John Huntsman: The Best Republican Candidate No One Knows About

The reality is that President Barack Obama is rooting hard for Texas Governor Rick Perry to win the Republican nomination. Because the real threat to Obama's efforts is actually a Mormon from Utah not named Mitt Romney.

John Huntsman, the former Utah Governor and US Ambassador to China, is perhaps the most moderate of current Republicans and a true centrist, which we still believe represents the vast majority of Americans. Yet, while the Republicans worship another Texas governor with ties to evangelical Christianity, Hunstman wallows in the polls, earning only 1% of Republican support.

In New Hampshire this week, Hunstman said the following:

I’m not trying to be everything to everybody. I’m running on my record. You’re not going to like 100 percent of it.

The Washington Post followed Huntsman this weekend on the campaign trail. One of his appearances was quite telling:

Huntsman was not a natural fit for everyone in this back yard, where some of the 35 curious spectators said privately that his association with Obama, while not disqualifying, would likely mean that their votes would go elsewhere. Nor would Huntsman’s low-key rhetorical style ever be a match for the fervor of Perry or Bachmann, in a year in which passion has been in high demand on the Republican trail. But Huntsman did his best to tick off positions meant to mark him as just as fervent as any other fiscal conservative in the race: support for a balanced budget amendment; a vow to slash federal regulations to jump start businesses; and a description of how Utah had adopted a flat tax during his governorship.

Quickly, Huntsman found the right chords with Dawe and some others in this small crowd, portraying himself as an everyman — a little rough-and-tumble, a hunter, a motocross lover.

Dawe liked what the candidate said about wanting to lower business taxes and, in cutting the budget, “putting everything on the table” including entitlement spending and defense expenditures. Dawe told Huntsman about his worries for his business and asked what he would do, once shrugging with faint disappointment at what he regarded as Huntsman’s lack of specifics. But by then Huntsman’s fervor had ratcheted up. Midway through his answers, Dawe became impressed by the candidate’s passion to “get government off our backs.”

“I don’t know, I just like this guy’s chutzpah — being tough and confident and saying anything he feels like — it seems this guy has more of that than Romney, a lot more chutzpah, and he still says the right things for me,” Dawe said.

He wanted to hear more, as Huntsman took another question. Huntsman glanced his way while talking, as if able to see the possibilities with Dawe. Maybe a convert could be won over here.

“It starts like this,” Huntsman observed later. “One handshake, one change of heart.” He added dryly, “Or it’s supposed to.”

The Huntsman platform is actually quite moderate and unlike the more extremist policies of Perry or Minnesota Congresman Michelle Bachmann. What is also interesting to note is that candidate Mitt Romney has started to lean more to the right while Hunstman stays on course. However, it does appear that the lack of appeal for Hunstman confirms that the Republican base has actually moved farther to the right than before. Gone are the days of Ronald Reagan and Geogre Bush Daddy. And that is a shame.

By the way, we agree with Huntsman policy on immigration, this should apply to any move for comprehensive immigration reform:

Washington's repeated failure to secure our border is a national embarrassment. For decades the American people have been promised a safe and secure border, and for decades it hasn't happened. Violence and drug trafficking is rampant. Jon's first priority, before any immigration reforms are even considered, is to secure the southwest border, once and for all.


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