With the announcement that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is not going to be a candidate in 2012 for President, I continue to search the bushes for a strong entry. I use that phrase since it appears that Jeb Bush, outstanding former Governor of Florida whom I could easily support, still seems to view himself as a Bush too far and is not showing signs of entering the race in 2012.
I like the idea of a state Governor as a candidate because the executive experience seems to translate better than a legislative history as a background for a President.
So I am starting to take an interest in a candidate for the Oval Office. He is a wealthy former Governor with excellent fiscal and business credentials, a model health care plan in his state and an inclusive list of moderate and conservative policies and beliefs. Oh, by the way, while he is a member of the LDS Church (Mormon), his name is not Mitt Romney.
He is Jon Huntsman Jr, former Governor of Utah and he just completed a two year assignment with the Obama Administration as Ambassador to China.
I recommend you take the time to read up on Mr Huntsman. He is, in many ways, a remarkable man and he may soon become a serious candidate for President. Although he is, perhaps, a more inclusive candidate than some of his Republican colleagues, some of his more moderate views may work against him in the primary election process. By definition, the Republican primary voter is a very different animal than the general election voter. They are more engaged politically and may be more caustic in their right wing views. Mr Huntsman may find that his support for civil unions and his previous support for cap and trade (now not on his agenda) and views on climate change may be uncomfortable for the Republican primary voters.
But do not stop there in your reading. He was a successful Governor of a very conservative state (Utah). He brought business efficiency to state government and reduced taxes while creating jobs and a strong Utah economy. Huntsman's free-market policies helped his state grow economically while most of the nation suffered substantial job losses. He was re-elected for his second term as Utah Governor with 78% of the vote. He is pro-life and defends the Second Amendment. His health care system in Utah relies more on consumer freedom of choice than Mr Romney's (and Mr Obama's) government control and individual mandate model. He served as John McCain's campaign co-chair in Utah in 2008.
And in the urgent and timely areas of commerce, trade and foreign relations, Jon Huntsman is eminently qualified and experienced. He served in the Reagan White House and was appointed Ambassador to Singapore in the Bush (41) administration becoming one of the youngest ambassadors in the last century for the United States. He also served as Deputy US Trade Representative in the Bush (43) administration working to enhance trade relations with African and Asian nations.
Mr Huntsman speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese (and Taiwanese Hokkein). He was asked by President Obama to serve in the vital post of US Ambassador to China in 2009. He agreed to serve for two years and was unanamously confirmed by the Senate. In the current global environment, I believe his foreign relations experience, personal relationships and understanding of China may be his most important qualification for the Office of President. (by the way, President George H W Bush also served as Ambassador to China).
Jon, age 51, is married with seven children (two daughters adopted - one from China and one from India).
Jon is an unusual and sometimes unpredictable individual who is certainly in a position to shake up the Republican primary season. And he may be a powerful candidate to take on President Obama in 2012. He is not yet on everybody's radar so you should do your own research and form your own opinions.
Additional reading at The Washington Post, Jon Huntsman's site, ActiveRain member Karl Hess, Glenn Beck(Glenn's audio interview with Jon Huntsman Sr) and even the $300 million Huffington Post. (I like some variety in my reading)