Huntsman, by contrast, has bravely challenged the Republican party’s strident, uncompromising radical style. I also like Huntsman’s willingness to re-examine the Afghanistan commitment and to focus more on the economic challenge from China. On the other hand, Huntsman’s economic platform is pure Wall Street Journal editorial page: Big tax cuts for the highest-income earners, radical cuts in retirement benefits for people now under 55. The more supple Romney has carefully avoided any such radical commitment.

The Washington, D.C., primary is set for April 3. I’ll probably cast a vote that day for Huntsman, if only to show support for a brave and independent-minded candidate — and in hope that a strong Huntsman showing will be interpreted as a call for a more modern and inclusive Republican party.

If Mitt Romney emerges as the ultimate nominee, I’ll place my hope that the Romney who enters the Oval Office will be the innovative, solutions-oriented Romney 1.0 — and not the placate-every-GOP-interest-group Romney 3.0 we’ve seen on the 2011 campaign trail.

Any other nominee would gravely test my commitment to the political party I’ve supported since I entered the United States as a college student in the fall of 1978.