Utah Governor Huntsman named Ambassador to China

One of the rising stars in the GOP presidential sweepstakes has apparently removed his name from consideration by accepting President Obama's offer to be Ambassador to China.

Unless he plans on serving for only a year or so, Jon Huntsman has opted out of the 2012 race. Romney and Huckabee are already running and it would be extremely difficult if Governor Huntsman were to jump into the race in 2011. The cold, hard reality of fundraising and gathering support favors those who start the earliest.

Ed Lasky sees political calculation in Obama's naming Huntsman to Beijing:

This is disappointing; a rising GOP star sells out for a plum job in the Ambassador corps. Qualifications? He speaks Mandarin Chinese?  The real reason Huntsman was tapped-despite having endorsed McCain? He is a moderate GOP leader who has been touted as having the potential to give Obama a run for his money in 2012. Perhaps, literally. He is the scion of a very wealthy family. Ironically, the family (led by its patriarch, Jon Huntsman, made its fortune with chemical companies (very un-green) and the fortune was built on borrowed money (too green). By agreeing to serve as Ambassador, Huntsman removes himself from the political playing field and may also expose himself to being tarnished with accusations he as done nothing for human rights in China.

That's good as far as it goes. But Huntsman didn't have to take this job so the idea that this is a ploy by Obama to get Huntsman out of the way doesn't stand up well there. Much more pragmatically, Huntsman may figure that even if the economy is in the toilet, 2012 will not be a GOP year nationally.

Obama might raise a billion dollars for his re-election. That figure alone might scare off up and comers like Huntsman, Cantor, Ryan, and perhaps even Jindal. Their feeling might be to let Romney, Huckabee, and a few others offer themselves up as sacrificial lambs to the Obama machine, and then work like hell to unite the party and solve its internal disputes in time for a smart run against a wide open Democratic field in 2016 (Biden will be 75 in 2016 and Hillary's time may have passed by then).

I agree with Ed that it's disappointing. The Utah governor is conservative enough although he supports civil unions for gays and is too much an environmentalist for some conservatives. But he is rock solid on other social issues as well as being a tax cutter and spending hawk. Not a policy wonk like Jindal, but an innovative governor nonetheless.

He may not be a "moderate" in the Colin Powell sense of the word but he comes off as reasonable, intelligent, and more pragmatic than a down the line ideologue.

I agree with Ed that this makes him dangerous to Obama. But Huntsman's decision can be seen as a stepping stone to bigger things down the road. The China post is high profile and will probably be extremely vital if the Chinese decide to start throwing their weight around in Asia in the next few years. It will certainly give him a foriegn policy feather to put in his cap which any governor needs to run a national race.

Huntsman is only 49 and will have time when he returns from China to further add to his resume with perhaps a senate run in 2012 if Orrin Hatch decides to retire. One thing is sure, we haven't heard the last of Huntsman.





One of the rising stars in the GOP presidential sweepstakes has apparently removed his name from consideration by accepting President Obama's offer to be Ambassador to China.

Unless he plans on serving for only a year or so, Jon Huntsman has opted out of the 2012 race. Romney and Huckabee are already running and it would be extremely difficult if Governor Huntsman were to jump into the race in 2011. The cold, hard reality of fundraising and gathering support favors those who start the earliest.

Ed Lasky sees political calculation in Obama's naming Huntsman to Beijing:

This is disappointing; a rising GOP star sells out for a plum job in the Ambassador corps. Qualifications? He speaks Mandarin Chinese?  The real reason Huntsman was tapped-despite having endorsed McCain? He is a moderate GOP leader who has been touted as having the potential to give Obama a run for his money in 2012. Perhaps, literally. He is the scion of a very wealthy family. Ironically, the family (led by its patriarch, Jon Huntsman, made its fortune with chemical companies (very un-green) and the fortune was built on borrowed money (too green). By agreeing to serve as Ambassador, Huntsman removes himself from the political playing field and may also expose himself to being tarnished with accusations he as done nothing for human rights in China.

That's good as far as it goes. But Huntsman didn't have to take this job so the idea that this is a ploy by Obama to get Huntsman out of the way doesn't stand up well there. Much more pragmatically, Huntsman may figure that even if the economy is in the toilet, 2012 will not be a GOP year nationally.

Obama might raise a billion dollars for his re-election. That figure alone might scare off up and comers like Huntsman, Cantor, Ryan, and perhaps even Jindal. Their feeling might be to let Romney, Huckabee, and a few others offer themselves up as sacrificial lambs to the Obama machine, and then work like hell to unite the party and solve its internal disputes in time for a smart run against a wide open Democratic field in 2016 (Biden will be 75 in 2016 and Hillary's time may have passed by then).

I agree with Ed that it's disappointing. The Utah governor is conservative enough although he supports civil unions for gays and is too much an environmentalist for some conservatives. But he is rock solid on other social issues as well as being a tax cutter and spending hawk. Not a policy wonk like Jindal, but an innovative governor nonetheless.

He may not be a "moderate" in the Colin Powell sense of the word but he comes off as reasonable, intelligent, and more pragmatic than a down the line ideologue.

I agree with Ed that this makes him dangerous to Obama. But Huntsman's decision can be seen as a stepping stone to bigger things down the road. The China post is high profile and will probably be extremely vital if the Chinese decide to start throwing their weight around in Asia in the next few years. It will certainly give him a foriegn policy feather to put in his cap which any governor needs to run a national race.

Huntsman is only 49 and will have time when he returns from China to further add to his resume with perhaps a senate run in 2012 if Orrin Hatch decides to retire. One thing is sure, we haven't heard the last of Huntsman.