Former Utah Governor and US Ambassador to China Jon Hunstman has been much-hyped as a possible GOP challenger to President Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Much of the hype has been generated by President Obama’s political operation.
It’s unclear why.
Presumably, the fact that Hunstman is rich has something to do with it. There’s no doubt he’s a smart and seasoned chief executive. He’s a proven vote-getter in Utah, which matters. And he looks the part.
But to date, he has offered no substantive rationale for his candidacy. He hasn’t even pre-announced, which is what you do to let everyone know you’re running while you run around and get your act together. The only thing he’s done is hire some gun-slingers to help him think through how he might run, if he runs.And their advice, apparently, is for Huntsman to skip Iowa and focus on New Hampshire.
This isn’t a strategy, it’s a fantasy. The only way Huntsman can compete with fellow Mormon, former ex-governor Mitt Romney in New Hampshire is by building up a head of steam in Iowa in advance of the New Hampshire primary.
If Huntsman doesn’t do that, then someone else will. And if someone else does, then the New Hampshire race will be a face-off between the winner of Iowa and the all-but-favourite son of New Hampshire, Mr. Romney. Mr. Hunstman won’t even be in the media mix.
This may be the reason why Mr. Huntsman’s brother, Peter, is telling reporters that a 2012 presidential run may not be in the cards. “He is interested at some point” in running for president, Peter Huntsman told Bloomberg. “That’s not necessarily in 2012.”
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