All of which assumes that Huntsman will run a well-organized campaign, and his opening day troubles raise some doubts. He will not be able to be vague on everything, and already he’s endorsed Paul Ryan’s budget. This may buy him some peace on the right, but it’s hardly a moderate’s natural move, and it will force him to answer lots of questions.
And if Cameron is Huntsman’s forerunner, it’s worth recalling that the British leader spent several years working out carefully calibrated policies and proposals. Huntsman has most of this work ahead of him, and he’ll be doing it on the run. The British Conservatives lost three elections before they turned to a modernizer. The GOP isn’t nearly as desperate yet.
So, yes, Huntsman is a long shot. But he’s the only Republican waging something other than a standard-issue conservative campaign and the only one directing most of his energies toward voters who don’t take their cues from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. This will at least earn him attention. It might even win him some votes.