Today I watched the foreign policy debate of Republican presidential candidates which took place in South Carolina. This was probably the least controversial debate so far, the one where there was the most agreement among the candidates and the least fireworks except for Ron Paul who advances such “controversial” notions that bombing other countries makes more problems than it solves, that torture is not only morally and legally wrong, it doesn’t produce quality info, and the extrajudicial assassination of Anwar Al Awlaki, a US citizen, sets a bad precedent.
But aside from Paul, whom I’ve liked and supported for a long time as you can tell from my numerous posts about his candidacy, I am getting more and more impressed with Jon Huntsman. Huntsman’s selling point this primary season is that he is reasonable, believes in evolution and climate change, is not a religious extremist and will not pander to the most hateful elements of the Republican Party. Of course, this a hard sell in today’s batshit insane tea party GOP which is why he has about the polled support of 1% (You don’t want to know the other 99% in this case). He is basically a Bush Republican not George W Bush but George Bush his dad. He is a 1988-1992 Republican.
I have no illusions about Huntsman. He is the son of a billionaire and his fiscal platform is a bit hazy, flat tax, a cut in corporate tax none of which are bold enough solutions to the current problems America faces. I don’t think he gets it on the superwealthy and not paying their share. He is a “100 % pro life”. While moderate in some ways foreign policy-wise, he also bows before Israel and talks tough on Iran.
However, what impresses me about Huntsman is he was governor of one of the most conservative states in America, Utah, and did not govern as an ideologue despite having the necessary legislative votes to do so. Some examples – despite being against gay marriage, he supported civil unions as a compromise IN UTAH!. He supported driving privileges for illegal aliens (which I actually oppose so he’s to the right of me here) as well as more visas for foreign skilled workers. When’s the last time you heard a presidential candidate especially a Republican one say he wants more immigration? He also has supported Cap and Trade as well as an increase in the federal minimum wage. He also agrees with Ron Paul on pulling the troops from Afghanistan and banning torture.
What Huntsman’s record shows is that he knows how to govern, how to compromise and how to craft legislation with a legislature something President Obama has problems with. He’s not a slave to ideology, he’s not a fanatic to any dogma and is basically running a similar campaign to what Obama did in 2008. In addition, Huntsman has said he’s more spiritual than religious and has an adopted Indian daughter who he allows to practice her Hindu faith and his wife is Episcopalian so I don’t think his Mormonism would get in the way of his governance.
If Huntsman changed the focus of his fiscal policy, adopted some more of Ron Paul’s foreign policy and end the fed, I could even consider supporting him in a future presidential campaign.
In addition unlike Mitt Romney plastic and phony and the rest who are angry or crazy or some mix of the two (I am excluding Paul here who speaks just fine), Huntsman speaks like someone who thinks before they talk which is a rarity in the Republican party these days. In another saner time, he’d be front runner for the nomination.