Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who Had May 15 in the Office Pool for Jon Huntsman Joining the Obama Administration?

I didn't.

Dark horse, schmark horse. 2012 now likely seems out for the now former-Utah governor. Consider me as surprised as everyone else by the move from Beehive state governor to ambassador to China. Reactions have run the gamut from...

good for Charlie Crist to...

if you can't beat Obama, join him and from...

Huntsman in 2016 to...

Huntsman in 2016 (James, posting over at RedState, is a former student of mine, so I have to get that link in there.).

Here's the thing on Huntsman: This is a shrewd political move.
  • It augments his executive experience and enhances his foreign policy credentials (He has already served as ambassador to Singapore in the Bush 41 administration and took an LDS mission trip to Taiwan.).
  • By working with Obama, it shows Huntsman's capacity to operate in a bipartisan way.
  • He avoids the two Mormons is better than one problem, he would have faced if he and Mitt Romney were to enter the fray in 2011 or so. Michael Steele seems to think this is an issue.
  • And finally, and this can't be understated, it allows the soul-searching within the Republican Party to more fully develop. More negatively, that soul-searching could be spun as infighting, but I'll stick with the more positive angle. 2012 may yet be a good year for the GOP, but through the current lens that is difficult to see. 2016, an open seat and chance for Obama/Democratic Party fatigue looks a lot better electorally.
But one thing's likely for sure: we can probably take Huntsman out of the 2012 candidate emergence data. I like having ten candidates being considered, so who should replace Huntsman (who FHQ had a soft spot for, I might add.)? If I had to choose, I think I'd opt for John Thune. Thoughts? Comments? You know what to do.

Recent Posts:
FOX News Poll: 2012 is All About Huckabee and Romney

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Much Ado About Nothing in Texas


Robert said...

What about Gov. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Eric Cantor?

Jack said...

Let's look back at the NPR poll. Michael Steele? Alan Keyes?

Jack said...

Okay, in all seriousness, who are the nine you have already?

I don't see Cantor running this year, though if he does he's a top-ten guy. Hutchison sounds sensible.

Robert said...

Hutchison is only sensible if she wins. Cantor only runs if no one is catching on. Gingrich is the person to watch at this point.

Good question, Jack. I could only come up with 7. I think we are being set up.

Greg said...

I think the original 10 were: Palin, Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Jindal, Sanford, Crist, Pawlenty, Paul, and Huntsman.
Senators Hutchinson and Brownback probably should be considered as possible 2012 contenders, provided they win the governorships in their respective states, but being first-term governors, they both may be content to wait.

Josh Putnam said...

Greg's right. It was FHQ's Elite Eight plus Jindal and Paul. Here they are again in the 2012 GOP candidate emergence post.

I was going to shoot down Hutchinson, but she's really no different than Charlie They both have to win though.

Cantor is like Jindal in my book: one more cycle away. Ambition is a funny thing though. Among the reasons Obama jumped in in 2008 was that Edwards seemed to be going nowhere in his bid to upset Hillary Clinton. He had the grassroots Edwards lacked.

Funny you should mention Brownback, Greg. There's a great line in the comments to a post in the Wichita Eagle on Democrats in the Kansas governor's race that came into my inbox last night:
"And it’s painfully obvious a 'Governor' Sam will spend more time in Iowa than Kansas in 2012, strutting his “executive experience” in the Republic[an] Party presidential primaries."

I honestly hadn't seriously considered Brownback as a 2012 possibility. In my mind I guess I'm still reliving 2008 where the Kansas senator was always talked about in the context of Mike Huckabee and appealing to social conservatives. Well, in our discussion group meetings during the summer and fall of 2007 at least. Brownback discussions were always couched in terms of, "either Huckabee or Brownback will emerge as viable." Huckabee won out and is still on top relative to Brownback. my head and in the polls.

Jack said...

John Ensign?Or Hutchison or Thune. Brownback probably has less of a chance of winning than the others, though if you're including Paul, the candidate's chances of winning must not be that important to your choices.

... or you could just make it a dozen.

Josh Putnam said...

Ensign's good. Chatter surrounding him has ramped up of late.

12 may actually be a nice number to settle on. Those graphs in Google Docs allow for three columns candidates at the bottom of the figure. Ten seems a touch off-kilter, so I may bump it up to twelve.

Ron Paul is included because of his internet presence not because of his long-term viability as a candidate. I like to have that data in there for comparisons -- whether they end up being fair or not.