That being said, why can’t all this be part of some well thought out long-game to win in 2016? Well, for starters, it doesn’t appear to be so well thought out. Huntsman has completely reversed (as all presidential candidates eventually do) his original pledge to run a kinder, gentler campaign. “There’s a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party,” Huntsman-whisperer John Weaver told Esquire back in June. “No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks.” And never mind what Huntsman was telling TIME in May. He’s now out there making Obama teleprompter cracks and giving the DNC ample fodder to knock the “zero substance” GOP field. There’s also some inconsistency to his supposed strategy. If his centrist tack was a premeditated plot to eschew 2012 for 2016, wouldn’t he have raised his hand at the Iowa debate when the candidates were asked if any of them would accept a deficit reduction deal that achieved $10 in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases. What’s more likely: that Huntsman’s engaging in an elaborate five-year-long moderation political dance or that he overestimated his own appeal in the race and is now looking for some way to make an impression?