The Center by Jerry Morgan
Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, former ambassador to China under Barack Obama, and former businessman seems to be “different” than the others remaining in the race for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. But is he really different? He is strictly party line on issues of pro-life, gay marriage, and taxes. Where he differentiates himself is on issues related to foreign policy where he is more “middle of the road” than most. He has a plan to pull out of Afghanistan and his intimate knowledge of the Chinese autocracy is an advantage, even though he has been embroiled in controversy as a result of being visible in front of a McDonald’s restaurant in Beijing during a recent protest.
As far as his jobs record there is some controversy. According to a Bloomberg news story published on June 15. 2011, his once family run chemical business employed 90% Americans ten years ago, but since going public in 2005 now employs over 12,000 workers with only 2000 in North America and the rest scattered over Asia. His plan of creating jobs by stimulating the economy with lower taxes and free trade may work, but I consider it an experiment that this country can ill afford to gamble on. His attacks on the EPA are nothing more than the GOP chorus of “drill baby drill”. Again, his attacks on the NLRB and ObamaCare is more preaching to the choir.
The bottom line is that Jon Huntsman is probably a more stable candidate than the others, lacks the nastiness of some, the overt flip-flopping of others, and the extreme positions of yet others. Is he a moderate? Certainly not, but he may not be conservative enough for the GOP base. As for me, he seems more rational than most of the others, more qualified on foreign affairs than most of the others, more in tune with big business than most of the others and more experienced administering a government than most of the others. But in substance, he offers only minor differences on most issues. I suspect that after staking the future of his candidacy on New Hampshire, he will fade away into oblivion after the polling closes in that state on January 10th.
The Left by Y.I. Wearblack
Jon Huntsman may well be the forgotten man of the Republican field of candidates for President. He has an impressive resume. He is urbane, articulate and experienced in government. He served in the Reagan White House as a staff assistant, served in the George H.W. Bush administration as deputy assistant Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador to Singapore, served two terms as governor of Utah and served in the Obama administration as ambassador to China. He worked in the private sector for his father’s company as an executive of The Huntsman Corporation and the family philanthropic organization, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Huntsman was a high school dropout who received his G.E. D and attended the University of Utah, serving a two-year Mormon mission to Taiwan. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in International Politics. He is a devout family man with seven children, a devout Mormon who accepts the validity of science.
As the governor of Utah, Huntsman earned high grades. He cut taxes, instituted a flat tax but increased spending. He was immensely popular, being re-elected with 77 per cent of the vote. His views on the issues are notably more moderate than the other candidates. Huntsman signed the China Initiative for the reduction of greenhouse gases and has admitted the effect man has had on the environment though, like the others, he has rejected cap and trade as a solution. Like the others he has advocated for the building of the Keystone Pipeline. Huntsman is very knowledgeable about foreign affairs, especially Asia and has distinguished himself as a human rights advocate in this region. In this regard, he has a distinct advantage over any of the other candidates. Huntsman has advocated strongly for comprehensive immigration reform, he vowed to veto legislation that would have discontinued tuition aid to illegal immigrants and not allow illegal immigrants the ability to obtain a drivers license. He has advocated the building of a fence at the border. In foreign policy, Huntsman has criticized President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq and advocated a contingent force remain there. In his debate with Gingrich, Huntsman echoed the theme that Iran is an existential threat and “all options should remain on the table,” but reiterated that America’s primary threats and interests are in the pacific. In lockstep with the other candidates and Republican ideology, Huntsman signed various bills which restricted abortion in Utah and although he favors civil unions he frowns on same sex marriage. I scoured the Internet for his position on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and found that he had not an announced position on that issue. As to Health Care, he opposes “Obamacare” because it is too expensive and is a shroud over the economy. Yet he endorsed a personal mandate when he was governor as well as Mitt Romney’s Health Care plan in Massachusetts.
As a committed Liberal, I believe Barack Obama is a better choice than all of the Republican candidates, not only because I support his views and his values, but because he is the most able communicator, most empathetic advocate for his positions, most highly educated as well as the best decision maker in times of crisis. In considering this set of criteria, I would immediately eliminate the entire Republican field with the exception of Jon Huntsman who I believe has proven to meet my criteria.
But Huntsman’s perceived moderation has proven to be his Achilles heel among Republican voters who are not in the slightest bit interested in compromise. They want to exact revenge for the liberal onslaught on George Bush and the Iraq war, on Obama’s efforts to ameliorate the plight of the poor, and his efforts to make the rich pay their fair share. Even if they do not succeed in beating Obama, they want Obama to know the extent of their wrath, and they will back anyone who will exceed propriety in taking him down. That explains nasty old Newt’s rise in the polls to the frontrunner status. Republicans want to dismantle the “Welfare State.” They want to privatize Social Security, privatize Health Care and privatize Medicare. That works against Huntsman who implemented very extensive social engineering during his term as governor.
If Huntsman survives to the states that have open primaries, and can prove that he can get a credible percentage in deeply conservative states he may emerge out of the clouds into contention in a race that has seen frontrunners come and go like the wind. The next gust may just blow his way. So while Huntsman is the forgotten man at the moment, he is counting on a good showing in New Hampshire which can put him firmly in contention. By my estimation he would be a far more formidable candidate than Romney or Gingrich and as a firm supporter of the President, the candidate I fear the most.