Like many in the GOP former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is calling the condition of America “totally unacceptable,” as he formally enters the 2012 Republican presidential field of contenders on Tuesday. Huntsman is promising new jobs, energy independence and a simpler tax code.
“Today I am a candidate for the office of president of the United States of America,” Huntsman told the crowd at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, the same site where Ronald Reagan announced his presidential candidacy in 1980, according to msnbc.com.
As we enter into the next Presidential election cycle the GOP still doesn’t have any formidable contenders, just the usual suspects. Just who is this Huntsman character anyhow, and why should we care about him?
Huntsman is the former Utah Governor and was also President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China until April. He says will conduct his campaign “on the high road,” and that he respects both his GOP rivals and the president he hopes to unseat.
Huntsman has a “difference of opinion about how to help a country we both love,” with Obama, his former boss, he said. Americans feel like “the deck is stacked against them,” a feeling he thinks is “totally unacceptable and totally un-American.”
Huntsman’s eclectic political resume and centrist values make him a long shot to receive the GOP presidential nomination. However he could be a candidate to be feared by the Democrat in the White House should he run out ahead of the pack. He is a moderate politician from solidly conservative Utah, where he has received widespread support and was re-elected with 75 percent of the vote in 2008.
Huntsman then went on to resign from the post less than a year later when Obama asked him to serve as his ambassador to China. He gave up his post in Beijing too after less than two years so he could make his run for president.
A recent national NBC/WSJ poll puts Huntsman dead last in a 10-candidate GOP trial heat. Where does he stand on the issues? He backs the Ryan budget plan, but he also thinks President Obama is a “remarkable leader,” (something he might want to keep quiet about) he believes in climate change, and favors civil unions. His views on civil-unions have already cost him politically; a local Michigan GOP group revoked his invitation to headline an event in early 2009.
Huntsman is hobbled by the fact that he doesn’t have a political base. He is attempting to get funding from Mormons, but is not expected to receive their endorsement because Romney appears to be their guy. The only place he seems to be receiving support from is the political media, which has showered him with attention during his swings through New Hampshire and South Carolina.
All is not lost for the former ‘moderate’ Utah governor, because having served as governor of the reddest state in the union, Huntsman has amassed a wealth of republican credentials and is a good candidate for Tea Party support. His campaign better spend the coming weeks making that message clear to Republicans if he wants to remain a viable GOP contender.
One thing that will certainly make any liberal’s blood run cold is his hard lined stance against abortion. Then Governor Huntsman signed a heap of bills designed to limit abortion. One of the bills requires doctors to describe the pain their fetuses would feel if they went through with the procedure to women contemplating abortion. Another proposed bill bans second-trimester abortions in the state and made it a second-degree felony to receive a late-term abortion.
Huntsman even supports outright abortion prohibition. In 2009, he signed a bill that created a fund to defend against potential lawsuits if and when the Utah legislature follows through on its plans to one day ban all abortions in the state. “We are looking at wanting to ban abortion in Utah, period, end of story,” said state Rep. Carl D. Wimmer at the time. “However, we want to do it correctly,” according to the dailybeast.com