Wednesday, February 02, 2011


There's lots of discussion about what Jon Huntsman is doing by resigning his position as Ambassador to China and preparing to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. See here and here. Some feel that his strategy is to get his name out there now and then be a front-runner for a more moderate Republican Party in 2016. I think the first side of that equation is true--we'll have to see whether the Republican tradition of anointing the next candidate comes true this year, but there's no question that name recognition is central here. Huntsman doesn't have it and needs to run in 2012 to fulfill his hopes in 2016.

As for the supposed moderation of the Republican Party after another defeat for Obama, doesn't this seem very unlikely? Rather, running in 2012 with an eye toward 2016 gives Huntsman extra time to distance himself from his moderate history. Look to see him embrace his inner wingnut more closely with each passing month.

I don't think this strategy is going to work. But if he wants the big job, and clearly he does, this is probably his best path at this point.