Huntsman’s primary dilemma

But the facts are, as governor he was a fiscal conservative and a tax-cutter. He supports the Ryan budget plan, and he has said repealing Obamacare is a top priority if elected.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published November 4, 2011

OK, I admit it. I like Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because his campaign has yet to catch on with Republicans. Among GOP primary voters Huntsman is wrongly perceived as something of a squish — that’s a conservative code word for moderate. It’s also the kiss of death if you’re running in a Republican presidential primary.

But the facts are, as governor he was a fiscal conservative and a tax-cutter. He supports the Ryan budget plan, and he has said repealing Obamacare is a top priority if elected.

On social issues Huntsman is just as conservative as most of the field.

He is what I call “quietly” pro-life, having signed every piece of legislation restricting abortion that crossed his desk as Utah’s governor. But he hasn’t made the “life” issue a defining part of his campaign. On immigration he reluctantly calls for a border fence. On Second Amendment rights, the NRA said, “NRA would like to thank Governor Huntsman … for [his] continued support for the Second Amendment.” He opposes gay marriage but has supported the notion of same-sex civil unions.

As Politico’s Daniel Allot noted, “Don’t confuse Huntsman’s moderate disposition with moderate policy positions. Huntsman governed as a conservative. Though often expressed in a moderate tone, Huntsman’s vision is one most conservatives can support.”

Former RNC chairman and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said, “Jon Huntsman and I served together, and while we don’t agree on some issues, there’s no question that he’s a conservative. … So if you’re asking me if Jon Huntsman is qualified to be the Republican nominee for president of the United States, the answer is, of course he is.”

More of a statesman than a politician, on the stump Huntsman is (Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune).

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at:

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19 thoughts on “Huntsman’s primary dilemma”

  1. Great column Chris. The question is, will the Tea Party nuts give him a serious look? If Ronald Reagan were running today, I am afraid they would not vote for him!


  2. Huntsman is such a decent fellow, he’d make a fine president…you gotta wonder if he shakes his head in disbelief and says, “so I am losing to these whackadoos?”


  3. This is a thoughtful column, Chris. The problem I have with Huntsman is this: How on earth could a bona fide conservative serve the administration of a bona fide liberal? That was a puzzle from the day I heard the announcement. You seem to list his service to Obama as a resume enhancer. I suspect the day he agreed to serve in Obama’s administration was the day he decided he didn’t want to be president of the United States.


  4. I like him too. If only he could accomplish for America what he was able to assist Red China with: a 10% growth rate. Nothing like taking that Mormon work ethic to a totalitarian state, and helping American Corporations arrange slave labor to out source American JOBS.
    If you like Huntsman as much as I do, then be a friend to him: reccomend therapy for BAD Liberal Idea Stockholm Syndrome (BLISS). Huntsman’s campaign consists basically of insulting the tea party while holding hostage any media person with a microphone, projecting confidence because he believes in: Anthrogenic Global Warming, Mass Transit, gay rights, or any other leftist pipe dream that the media condones that week.


  5. I think Huntsman will not become the nominee or POTUS for the same reason Jeb Bush will never be…he is too smart, too wonky and not enough of a personality. We have had personalities and personas for POTUS lately…Bubba was probably the combination of both…wonky and personable.


  6. Huntsman is way too smart to ever appeal to the base of the Republican Party. Little things like an acknowldegment of the value of science and a willingness to serve one’s country when asked – certainly can’t have that in a Republican presidential candidate. Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Trump, now there’s some true presidential timber for you. The 2nd Amendment allows guns to Republicans so they can continue to shoot themselves in the foot.


  7. Jon Huntsman was aked by the President of the United States to serve as Ambassador to China. He served this country…not the administration. Country First.


  8. Just exactly how is it putting country first to expedite the flight of capital and industrialization to RED CHINA????

    If that is what you guys consider smart, you must have really cheered Chairman Mao’s ten thousand blooming flowers.


  9. Mr. Irreverent View, drop the pretense, you are not interested in “smart.” If that were the case, you would be touting Gingrich. There is not one competent observer that has failed to be impressed by Newt’s consistent performance in the debates. Insulting the TEA Party does not a viable candidate make. After weeks of having the media tell us that Rick Perry was the “Tea Party Favorite” Rick let it slip that he thought that any one not on board with rewarding illegal immigration “had no heart.”
    Perry Started with about 25% approval. He will never see that again. Huntsman, started standing up to the Tea Party from day one of his campaign to oblivion: how smart is that?


  10. Reply to Kevin:

    I like Newt! He’s smart for sure. But he’s got more baggage than an airport terminal and is un-electable. Besides I think he and Cain both got in the race to sell books.

    Newt would make a great White House chief of staff.

    Mr. Irreverent View/aka Chris


  11. From a completely different perspective, personalities aside, platforms aside, Gary Johnson, another former Western Governor running for president, illustrates Huntsman’s problem much better than any policy issue can: NO IMPACT ON THE DELEGATE MAP OR THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. They compete with each other on the obscurity Richter scale.

    This year, any Republican with any credible free market plan, will win. That said, the candidate must still win the primary process. Newt has been steadily rising in the polls. Huntsman, well, let us just say that Book Publishers, Book agents, and Readers Digest have all suggested to Huntsman, that he look into self publishing. He is smart enough to figure out how to do that; yeah, that is the ticket.


  12. There are two cars driving around Tampa with Huntsman stickers on them. Jim Pease and mine. Huntsman is, too, good for the US. Too, smart and just a nice guy. He can govern as shown in Utah. Oh, but he is a Mormon and our far right Chrisitan Conservative groupies in the GOP can not support a cult religion. Too, bad!! Thanks for trying to educate some,Chris, maybe there is still hope.


  13. Good article. The mainstream media is just thrilled that Huntsman hasn’t caught on. It’d be a real pain for them to strategize how to destroy his character, experience, etc.

    Huntsman has the goods to make it, but it seems he himself hasn’t fully committed to the idea of winning. It’s my understand that he’s uber-rich. I think if he really wants it, perhaps he needs to spend a little and get that campaign rolling.


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