With an announcement Tuesday in New Jersey; the Statue of Liberty and the place Ronald Reagan launched his general election campaign in 1980; John Huntsman has officially entered the race to claim the Republican nomination and ultimately the title of next President of the United States. Even still, many are asking “Who is John Huntsman?”
I suppose it’s only fair that we let the candidate describe himself before we begin our own analysis. Oh wait, his campaign website launch is as much a mystery as the candidate behind it. I really hope be kicked in the extra cash to buy both Jon Huntsman and John Huntsman for President, because if his staffers can’t spell his name right, I’m quite certain Googlers are going to have a field day with it…
I guess he floated a special screening of his site to media outlets. My apologies, I wasn’t included.
“For once we could have a president who actually knows the world.”
Those are the words that will greet visitors to the brand new campaign website of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who begins his White House bid Tuesday with a speech near the Statue of Liberty.
Never mind that President Barack Obama lived overseas as a youth and has made restoring America’s reputation in the world a central theme of his presidency.
Huntsman’s pitch, according to Jon2012.com, is that unlike his Republican foes, he possesses the unique combination of foreign policy acumen and executive experience to walk into the White House and lead from day one.
It’s time for America to “regain strength” and “own the 21st century,” Huntsman says in one of the site’s many web videos highlighting his foreign service under three presidents, most recently as President Obama’s ambassador to China.
But as Huntsman sees it, fixing the sluggish American economy is more pressing than any foreign pursuit.
“Our priority on the foreign policy side, before too much more time slips away, needs to be at home,” he explains in one web video. “It needs to be about getting our house in order. It needs to be about strengthening our core. Because the world knows that our core is weak. And as our core is weak, so goes our leverage and our ability to sit at the negotiating table.”
The website, previewed to CNN before it goes live following Huntsman’s speech, is sleek, modern and, according to campaign officials, very iPad-friendly.
Awesome, right? Nothing like making your website as douchebaggy as your mysterious candidacy…
Nevertheless, here’s my take on the latest candidate to enter the Republican field…
I may be in the minority here, but I DO NOT hold his serving as Ambassador to China against him. Frankly, I consider that a plus on a rather short list of pluses. He was called to serve; and he answered. As Republicans, we’re supposed to be the Party that respects the “Office” even when we do not respect the man with his name on the desk. The fact that he served under the worst president in modern American history is a talking point; and nothing more.
The MSM is in love with this guy; and by “in love” I mean they’re in love with referring to him as the candidate the White House fears the most. While that certainly makes me question his conservative credentials, it also makes me wonder how his candidacy is going to be covered going forward. I think it’s probably safe to say that he’s going to close that name recognition gap rather quickly. I suppose the real question is how quickly he can close the credibility gap among Republicans?
His position on “social issues” is nuanced; and that’s going to be a massive hurdle to overcome with primary voters. While public opinion polls and a changing demographic may reflect a similar position on matters like same-sex marriage, Republican primaries are not typically the places most friendly to “evolving positions.” He’s reportedly pro-life; but he’s said to be for civil unions. I’d expect his position on the latter to be the focus of folks like Bachmann and Santorum if and when his candidacy picks up steam.
He returned from China with a presidential campaign waiting on him as if his actions were being followed like a military general who’d just won a great victory on foreign soil. While I’m certain we will hear more about achievements made in China, this political enthusiast hasn’t the slightest clue at the outset what they could really be. Last I checked, our position in relation to China has taken a turn for the worse in recent years and is anything but a resume-builder.
But on to the “fluffy” stuff…
He comes from “money” as his pops is a billionaire. He’s a former two-term Governor of Utah. He was Ambassador to China and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. He’s telegenic and he’s got charisma that the Pawlenty’s of the world could only dream of. He’s a Mormon; and he has seven children (two adopted) and an attractive wife. He’s a Republican; and he says he’s a conservative.
How much of that ↑ you care for, is really up to you. I only throw it out there for the sake of putting it out there as all of it will be fodder for all sides to the political conversation. I’d discount 95% of it, but I’m not every Republican voter. Frankly, I’m pretty certain that paragraph will be all you hear about this guy for the rest of the summer.
I cannot wait for the next GOP debate.