Does Jon Huntsman belong in the GOP?

Jon Huntsman may be in the wrong party. At the GOP CPAC panel convened in Florida this month he said in part:

I believe in science – including as it relates to evolution and climate change. I believe in civil unions, though I also support traditional marriage. I believe immigration is a human as well as an economic issue, and that children of illegal immigrants shouldn’t be punished for the sins of their parents. …

This is consistent with other remarks Huntsman has made. And what has he gotten for this refreshing embrace of reality? In a recent CNN poll of likely Republican Primary voters (.pdf), Huntsman came in at 1%, dead last, and was beaten by three to one or more by Someone Else and No One.

Mr. Huntsman’s head is in the right place, but where does he go from there? We can assume being a Mormon he’s not onboad with turning America into a Dominionist theocracy. If we take away the hatred of science, gay rights, and immigration, if he so much as hints at the facts of recent history unambigeously demonstrating that tax cuts for the rich and deregulation have failed to improve the budget deficit and the economy, and if we even remove needless show wars, what exactly is left that falls under the conservative umbrella these days? Outside of Obama bashing and a few related splinter conspiracy claims pitched by grifters and lunatics, that’s pretty much it. Which is why it’s so hard to see how Huntsman — and by proxy science and general sanity — wins, places, or shows in any race or primary among Republican voters.


  1. unbound says

    Jon Huntsman may erroneously think that the Republican Party is the same Republican Party from his father’s or grandfather’s time. He may not fully comprehend how far off the deep-end his party has gone. Many people will defend their group to the end no matter what they do.

    He fits in better with Democrats currently since they have moved firmly in the middle of the political spectrum.

  2. qbsmd says

    According the Nate Silver, candidates get an advantage in running for president by having run for president previously. I think Jon Huntsman knows he isn’t going to win in 2012, but is building experience for a future run. I think he’s also betting that the Tea Party and the Republican Party will eventually collide with reality, and at that point he will be the only candidate who’s reality compatible and has presidential campaign experience. If the Tea Party screws things up enough for them to fall out of favor with conservative voters, and the Democrats pick a more liberal nominee in 2016, Huntsman will be in a pretty good position.

  3. pHred says

    I have been wondering when many of the dyed in the wool Republicans will realize that the party shot off to the right when then were not looking and that they are really Democrats now.

  4. says

    Jon Huntsman is a Mormon, and that’s a non-starter. Their “follow the prophet” beliefs run much, much deeper than Catholics and the pope.

    He is the most centrist of the Republican candidates, but he still believes that some segments of the population should have less freedoms than others (abortion rights, marriage rights).

    Huntsman winning does not mean that general sanity will win.

  5. Midnight Rambler says

    No, he’s still well within the Republican party. Supports the Ryan plan to gut Medicare, cutting taxes for the rich and Social Security for everyone else, etc.

  6. dizzlski says

    I don’t need another center-right democratic party candidate. Progressives are angry because popular left candidates are too far right.

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