Welcome the Huntsman

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HuntsmanD.pngI was among the early scoffers at reports that then-ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. was planning to run against Barack Obama in 2012. Hey, if Huntsman ever has to deflect criticism that his main constituency is the press, he can always point to me! As this (to me) improbable scenario came closer to realization, I adjusted in stages:

   Stage one: Maybe he's just trying to make the ChiComs take him more seriously?
   Stage two: Maybe there is a different job he is aiming for?
   Stage three: Hmm, Barack Obama seems to see this sort of the same way I do.
   Stage four: Hey, if this is getting serious, won't it be awkward for him in his role as Ambassador?
   Stage five: Actually, this is getting pretty awkward fast (guest post)
   Stage six: But he's going out in style, with a big brave speech in Shanghai.
   Stage seven: And just to clear the decks, let's just get past one choice oppo-research video clip.

That's all the stages for me. At this point I say: Welcome to the race, Amb-Gov-Amb Huntsman.* I wish you well on the campaign trail and with your imaginative ads and (seriously) your intention to run a positive-rather-than-attack-filled campaign. May the best person, party, and ideas prevail.

And for further next-stage analysis, I pass the baton to my colleague Joshua Green, who has already given a very informative "how to think about Huntsman" post, plus a look at the White House's response and some Biblical analysis.
___
* Amb-Gov-Amb because he was ambassador to Singapore under the first President Bush, when Huntsman was 32.


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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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