Posted Friday, June 22, 2012, at 5:04 PM
Since his presidential aspirations burnt out in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary due to a lack of support from non-members of the media, Jon Huntsman has been keeping busy.
After hinting at a potential future as an independent candidate, he joined the Board of Trustees at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater, and was also given the great responsibility of being named one of the 21 sexiest men alive over 50 by the AARP.
This week, the left-of-center Brookings Institute named the former ambassador to China and governor of Utah as a distinguished fellow. Joining Brookings is reflective of Huntsman’s refusal to pander to his party’s far right; since he dropped out of the race, he has taken a critical attitude toward the Republican Party for moving so far from the center.
Yet while Huntsman’s moderation makes him popular among the media, this move will likely further weaken his chances of having a national political future in the GOP.
Huntsman himself has been less than optimistic about the future prospects of the party: “Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff," he said during an interview with MSNBC in February (the comment reportedly got him disinvited from an RNC fundraiser). “I think we're going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas.”
Though some are already debating the possibilities of a Huntsman 2016 bid if Mitt Romney were to lose, Huntsman himself has not made comments about a future run. Such a bid, at least as a Republican, now seems even less plausible.