I am sorry to hear the news that Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the 2012 campaign. Sorry for him, sorry for his family and for everyone who has put time, heart, and money into his cause.
One year ago, when my wife and I were headed back for several months in China and I had just heard the first rumblings that Huntsman, then still the serving ambassador in Beijing, might resign to run against Obama, I argued that the reports were hard to believe. The center of his party was moving away from the kind of "modern" positions he represented on evolution, environmentalism, and other social/cultural issues. Moreover, I thought, he would have a hard time running within the party against the very president who had appointed him and with whom he had worked very well.
Obviously those rumblings were correct, my initial skepticism was wrong -- but the obstacles to Huntsman within the party were at least as formidable as they seemed then.
Huntsman has made some obvious missteps along the way, which there is no point in dwelling on now. The question I've long wondered about -- based on my assumption that he wouldn't / couldn't win this time, and that the odds are still in Obama's favor this fall -- is whether having run, and lost, in 2012 will make him better or worse positioned for the run I had always assumed he had in mind, in 2016.