In truth, the power of personality that once vaulted Obama from primary underdog to president factored greatly into the Huntsman calculus.
The contours of Huntsman’s bid were drawn as though he was the Republican counter to Obama. And in the most shallow of senses, he was: In him was a young, telegenic pol sporting the fiscally conservative credentials of Paul Ryan and the globetrotting of Henry Kissinger.
But whereas the president quickened the progressive pulse with saber rattling on Republican union-busting or the dissolution of entitlements, Huntsman refused to likewise rally activists of his party. Some might say he had a clinical aversion to pandering.
Even as Huntsman rose to double digits in opinion surveys, slogging through the endless coffee klatches of the Granite State, his sober diplomacy proved savorless to red meat-hungry GOPers.