Is Jon Huntsman The New Candidate Of The Conservative Intellectual Elite?

jon huntsman

[credit provider=”World Economic Forum via Flikr”]

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board endorsed presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s economic growth plan in a column published in Friday’s paper.The board declared that the plan put forward Wednesday by the former Utah governor and Ambassador to China “is as impressive as any to date in the GOP Presidential field, and certainly better than what we’ve seen from the front-runners.” 

Last month the same editorial writers called on fiscal conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the GOP presidential race — calling the declared candidates a “weak field.” But weeks later it seems conservative intellectual class has found its candidate, albeit a longshot one, in Huntsman.

The far-reaching plan would upend the nation’s tax code, rein in government regulation and promote free trade agreements.

“Perhaps Mr. Huntsman should be asked to give the Republican response to the President’s jobs speech next week,” the editorial says. “The two views of what makes an economy grow could not be more different.”

While he only polls in the low single-digits, Huntsman said today he will win the New Hampshire primary despite a major campaign shakeup in the first in the nation primary state.

Regardless, his plan — and the positive response it has gotten from fiscal conservatives — is enough to get Mitt Romney worried. The former Massachusetts governor will announce his own plan on Tuesday, and he is under pressure to cater it to appeal to the tea party. Such a move would weakening his position in the eyes of the so-called “conservative intelligentsia,” who haven’t found a candidate to get behind — until now.