I’m no Obama fan and did not vote for him, but he would have won a lot of favor with me if he had taken the reins firmly and spoke truth in the halls of congress. As it is, he is the same as GW Bush.
Ron Paul would seem to be America’s only hope in this election.

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

January 16th, 2012
10:54 am

While the fear-and-hate-filled racist and xenophobe “conservatives” on this blog, of which there are legion, continue casting aspersions, lies, slander and calumny towards the POTUS; decent folks are celebrating a drum major for justice, arguably the greatest American that ever lived, Martin Luther King Jr.

So keep banging your drums of hate, fear, ignorance, and sheer stupidity, my so-called conservative “friends” – we may just end up back in the stone age you seem to long for, man against man, dog eat dog, the war of all against all. You’re just a mob of cretins, a lynch mob at that.

Be careful what you wish for – I can’t see many of you making it past the first round.

@@

January 16th, 2012
10:58 am

Watching Huntsman answer the question “What will you do about immigrants taking our best jobs when our own college graduates are left without?”

His response? “I’ll encourage them to stay.”

??????????????

Too many politicians are transmitters, not receivers.

Huntsman seems like a nice enough fella but 我就不會錯過他

@@

January 16th, 2012
10:59 am

Oops! My Chinese didn’t pan out.

Oh well…

ByteMe

January 16th, 2012
11:08 am

ByteMe: Um, it was a *Republican* primary. It stands to reason that his performance among *Republicans* there would be instructive about his chances going forward of winning the *Republican* nomination.

Yeah, but YOU were the one who made the point that the state wasn’t “majority” Republican. And I’m pointing out that that’s a stupid point to try to hang your hat on, considering that at best only two states in the entire country are majority Republican.

And reading between the lines at what you don’t want to come right out and say but you allude to often, the Republican base in your eyes hates anything different (speaking Mandarin, for example) and anti-science (which Huntsman flaunted). What a party to want to be a part of….

JDW

January 16th, 2012
11:19 am

@Kyle…not surprisingly I disagree. The fact that a candidate of Huntsman’s qualifications was completely discounted by the Republican Party speaks volumes to the issues they and by extension our country face. In fact those issues are coming closer and closer to insuring that Obama will be easily reelected as he should given the substandard options put forth by the Republicans.

The problem is not that Huntsman ran at the wrong “flank” of the Party, the problem is that the Republican party has been fractured by a group of selfish, narrow minded hypocrites that are solely focused on the misguided notion that the less in taxes paid by those of us that are more fortunate the better it will be for country. Pssstt… I really don’t believe they are focused on the country just their own bank accounts.

As for McCain, yes he was nominated 8 years too late but was then compelled by those on the right to select Palin as a running mate thus dooming any possible chance he might have had. As for Romney, make any comments you like about his being a Massachusetts Moderate, but the fact is he has tacked to the extreme right on most every issue just to get elected. That makes him, as he always was, a panderer with no real core values other than those of “electability to the base”. The sad fact is that even with that wholesale selling of his soul 70% of the Republican Party prefers someone else.

As for there being no “turn to the right” by the Republicans, that turn started in 1994 and the pendulum continues to swing that way to the detriment of the Party and country.

Do yourself a favor and pick up Time this week. Nice piece on Buffet and why he is speaking out and what he would do. Of course I am sure the Republicans will continue to howl in dismay at his comments and tell us how “wrong” they are….after all Buffet really has a lousy track record when it comes to the big picture and understanding the levers of the economy.

In the final analysis, what the Republicans have lost is their core values. They no longer understand what the role of government should be as articulated by a Republican past that could not get elected today…

“The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities …. ”

The Republicans of today call that concept “Socialist” and that is the root of their issues.

Just Saying..

January 16th, 2012
11:31 am

I love how everyone keeps feeding Tiberius facts, even as it’s obvious facts are irrelevant compared to his massive intellect.

Kyle Wingfield

January 16th, 2012
11:56 am

ByteMe: That’s not what I said. I said the vast majority of his voters were not Republicans, not all N.H. voters.

And I dispute the characterization you’ve tried to pin on me. I think it is wholly possible to have a skill, such as speaking Mandarin, without flaunting it needlessly by speaking Mandarin to people who don’t also speak it. And I think it is wholly possible to take a different position on an issue, such as global warming, without belittling the people who disagree with that position. I infer from your posts over time that you don’t agree, but I think that’s your problem.

Kyle Wingfield

January 16th, 2012
12:09 pm

JDW: I’m not going to reply to your whole treatise, just the common but misguided notion that Palin sunk McCain’s candidacy. In fact, McCain’s best showings in head-to-head polls occurred in the days and weeks after Palin officially joined the ticket; he went from being down about 7 percentage points to being ahead or behind within the margin of error in most polls. His campaign wasn’t “doomed” until he suspended it to return to Washington to try to “solve” the financial crisis, the only effect of which was to demonstrate his inability to influence the proceedings. He was never closer than 5 points the rest of the way.

Jefferson

January 16th, 2012
12:11 pm

…leaving a bunch of nuts for the GOP nominee, the last voice of reason.

Kyle Wingfield

January 16th, 2012
12:12 pm

And, further to my 11:56: We are talking about a GOP primary. The GOP’s share of the entire electorate isn’t really relevant.

getalife

January 16th, 2012
12:14 pm

The cons decided on sanatarium but it is willard’s turn to lose to our President.

CNN went to willard’s birthplace in Mexico and they have a nice Mormon community there.

Where are willard’s papers?

Is oily working on this cover up?

willard is a Mexican Mormon.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
12:20 pm

“As for McCain, yes he was nominated 8 years too late but was then compelled by those on the right to select Palin as a running mate thus dooming any possible chance he might have had.”

If Palin was so bad, why did he pick her? It says more about him that it does about her.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
12:21 pm

ByteMe

You’re an Obama supporter, yes? If so, your rants are pointless since you’d never vote for a GOP candidate.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
12:21 pm

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

Did you forget to take your meds?

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
12:22 pm

getalife

Bookman misses you. Please get back over there.

Thanks

getalife

January 16th, 2012
12:24 pm

“getalife

Bookman misses you. Please get back over there.

Thanks”

Not tolerant of other American opinions?

Yes, I am a birther and want to see willard’s papers.

Good for the goose…….

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
12:26 pm

John Huntsman is about as conservative as Jimmy Carter is. John Huntsman was a gay marriage and global warming supporter. I love it how left wingers are all up in arms over Huntsman dropping out of the race. The guy was DOA the minute he gave his boring speech last year.

To whom it may concern

January 16th, 2012
12:27 pm

“Not tolerant of other American opinions?”

You don’t give opinions.