So it goes for a struggling presidential contender in the first primary state: Ordinary voters know your shortcomings, and everyone has an idea about how to fix them.

But there are no easy fixes left. Huntsman attempted to stay above the fray. That didn’t work. He went on the attack, but his aggressiveness seemed halfhearted. (At last week’s debate in California, he declined to name rivals he describes as “anti-science.”) He’s repeatedly shaken up his campaign by firing staff, but that, too, has failed to revive his candidacy.

A long shot on the day he joined the presidential campaign, he has trended downward since. The boy wonder from Utah — still youthful at 51 — has led a charmed life in politics, with presidential appointments in Republican and Democratic administrations and victories in two runs for governor. But now he’s confronting something new: the possibility of failure at the very highest level.