The dream of a Jon Huntsman independent run in 2016 is alive and well, my friends

posted at 4:01 pm on September 17, 2014 by Allahpundit

After trolling my own readers yesterday with rumors of Huckabee and Romney running again, I’d be remiss if I didn’t troll them with a rumor about a guy they dislike more than either of them.

No half-measures when trolling. That’s my motto.

Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has engaged in discussions with supporters in recent months about pursuing another White House bid — this time as an independent, according to three sources close to Huntsman…

Other friends and former aides, however, suggested that the 2016 conversations were primarily a function of Huntsman’s willingness to hear out his supporters — not his interest in the race. Fundraising would be a massive obstacle, one his campaign struggled with mightily in 2012. And securing a place on a nationwide ballot is difficult — and expensive — for any independent candidate…

Before he quit the [2012] race, Huntsman considered going independent twice, once in the summer and again in the fall of 2011, according to a senior member of his campaign staff. Huntsman considered taking advantage of the infrastructure set up by Americans Elect, a nonprofit group that hoped to elect a third-party candidate, but his campaign ultimately dismissed the idea as unrealistic.

He told a newspaper earlier this month that he wouldn’t run again in 2016. He told Larry King a few months before that that he’s “open” to running again but that it’d be pointless to do it as a Republican. There’s simply no path for him through the early primaries, unless you think he’s going to shock Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio in New Hampshire. So yeah, an independent bid would be his best bet, at least for a shot at a role in the presidential debates in October. But there’s a risk there: Orrin Hatch says this will be his last term in the Senate and Huntsman, as a former governor with a huge family fortune, is well positioned to replace him in 2018. If he breaks from the GOP in 2016 to run a quixotic, largely symbolic third-party campaign, he’s kissing off lots of Utah’s Republican voters in the Senate race two years later. What he ends up doing will probably depend on how optimistic he is about Republicans nationally trending more towards the center instead of the right over the next 10 years or so. If he thinks that’s likely, then maybe he’ll pass on 2016, run for Senate, and take a shot at the nomination again in 2020 or 2024. If he thinks it’s unlikely, he might as well dive in next year and enjoy 12 months of silly yet flattering “is this the year for independents?” coverage.

But look. I think the odds are better for a semi-serious independent challenger in 2016 than they’ve been in years. I’m not saying Huntsman’s the guy — he probably isn’t — but it’d be surprising if someone didn’t roll the dice. 2008 was a bad year for that because contempt for Washington (specifically, contempt for Bush) was being channeled by Hopenchange. Obama was all things to all people (except committed Republicans), in which case what purpose would an indie candidate have served? 2012 was a better opportunity, but I think it’s hard to jump-start a third-party candidacy when an incumbent president is up for reelection. Voters from the two major parties are too invested in their own sides under those circumstances — Republicans were dead set on ousting O and Democrats were dead set on protecting him. It’s hard to convince people in a situation like that to waste a vote on an indie. The same was true in 2004 when Bush was up for reelection. In 2016, though, you’ll have two non-incumbents duking it out for the presidency; what’s more, one of them is very likely to be named Clinton (and the other quite possibly named Bush), which leaves lots of space for an indie to run against the “Washington machine” and the parasites attached to it. It seems odd to think that two centrist-y candidates like Hillary and Jeb might entice a third-party centrist challenge, but that’s basically what happened with Clinton, Bush, and Perot in 1992, right? And if instead the GOP passes on Jeb and nominates someone more right-wing like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, so much the better for a third-party type. There’ll be lots of centrist Republicans eager for another option in that case. That doesn’t mean the indie would win, but he could make a splash.

The big problem here, and not just for Huntsman, is that an effective independent candidate absolutely must be a populist — and yet anyone with the dough to fund a national independent candidacy is highly unlikely to be one. That was Perot’s special magic. He was folksy, and he also had billions to spare. Imagine Mike Bloomberg (giggle) trying to play that role. Imagine Huntsman, who famously posed for photos in Vogue in 2011 for a story on his last candidacy, trying to do it. There aren’t many gazillionaires out there and there are even fewer Perots among them.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Richard Petty Huntsman for the win!!!

(He speaks orange)

trs on September 17, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Heh. I smell a new meme coming on…

BlaxPac on September 17, 2014 at 8:47 PM

“Independent” – meaning fully funded by the democrat party, just like his last run?

Pork-Chop on September 17, 2014 at 8:51 PM

Didn’t he play Roseann Barr’s husband on that crappy sitcom?

/

viking01 on September 17, 2014 at 8:53 PM

JH is a no-name no-body in politics. Yet in his little world he is the one-eyed king. Just imagine the unbelievable chutzpah well-known pols like Dog-Eater, First Klingon, Killary, McConnell, Landrieu, Pelosi, Reid, Boner, et al must have. No wonder they act like gods gift to mankind prima-donna’s.

I oft wonder how many of us would behave any differently if we were in their shoes? (This is NOT to excuse them!!!)

