GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman took a big leap Wednesday in announcing that if he decides to run, his campaign will be based out of Florida, which basically means that he's going to run. And what an interesting candidate he will be. A Mormon who dropped out of high school to play in a rock band and who hung around with dope-smoking hippies before doing his mission work. He's for gay civil unions, for cap and trade, was not only supportive of Obama's stimulus package, but wanted more of it. As governor of Utah, he cut taxes, instituted an insurance exchange (without the mandate), and remained firmly pro-life. Read more about him here, and here.
Many of the pundits are saying that his liberal strain will be his end of him in Iowa/South Carolina. However, he did get a boost today with the endorsement of a key former Mike Huckabee supporter in South Carolina. And Huckabee himself seems rather smitten. Iowa, with the state still stirred up from the 2009 Supreme Court decision giving gays the right to marry, might prove a bigger challenge, particularly if Sarah Palin runs.
But even if she doesn't run, the ghost of her will no doubt haunt him. Soon, surely, to be in campaign ads, is Huntsman staring straight at the camera. His voice hoarse and rising with enthusiasm: "In a world of artificiality, we are looking for originality, we are looking for authenticity, for a rebel, a renegade," he yells at the camera. "We are looking for Sarah! We are looking for a beacon of light to show us the way…We are looking for Sarah… Sar-ah! Sar-ah!"
That from the 2008 Republican Convention speech, introducing Palin to the world. In the end, this might prove more damaging than Newt's three wives, Romney's Massachusetts health care plan, Bachmann's strange gaze, Pawlenty's lack of spark, and Santorum's last name.
Imagine the hash that could be made with even his opening line: "Hockey moms of the world unite!" Fair? Probably not. Potentially damaging. You betcha.
Contact Amanda Coyne at amanda(at)alaskadispatch.com