Huntsman One Step Closer to Running

posted at 10:01 am on May 4, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Jon Huntsman got another dose of White House love at the correspondents dinner this weekend when the president referred to him as, “my buddy, Jon.” While it’s always nice to have friends, that’s probably one friendship the ambassador could do without, particularly since he has now formed his own exploratory committee for a run to take his old boss’s job.

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman took his first step toward a presidential run Tuesday, creating a federal political action committee that will allow him to travel and raise money in the weeks before he’s expected to formally announce a bid.

Moving swiftly since his return to Washington from Beijing Friday, Huntsman filed paperwork with the Federal Election Committee to begin “H PAC.” In the event he runs, the organization will be the last placeholder before he announces a full-blown campaign.

File this one away as yet another of the worst kept secrets in DC. Of course, as we’ve already seen with other expected candidates like Haley Barbour, setting up your PAC and exploratory committee doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to announce. Huntsman still has several very steep hills to climb.

First of all, his name recognition is still essentially zilch outside of political wonk circles. In the recent “dark horse poll” we referenced here previously, even if you take out all of the front runners, Huntsman still only rings up 3% support. The vast majority of the country still hasn’t even heard of him.

Further, if the responses of the Hot Air community in various polls here are anything to judge by, the base is looking for a confrontational warrior who is ready to take Obama on in an aggressive fashion. Taking a job working for the guy these past couple years doesn’t precisely lend itself to that kind of image coming out of the gate.

But yet again, it’s important to remember that we’re still very early in the process. If Huntsman can raise some serious cash, build a national team and start introducing himself to the general public, who knows? He seems to be a fairly charismatic figure with solid resume, but we’ll have to hear a lot more from him before he’ll have a chance at making the sale.


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Huntsman just got the Jimmy Carter seal of approval in a story over at CNN. (Although he said he would still vote for Obama). This means that the White House WANTS Huntsman to be the nominee. Talk about the kiss of death. Jimmy Carter just planted a big, wet one on Huntsman’s cheek. Good riddance if you ask me.

Dan Pet on May 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

You can practically see the media playing with your brain as you jump from one thing to the next.

petunia on May 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Unlike all of the commenters who said “Who?” and “Tell me about him”, I went and did a fast read on Wikipedia.

His resume sounds good on paper, he seems to have been very popular as governor and did a good job of cutting taxes. However, he also ran up the spending and seems to quit, rather than finish a job. He quit his second term as governor to be Obama’s ambassador to China, then quit that after less than 18 months to supposedly run for president. The high school thing shouldn’t be held against him, formal public school is not for everyone and he did eventually go to college and get his degree, although he switched from the University of Utah to the University of Pennsylvania.

He did the CEO/executive thing for the family business, with no education to back it up (his degree is in International Politics).

I think the fawning letters about Obama and the Carter kiss of death are the real killers to his campaign. Ick.

Common Sense on May 4, 2011 at 3:20 PM

lexhamfox on May 4, 2011 at 12:55 PM

You’ll have to forgive me if I decide not to worry about what the media and the left think of the best Republican candidate for President, whoever he/she may turn out to be. I’d rather put forward that candidate than put forward someone like Huntsman who has spent the past few years with his nose up Obama’s backside.

AubieJon on May 4, 2011 at 3:34 PM

lexhamfox on May 4, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Sorry about the strike-thru. It’s still readable.

AubieJon on May 4, 2011 at 3:36 PM

rrpjr on May 4, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Thanks for the “insight” but let’s leave trying to wish fantasies into reality to the professionals who currently hold the White House and Senate.

galenrox on May 4, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Thanks for the “insight”
galenrox on May 4, 2011 at 3:49 PM

It really wasn’t much of an insight. The RINO spoor is so obvious by now a blind pigeon with vertigo and a ruptured septum could find it.

1. Fear above all things the media and Left’s narrative powers.
2. Bow before the oracles of “electability.”
3. Don’t ever risk true and scandalous conservatism on the delicate sensibilities of “moderates”.