RavingLunatic on September 17, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Once again, a vote splitter delivers the election to a Clinton.

ezspirit on September 17, 2014 at 9:19 PM

I never understood the media hyping Huntsman. He’s not conservative. He’s not likeable. He’s not charismatic at all. And he doesn’t have any support. If he ran as an independent, he’d get less than 1% of the vote. There’s no reason any Republican outside his family would vote for him. And there’s no reason for him to be included in any debate. It wouldn’t seem authentic if he ran as an independent anyway.

rexbatt on September 17, 2014 at 9:20 PM

ezspirit, he wouldn’t split any vote. Perot, whatever you think of him, was definitely an outsider and felt like an independent. There’s no way a career politician like Huntsman can pull off pretending to be an independent. Why would any conservative/Republican ever vote for this guy?

rexbatt on September 17, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Jorgen Huntsman, headline grabbing again. Charming.

X

RushBaby on September 17, 2014 at 10:21 PM

The MSM seem to like this guy.

That, by itself, is informative.

TimBuk3 on September 17, 2014 at 10:30 PM

“I know there is a lot of pull out there for him to do something as an independent.”

LOL

No. There’s not.

Midas on September 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

I’d vote for him. I thought he and Romney were the only two legitimate contenders fields by the Republican party that could actually get down to governing. What he did in Utah was great, and he exited with an 80% approval rate overall. One of the highest job growth rates during his time, business friendly. Moderate socially on many issues.

If you think that a social moderate but fiscal conservative can’t find traction, you guys are absolutely insane. I know a huge number of voters in the 25-40 bracket that are very concerned about spending, but unwilling to go in for a hard-liner on social issues.

GYConservative on September 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Who?

Bigbullets on September 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

I’d vote for him. I thought he and Romney were the only two legitimate contenders fields by the Republican party that could actually get down to governing. What he did in Utah was great, and he exited with an 80% approval rate overall. One of the highest job growth rates during his time, business friendly. Moderate socially on many issues.

If you think that a social moderate but fiscal conservative can’t find traction, you guys are absolutely insane. I know a huge number of voters in the 25-40 bracket that are very concerned about spending, but unwilling to go in for a hard-liner on social issues.

GYConservative on September 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

LOL.

~ not.

Bigbullets on September 17, 2014 at 10:48 PM

IMO, the Huntsman family sold out America before in an effort to make Jr. a VP choice. They will do it again. Beware of these people.

TrueLiberal on September 17, 2014 at 10:53 PM

A new Pew poll shows that only 25% of Republicans believe that “climate change” is a major threat to the US. But Huntsman is still at it, thinking he’s smarter than the rest of us, and calling Republicans “anti-science,” and obtuse:

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/205438-hunstman-gop-obtuse-about-climate-change

anotherJoe on September 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM

GYConservative, I don’t believe you and you’re alone if you’d vote for Huntsman. He’s just not likeable or charismatic. And it’s not just that he’s a moderate on social issues. He just doesn’t seem genuine on ANYTHING. He’s got ZERO charisma, he’s ugly, he’s boring, and he seems fake. He doesn’t excite anyone and he e he’d side with Democrats just as much as Republicans. He’s unelectable. Please stop talking about him.

rexbatt on September 17, 2014 at 11:22 PM

…any way the wind blows…

garnkikaloid on September 17, 2014 at 11:43 PM

After trolling my own readers yesterday with rumors of Huckabee and Romney running again, I’d be remiss if I didn’t troll them with a rumor about a guy they dislike more than either of them.

No half-measures when trolling. That’s my motto.
POSTED AT 4:01 PM ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 BY ALLAHPUNDIT

How about something constructive that points to some solutions rather than demoralization and rancor that just ends up in division and defeat? You know, something that will bring us together to fight the real foe, to energize these citizens to go out and fight for what’s right for the country and our future. How about reminding us conservatives that we conserve rather than just spoil or knock down, we build, re-affirm and preserve, not p!ss away and whine. It would be great to see something that appeals to the better angels of our nature rather than another opportunity to just vent after a [email protected] commute.

Ok, now that I see that written out I can see I’m being hopelessly naive. Better get back to throwing chairs.

V7_Sport on September 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM

GYConservative on September 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

We can find everything “good” about Huntsman in Scott Walker, so why do we need Huntsman again?

nobar on September 18, 2014 at 12:07 AM

Hack. Rom, Hunt.

At least you could mop the floor with that Huntaman hair.

J.B. Say on September 18, 2014 at 1:07 AM

How many people know that Romney and Huntsman are relatives?

His mother is Karen (Haight) Huntsman, daughter of LDS Church apostle David B. Haight, and his father is billionaire businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman, Sr. of the Huntsman Corporation. Through his father, Huntsman, Jr. is the great-great-great-grandson of early LDS Church leader Parley P. Pratt.

Huntsman is a distant relative (third cousin, once removed) of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney; Romney’s great-great-grandfather, the early Mormon missionary Parley Pratt, is Huntsman’s great-great-great-grandfather.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Huntsman,_Jr.

