You tell me: What’s the angle here? Could be as simple as Huntsman burnishing his brand. He is, after all, the national co-chair of No Labels, and nothing’s less Labels-y than a nominal Republican quasi-endorsing the presumptive Democratic nominee two years before an election. Or, it could be that this is simple revenge against the conservative wing of his party for the disdain they showed him in 2011-12. You’ll never convince me that that’s not part of the reason why McCain’s so eager to attack the “wacko birds” in the Senate. He dislikes them and their positions, sure, but it’s also a thumb in the eye of the right-wingers who’ve been calling him a RINO and amnesty shill for years. I’m already on record as saying there’s a fair chance that Maverick will end up endorsing his pal Hillary; if he does, antagonizing conservatives will be one of his motives.
Or maybe those theories are wrong. Maybe this is as simple as Huntsman calculating the odds for a new career opportunity and wagering smartly. In all likelihood, his path back into politics will be blocked for years to come. He’s not going to primary Mike Lee for Senate in Utah, I assume; he could try to replace Orrin Hatch when Hatch retires, but Hatch’s seat won’t be up again until 2018. He’s obviously not going to win the GOP nomination, as he himself admits. (Follow the link up top and you’ll find him wondering aloud how he’d get through the early primary states.) So either he’s stuck running for governor again once Gary Herbert retires or he can take a hard look at 2016, decide who he thinks is the most likely candidate to win, and start sucking up in hopes of landing another diplomatic position in the administration. Maybe ambassador to China again under President Hillary? Maybe secretary of state? Shed your labels and dream big, my friends.