Huntsman can totally win in 2012 or something

One should always hesitate to quarrel with Fallows when it comes to China, but he seems not to grasp that a Huntsman candidacy would surely be preceded by a high-profile break with Obama. This would not have to be over China policy. Quite the contrary. The ambassador’s argument would more likely be that, while the administration’s approach to the Middle Kingdom (which he carried out) was solid, Huntsman saw up close how it was undermined by Obama’s profligacy at home. Unquestionably, some in the GOP would never forgive Huntsman for having gone to work for the enemy. But, were his break with the White House skillfully framed, for many others it might make him a kind of hero…

In a way and by an irony, in fact, the Obama administration may have done the ambassador a huge favor. Far from sidelining him, his China posting has given him the sort of foreign-policy credentials about which every governor who wants to be president fantasizes on a daily basis. The administration has put him on the front lines of what is arguably the most important economic and national-security challenge that the country faces and, in the process, put him in direct touch with the CEOs of some of the biggest and most powerful companies in the country—all of whom make it a point to meet with Huntsman when they are in Beijing, and many of whom are said to have come away deeply impressed. And in a moment in America when anxiety over the long-term threat that China poses to our prosperity is running high, Huntsman is ideally positioned to capitalize on that emotion politically by presenting himself as the man who understands the nature of the challenge and what to do about it best.

On top of all that, Huntsman has two other advantages, neither of which should be underestimated. The first is money: With the help of his father, it’s safe to say he would not be lacking for resources, despite what one presumes would be a fairly late entry into the fray. And the second is strategic: Huntsman has long been close to John Weaver, the guru who guided McCain’s outside-the-box campaign in 2000 and who has been thinking long and hard about the need for a candidate who can fuse the party’s competing factions—and, most important, who looks and sounds like the future.