Huntsman 2012: Why?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 31 2011 9:33 AM

Huntsman 2012: Why?

U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is, according to Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns , going to quit his job and run for president as a Republican. The oddity of this is captured nicely in a joke by Bill Daley:

I want Jon to know that the president has no hard feelings. In fact, he just did an interview with the Tea Party Express saying how integral he has been to the success of the Obama administration.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


I can help out. Here is a complete list of all the people who quit the administration he had been appointed to*, then became the nominee of the other party and defeated his old boss:


History isn't the best guide to whether someone can or can't win, but serving in the administration you want to displace is a unique problem. The questions emerge: Did you oppose the president on Unpopular Issue X? What about on Y? If these questions are successfully dodged, why were you appointed in the first place? Huntsman has a problem less severe than Mitt Romney's, but damaging nonetheless -- he signed up with the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative in 2007. Regional cap-and-trade systems are anathema to conservatives; that decision by Huntsman opens up a discussion about the other things he's stiffed them on. If Mitch Daniels is in trouble merely because he's talked about a "social truce," how far can a candidate get if he's talked down conservative dogma and acted on it?

Chris Cillizza has a useful guide to Huntsman's team, which is heavy on McCain 2008 veterans. They did alright in 2008 with a candidate who was already familiar to GOP voters, who had a compelling personal story, and who wasn't Mormon. This time..

*I say "appointed to" because Thomas Jefferson was John Adams' Vice President when he beat him in 1800, but the two men were elected separately.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

I Went Hunting for Ebola in 2004. (What I Found Was Bats.)

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Ben Bradlee’s Fascinating Relationship With JFK


The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here

I feel like a kid in some kind of store.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

Move Aside, Oxford Comma, the New Battle Is Over Single or Double Quotes

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 11:57 AM Why Wasn't the WHO Ready for Ebola?
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 22 2014 12:03 PM Colonia Fara: An Italian Summer Camp for Happy Little Fascists
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Oct. 22 2014 11:04 AM Do All U.S. Presidents Look the Same? What About Japan’s Prime Ministers?
Oct. 22 2014 10:29 AM Apple TV Could Still Work Here’s how Apple can fix its living-room product.
  Health & Science
Oct. 22 2014 11:30 AM Where Does Ebola Hide? My nerve-wracking research with shrieking bats.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.