When the reports first came up, I laughed them off. But it's striking now that Huntsman has failed to do the same. What I'd like to see -- for the nation's interest, and (in my view, but what do I know?) for Huntsman's -- is for him clearly to put them to rest. Says that of course he's a Republican, and of course he'll support the GOP ticket in 2012. But he's doing the nation's business now in Beijing, and doesn't want to complicate that with all this political gossip. To me as armchair strategist, staying out of the 2012 fray would seem to save him a lot of heartache. Avoiding a primary fight in this bitter season, when he's fresh off Team Obama; and, if he survived that, avoiding a general election battle when -- one assumes -- the economic cycle should be improving. If that economic assumption is wrong, everything else changes. But if that were the case and Obama seemed gravely weakened, I am not sure that makes a moderate, rather than a red-meat conservative, the most likely Republican candidate.
Pardon me, but I'm still laughing. I may well be wrong, but as Obama himself joked, the difficulty inherent in moving from being a supporter of civil unions and an ambassador in a Democratic administration to winning a GOP primary race would seem to be formidable, if not outright prohibitive. Perhaps there's a game beyond the game.