I 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.