PS. The anachronistic construct called a “Huntsman” has as much chance in 2012 as Evan Bayh does switching parties and running on the GOP ticket.

rrpjr on May 4, 2011 at 4:12 PM

AubieJon on May 4, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I did not mention caring about the media or the left but I think an angry, spiteful campaign which only caters to the far right is doomed to resulting in a second term (yeah I know… wrong place to suggest that).

lexhamfox on May 4, 2011 at 4:45 PM

rrpjr on May 4, 2011 at 4:12 PM

I know what you’re talking about. What you’re missing is that to an extent it’s based on fact. Sarah Palin, for example, cannot win. It’s in the bag, if we nominate her we will lose by a much larger margin than we lost in ’08. The media does have the ability to shape media, partly because the media is in the tank and partly because conservatives govern and liberals campaign.
Part of this is I really don’t care in the least about social issues. Free trade home and abroad, sound fiscal and monetary policy and strong national defense and I’m happy, so I don’t mind moderates so long as they moderate on the things I don’t care about.

Here’s the bottom line: right now the GOP primary field looks like the Nevada senate primary in 2009. Low hanging fruit dangling over a bunch of oompa loompas.

Moreover, the country is not purely divided up into left and right. It’s a bell curve, with a bunch of people who don’t really care about politics, who are somewhat skeptical of the media but if the media points out something that sounds pretty bad, they’ll buy into it in the middle. If someone other than Obama is going to be inaugurated in 2013 it’s going to be because we nominated someone who’s closer to the middle of our caucus than Obama is to the middle of his (and when Dems are polled, equal numbers will say he’s “too conservative” and he’s “too liberal”).

I’m not saying we should nominate Dick Lugar, but I am saying we should nominate who comes across as Presidential and has a fighting chance at the middle that will ultimately decide who the next President will be. If someone other than Huntsman who meets those conditions comes along, great. Haven’t seen him/her yet.

galenrox on May 4, 2011 at 5:38 PM

What you’re missing is that to an extent it’s based on fact. Sarah Palin, for example, cannot win.
galenrox on May 4, 2011 at 5:38 PM

You give away your game off the bat. “Palin can’t win” isn’t a “fact,” it’s a postulate.

The rest is defeatist sweepings from the RINO gristmills of false and busted narratives. For example, everything here was also said about the hopelessness of Ronald Reagan’s candidacy in 1979. He ended up winning more democrat voters than any republican candidate in modern history.

rrpjr on May 4, 2011 at 6:13 PM

rrpjr on May 4, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Sarah Palin’s polling around Trump in generals and the % with no opinion on her is next to 0. Barring a major game changer there’s not much room for movement because most have made up their minds about her.
Ronald Reagan was one of, if not the most effective political communicaters in the last 2 centuries, do you see any Ronald Reagans in this bunch? I sure as hell don’t.

galenrox on May 4, 2011 at 7:17 PM

“Electable” candidates never win. A perusal of the last few decades will show that the people sported as “electable” are people who worked hard to be inoffensive and risk-averse.
In my political memory:
Mondale
Dole
Kerry
McCain

All were touted as “electable” candidates. All tended toward the risk-averse, “I just want to be liked,” strategy of politics. All went down in flaming heaps of political rubble.

Don’t put your chips on “electability”. It’s a sucker’s bet.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on May 4, 2011 at 7:47 PM

do you see any Ronald Reagans in this bunch? I sure as hell don’t.

galenrox on May 4, 2011 at 7:17 PM

In May 1979, Ronald Reagan wasn’t even the Ronald Reagan in the bunch! That’s the whole point. You can’t anatomize the phenomena and dynamism of a primary campaign before it’s begun. It’s May 2011 — Palin isn’t even a declared candidate. Patience. Watch the play of events and be moved or not moved by the authenticity, conviction and warrior spirit of the candidates.

rrpjr on May 4, 2011 at 7:49 PM

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