Let me just preface this post by saying I’m voting for Barack Obama for president in 2012.
But since no Democrats are running against him (and it’s early yet to know much about third party candidates), it’s more exciting to focus on the Republican contenders.
I am in love with Jon Huntsman, and it’s terribly disappointing that he isn’t getting more love from prospective voters. It’s a bad time for a Huntsman candidacy, as Jon Huntsman is several things Republicans hate: a so-called “moderate”, a former Obama employee, “elitist”, and something of a Romney lite. Huntsman might have an uphill battle if he were running for president at a different time, but it’s particularly difficult for him now when Tea Party Republicans are so avowedly anti-Obama and policy positions have shifted so far to the right. While there is certainly some reactionary response to the 2010 Midterm elections, Republican rhetoric is still strongly to the right. (Yay for alliterations.) In addition, it’s been well established that Republicans are looking for a Romney alternative, and most certainly don’t see that in Huntsman. He is a handsome Mormon moderate and business executive with a privileged upbringing. Huntsman, however, has more nuanced policy positions and stronger stances than Romney does. Perhaps best known for serving as US Ambassador to China under President Obama (somewhat surprising since his stint as Governor of Utah was longer), Huntsman has been pegged soft on China and an Obama lapdog. Nevermind that Huntsman was US Ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush as well.
Jon Huntsman uses words that I would use. I like that he uses the term “asymmetric warfare” in terms of fighting terrorist actors. He’s right. Anyone who studies this would be familiar with it, and if they aren’t, they should learn this because it’s the reality for America’s situation in the Middle East. I like that he uses the word “incendiary” when talking about Iran’s nuclear posturing and Ahmadinejad’s extreme rhetoric. (I’m sure there was no pun intended on Huntsman’s part when using the word incendiary to talk about bombs, but that would be clever.) I identify with him. And I want my president to sound educated and to know what he or she is talking about. When did not dumbing it down become a handicap?
Huntsman is personable as well. He’s funny and he smiles and it seems authentic. And his smile isn’t creepy in a Herman Cain kind of way or crazy in a Michele Bachmann kind of way. And he believes in anthropogenic climate change! He even has the balls to call the other candidates out on their rejection of science. He strikes me as determined and principled and he’s been called an optimist. Apparently, this is another dirty term. Where would we be without optimists, though, and wouldn’t one want an optimist in the White House as opposed to a pessimist?
I don’t agree with him on everything. I have significant issues with some of his policy positions. He is very conservative when it comes to abortion. He wasn’t very critical of the past summer’s debt ceiling debacle. He doesn’t believe in the EPA. He believes lowering taxes for the wealthy would help the economy.
He inspires confidence in me, however.
I believe Romney will get the Republican nomination, but I think Huntsman would make a better president. I want Obama to win, but there’s always a chance the Republican nominee will beat him. I’d much rather it be Jon Huntsman than anyone else. Romney is my second choice, but it’s unbelievable to me that at the time of my writing this post, Huntsman has 23,633 Facebook fans to Romney’s 1,183,397.