Huntsman's Campaign Strategy: Fire More People

Promises to win in New Hampshire just as he fires his campaign manager there

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The most interesting part of Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign is its office drama. Huntsman vowed he would win the New Hampshire primary Thursday just as he admitted he'd fired the staffer in charge of the campaign in the state, the Associated Press reports. Earlier this summer, Huntsman fired his campaign manager, and a consultant went on the record to complain that Huntsman's chief strategist had created a toxic work environment. Huntsman is averaging 1.3 percent in national polls, and 3.7 percent in New Hampshire. On the Today show Thursday, Huntsman complained that his fellow Republican candidates were offering "drama but not solutions." But drama, unfortunately, appears to be the most exciting thing Huntsman has to offer.

His announcement ceremony was considered dull. He made little impact in his first debate appearance. He portrays himself as the responsible Republican, but everyone knows the designated driver is no fun at all at parties. The most interesting thing the candidate's done so far is scold Rick Perry via Twitter for not believing in global warming. Wednesday, Huntsman released a detailed jobs program meant to preempt President Obama's big jobs speech next week. Slate's Dave Weigel notes the plan offered a fairly radical restructuring of the tax code, eliminating the earned income tax credit, which helps people who don't make much money. Sounds like smart thinking, really. Yawn!

Back to the fun stuff. Huntsman canned Ethan Eilon, who'd never worked in New Hampshire before. Eilon's being replaced by Sarah Crawford Stewart, who was deputy campaign manager in New Hampshire for John McCain in 2008 and was working for Tim Pawlenty before the Minnesotan dropped out.
Is it wrong to devote so much focus to the turmoil within Huntsman's campaign? In August, Politico's Jonathan Martin argued that the campaign drama undercut Huntsman's key selling point: that he's a competent manager. Further, the knock on Huntsman is that his candidacy is entirely a media-created phenomenon -- he's way too liberal for Republican voters, but he looks good in Vogue pictorials. So at the very least, Huntsman should figure out how to look cool in front of his base, reporters.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.