Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said he’d pick former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be the GOP presidential nominee over perceived frontrunner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. As well he might. Huntsman’s family gave nearly $25,000 to Reid last cycle, the Las Vegas Sun reports:
[M]any members of the newly minted presidential candidate’s family, including his parents, chose Reid in the most important U.S. Senate race in the country last cycle. Indeed, the Huntsmans have long been Reid supporters, although the former governor, who is scheduled to be be in Nevada on Friday, has never given directly to Reid’s Senate campaigns.
But his parents and a couple of his brothers (Peter, James) and some in-laws have. And his Dad even helped the Nevada Democratic Party ($5,000) in 2008. I’m told Reid has known the senior Huntsman since the 1990s and is friendly with the son, too. …
Huntsman responded on [T]witter to this report: “I’ve never donated a dime to @HarryReid and wouldn’t. My record in Utah balancing budgets very different from his.”
Huntsman shouldn’t have to be held accountable for the independent actions of his family members — no doubt all candidates would be in trouble if they were evaluated by all the opinions of their extended families — but this does speak to the milieu in which he was raised. As always with Huntsman, his biggest selling point — his bipartisanship — is also his biggest drawback. The attitude with which he has approached his campaign — the flat attempt at lush aesthetics in his ads, the elevated emphasis on civility, the chivalrous courtship of the MSM — suggests his evident desire to position himself as like Obama in all the ways that made the president eminently electable in 2008. That is, Huntsman clearly wants to cultivate a cerebral and, above all, “reasonable” image for himself. When I’m in a mood to pretend the country doesn’t face the problems it faces, I find him appealing. But then I hear Reid say he wants Huntsman and I snap out of it.
So maybe the GOP will end up picking Mittens or T-Paw or “rockstar” “bomb-thrower” Bachmann or JH or someone else entirely. I don’t know — no predictions just yet. But Republicans should take care to pick a candidate they want — not an MSM-manufactured and Democrat-endorsed surefire second-place contender, whoever that might be.