Moron Labe on September 18, 2014 at 5:22 AM

Parley Pratt, Romney’s great-great-grandfather and Huntsman’s great-great-great grandfather, was murdered by a jealous husband in Arkansas while attempting to make off with the man’s wife (who was Pratt’s 12th wife.) The murder/martyrdom was a contributing factor to the Mountain Meadows Massacre (Sept. 11, 1857) in which a party of Arkansan immigrants were killed by Mormons in southern Utah.

Parley Parker Pratt, Sr. (1807 – 1857) was an early leader of the Latter Day Saint movement whose writings became a significant early nineteenth-century exposition of the Latter Day Saint faith. Named in 1835 as one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Pratt was part of the Quorum’s successful mission to Great Britain from 1839 to 1841. Pratt has been called “the Apostle Paul of Mormonism” for his promotion of distinctive Mormon doctrines. … Practicing polygamy, Pratt was murdered in 1857 by the estranged husband of his twelfth wife. He had a total of 30 children, and his living descendants in 2011 were estimated to number 30,000 to 50,000. He was a great-great-grandfather of Mitt Romney.

Due to Pratt’s personal popularity and his position in the Quorum of the Twelve, his murder was a significant blow to the Latter-day Saint community in the Rocky Mountains. Pratt’s violent death may also have played a part in events leading up to the Mountain Meadows massacre a few months later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parley_P._Pratt

Moron Labe on September 18, 2014 at 5:27 AM

I say go for it John. I also say if Hillary doesn’t get the nomination she should run as an independent too. Also Dennis Kuchinich (-1 for sp, but I don’t care)and Joe Biden, Debbie Washyerhair Schlutz, Eric Holder, Sheila Jackson Lee, John Conyers and the “Rent too damn high” guy. It only stands to reasons that the party of diversity should have a diverse mix of candidates to choose from. It’s only fair, besides it’s for the children. Nazi Pelozi should consider a run too and she should pick some homeless guy off the street to be her running mate sort of like Miley Cyrus at that award ceremony.

Oldnuke on September 18, 2014 at 7:19 AM

No half-measures when trolling. That’s my motto.

Still though, subtle trolling can be sublime.

Bmore on September 18, 2014 at 7:31 AM

Mitt Romney without the charisma.

Bmore on September 18, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Why do the ones that won’t be effective been the ones that have been running lately? Huntsman, Romney, Clinton, Bush (I expect Jeb to throw his hat in the ring). None of them will make government smaller. None of them deserves the job. No to all of them.

sadatoni on September 18, 2014 at 7:49 AM

Tool of the left. Knowing or unknowing it all works out the same way.

hawkdriver on September 18, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Milquetoast RINOs rejoice!

batter on September 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Yeah,all six of his supporters must be screaming really loud!

redware on September 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Looks like this Jon Huntsman, who thinks the world of Obama and even worked for him, and hates the Republican party and this country has found a new way to try and hurt the country with his buddy Obama. He keeps claiming he is or was a Republican and will try and run with Democratic money as an Independent,to siphon off votes from Republicans. This is standard mode of operation for Democrats. They have done it a lot in states for federal office elections and it, like a lot of their other dirty tricks, have worked . So why not for President. You have to admit they are good at scheming, lying and tricking people into voting for them. And when they win they are equally good at trashing the country and hurting the public.

pwb on September 18, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Wasn’t there a Kanye Huntsman who ran for president in 2012?

Bee on September 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Heh. I smell a new meme coming on…

BlaxPac on September 17, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Nah, considering him so insignificant that you can not remember Huntsman’s first name is a returning old one. I think it’s Warren? Or maybe Ethan…

Axeman on September 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Can we get rid of this thread already? Nobody cares about Huntsman.

bgibbs1000 on September 18, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Huntsman icky; spoiler; false hope.

Fleuries on September 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Huntsman is a snake in the grass, if elected he will turn liberal puke in a heartbeat.

lostsoulsbeach on September 18, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Sooo…Huntsman hopes to get elected by convincing voters to reject everyone else because their names are known and they are therefore “part of the establishment”…whereas Huntsman is clean and pure as the driven snow because nobody knows who he is or what he stands for?

Seems like we saw a similar ploy by another leftist in 2009…

landlines on September 18, 2014 at 12:03 PM

He’ll be a good candidate for the Tool Bag Party!

MCGIRV on September 18, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Anybody remember John B. Anderson??

Narniaman on September 18, 2014 at 7:40 PM

I would NEVER vote for that idiot.

Nat George on September 18, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Now, now people…let’s be fair..he isn’t ugly..just sort of bland looking..but it’s the other stuff that’s at issue..unlikable..untrustworthy etc. etc. sort of reminds me of a grown up Eddie Haskell

Xango Annie on September 18, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Jon Huntsman is a RINO’s RINO. It was his father that gave the story about Romney not paying taxes for 10 years to Dingy Harry, and his campaign is suspected of leaking the false stories about Herman Cain that destroyed his campaign.

pdigaudio on September 19, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Milquetoast. Makes Mitt look severely conservative.

J.B. Say on September 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

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