Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Measuring—Huntsman, Plus Mitt Part I

Losing my computer this week has been a hindrance. I’ve gathered info, particularly about Mitt Romney, literally for years. The new computer was delivered today, but it may still be a few days before I have access to my digital world as I once knew it.
So, today is an organizing day, for future posts, as well as a little bit on Huntsman as the alternative of the week.
My reason for going through this measuring-the-candidates process has been to wade through the mythos surrounding the slate of candidates by the media. Where I’ve paid attention and gathered information over time, I have some confidence that I’m probably drawing accurate conclusions. But where I haven’t done as much personal research, I’m less certain that I’m getting past the media filters.
These are the media lines about Romney—which I hear repeated back to me from Tea Party friends and other conservatives—that I will tackle in future posts, to see just how much is true and how much is not:
·         He’s a flip-flopper, ready to say whatever his audience wants to hear.
·         He’s a moderate without core principles.
·         He’s not appealing enough to beat Obama.
I’ve said before that the way to cover each of these candidates is at length, rather than with measured debate minutes or other media sound bites. So it may take multiple days to cover those points fairly—and I hope I’m up to it.
As for Jon Huntsman, today is just my beginning, a token effort, really. His wife was asked recently about whether it was time people came him a second look, and she said it’s about time they gave him a first look. That’s probably accurate. I have not taken him seriously. His kick-off speech was unimpressive. When he sat out a debate, I didn’t miss him. Sometimes he points his finger at us as if insisting he’s the only reasonable person in the room. It’s annoying.
On the other hand, there are times when he gives a decent conservative answer to some questions. He was a pretty conservative governor of Utah, a mostly conservative state, and produced good results. He approves of Paul Ryan’s plan for getting the US economy back on track—considered conservative by many. Arguments against the Ryan plan (from those who believe cutting government spending is a good thing) include that it may not go far enough or fast enough, but it was proposed as realistically doable, once we get a willing president and senate.
Huntsman sees himself as conservative, even if less Tea Party aligned than his opponents. And maybe he is. I will need to keep looking, because I have probably been unfairly dismissive.
He comes from a good family. His father, Jon Huntsman, Sr., worked his way up to wealth without inheriting it. He has a life plan of giving away all of his wealth by the time he dies (a daunting assignment), so, while his children may have received some benefits of wealth growing up, what is more significant is their father’s example of hard work combined with generosity. While his father hasn’t been particularly political, he is one of the human beings Glenn Beck admires most.
I am not disturbed that Huntsman said yes to serve the Obama administration as ambassador to China; having him there was probably a good thing. But I am bothered that he would take that assignment while in office as governor. I’ve seen other governors take positions in other administrations, and I have the same qualms. I believe in state sovereignty, so I don’t see it as a step up to leave a governorship to serve as an ambassador. In Utah at least there was a good chance of being replaced by another GOP governor, or it would have appeared to be just an Obama attempt to remove opposition. Experience in China—including the language—is something Huntsman brings. I’m not totally convinced of his understanding of international affairs worldwide, but, again, I haven’t looked beyond the foreign policy debates.
It's unlikely to happen, but if it were a showdown between Romney and Huntsman, at least the argument about whether the nominee could be a Mormon would be moot. All those who have worried over whether Romney is Christian have said next to nothing about Huntsman. Such a final showdown would make me chuckle.
So, while it’s not enough, if you start seeing Huntsman suddenly looked at as yet another non-Romney alternative, you’ll at least recognize his name and which one he is. You can start your own research at his campaign website:

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