Jon Huntsman, 2016?

Count me among those mystified by what appears to be a forthcoming presidential bid by Jon Huntsman, the former Republican governor of Utah and current U.S. Ambassador to China--which is to say, current member in good standing of the Obama administration. While his standing may be slipping a bit, Huntsman, as others have pointed out, would seem to have a very difficult task ahead of him: explaining to GOP primary voters why they should support a guy who has loyally been serving a president they pretty much all despise. It won't make Huntsman's task any easier that he is considered a moderate on issues like the environment and gay rights.


All of which causes me to wonder if Huntsman really doesn't have his eye on 2016, not 2012, even if he runs. That was the original assumption when he agreed to join the Obama administration--that he'd gain valuable foreign policy experience and avoid having to confront a Democratic superstar in Barack Obama (that was the view two years ago, anyway). So why run in 2012 if the real goal is 2016? Because it often takes more than one try to win the nomination. Look at John McCain. Or Mitt Romney. Or even the sainted Ronald Reagan. It's probably even harder for a rookie to win it today than it was in Reagan's time, given the explosion of media, the unending and overwhelming scrutiny, and the resulting pressure on candidates. Presumably, Romney will be a better candidate this time around because he's had the experience of running once before. If Huntsman runs and loses in 2012, he'll probably be a better candidate in 2016, and the political climate might also be more favorable for him then.
Presented by

Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Adults Who Live In Treehouses

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Politics

Just In