An Argument for Huntsman

December 22, 2011 | 33 comments
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With the impending vote, most Mormons may assume that Mitt Romney is the clear favorite. He has been the most consistent front runner for the Republican nomination for President this year, and his views may be most consistent with those of most Mormons. So why vote for Jon Huntsman, Jr.…

… for Mormon of the Year?

I think that the reason Jon Huntsman should be considered Mormon of the Year is his role in what has been called the “Mormon Moment.” We’ve seen Romney before. Alone, while Romney did garner a lot of attention when he ran in 2008, he didn’t gain as much attention as the combination of Romney and Huntsman does this time. Along with The Book of Mormon musical, Huntsman has simply added enough national attention to make the moment more than what we say in 2008. Simply put, without Huntsman, we might be seeing the same thing we saw in 2008.

There are, of course, other attractions to Huntsman. His style is certainly more hip than Romney’s. His daughters have given him unique attention among the presidential candidates, with their tweets and social media exploits. And his more centrist positions make him much more palatable for the general election.

I don’t know if that is enough to consider Huntsman the Mormon of the Year, but I think it is a good argument. Without Huntsman, would we have had as big a “Mormon Moment?”

 

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33 Responses to An Argument for Huntsman

  1. Dave on December 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Well, if it comes to a brokered convention, there’s a reasonable scenario where Huntsman could emerge as the nominee: (1) delegates decide everyone except Romney and Huntsman are slightly deranged; and (2) a majority of delegates simply will not nominate Romney. Those two assertions do seem like a fair assessment of the present state of the field. Given Huntsman’s familiarity with China and China’s rising profile in the world, Huntsman in the White House might just be the right guy at the right time.

  2. Mark B. on December 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    To say nothing of his keyboard skilz.

  3. Jettboy on December 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    He’s a blip, an also-ran, an astrix next to Romney. To say he is important at all is a joke outside a few liberal leaning newspapers. Where a large group of Republicans are against Romney, the majority don’t even have Huntsman on the radar.

  4. chris on December 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    So Huntsman is the last straw that broke the camels back, so to speak?

  5. Dan on December 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    i don’t know why anyone thinks liberals like Huntsman. He’s NOT moderate. He’s far saner than any of the other conservative guys out there, but he’s no moderate. That said, I wouldn’t nominate Huntsman as Mormon of the Year, because, as you indicate, he’s done nothing but be “yet another Mormon on the scene”. Frankly that’s not enough. But that’s just my view.

  6. clark on December 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    He’s socially very moderate Dan. Whether this is due to libertarian tendencies or just instinct I don’t know. However he has run the worst possible campaign I could imagine by portraying himself as moderate and attacking the very base he needs to get the nomination. And in a very clumsy way. The last few week’s he’s tried to portray his conservatism but I think he alienated so many people with his style the past eight months that he wouldn’t even have a hope in 2016 if Obama wins.

    In terms of his actual capabilities and policy views I think he’s the ideal Republican candidate. I was pretty disappointed with how he ran. That said I was a little bothered by how he portrayed his Mormonism. It’s OK to say you’re not a believing Mormon. No one will think less of you. I wouldn’t care.

  7. eliasajarred on December 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    If Huntsman wins (and your argument has convinced me) I hope T&S includes a paragraph that mentions the immigration issue; which, btw–although Huntsman hasn’t overly trumpeted during the campaign–is an issue he’s pretty moderate on.

  8. Bryan in VA on December 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I would think that Huntsman not being sure whether he were still LDS part of the year would disqualify him from this competition. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705372498/Huntsman-says-his-Mormon-church-membership-is-tough-to-define.html

  9. Bryan in VA on December 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    In fact, I think that the T&S Mormon of the Year contest ought to adopt a new “Huntsman Rule” which disqualifies anyone who isn’t sure of their church membership at any time during the year. :)

  10. Sonny on December 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Bryan in VA,

    I think Huntsman said his membership is ‘tough to define’. There are many ways to interpret this, one of which is the way you did (which was to wonder if he indeed considers himself Mormon). However, there are other ways to interpret this statement and they have been discussed here and elsewhere I believe.

  11. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I have to admire him for opposing waterboarding.

  12. Jason Echols on December 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Two thumbs up. One for Jon’s Mormon of the Year nomination and another for his inevitable selection as 2011′s most influential exmo.

  13. Dan on December 23, 2011 at 12:16 am

    what a silly stupid world we’re in where we have to admire someone for opposing water boarding.

  14. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on December 23, 2011 at 1:28 am

    you’re right Dan, the rest of the world outside of the U.S. is for the most part, silly and stupid.

  15. Jeremy on December 23, 2011 at 2:40 am

    I think Huntsman is running a pretty smart campaign–for 2016, by which time even more Americans will be tired of Tea Party extremism in and of itself, and many Republicans will be sick and tired of the political damage that extremism has wrought on the GOP (like the political disaster that has unfolded in the House in the last couple of days).

  16. Jack on December 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

    What exactly are Romney’s views? I know what his views used to be. Now they’re something entirely different. The only core value Romney has is that he wants to be president. Given a choice between Romney and Huntsman, I would not hesitate to choose Huntsman.

  17. clark on December 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Jeremy, the idea he’s running for 2016 was a popular one. However he still has to win primaries and while the tea party will undoubtedly not be as big more activist conservatives will still make up the majority of primary voters. Alienating them just is not a smart strategy. It’s one thing to not directly cater to them but Huntsman’s gone out of his way to insult them and so forth.

  18. Zack on December 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    In response to the critique of Huntsman’s campaign: I actually think his long game is a pretty good plan. Basically, it seems like he’s betting on the crazies losing out. When the Republicans get their hats handed to them in this presidential election and (if) the Republicans lose their patience with the tea party, Republicans could be looking for a seemingly-sensible person to save them in 2016. Huntsman has positioned himself to be that savior.

  19. eliasajarred on December 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Using Nate’s monicker, I filled in Google News “custom range” bubbles for 1/1/11 – 12/31/11 and got two hits [incredibly long web addr follows) http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=ender%27s+game&oq=ender%27s+game&aq=f&aqi=d1g2d-o1&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=3389l4812l0l5612l12l11l0l7l7l0l122l458l0.4l4l0#q=%22Nathan+B.+Oman%22&hl=en&gl=us&sa=X&ei=-On0TtCNHePo0QHP0r2TAg&ved=0CA8QpwUoBg&source=lnt&tbs=cdr:1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F2011%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F31%2F2011&tbm=nws&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=cb3652fe02980189&biw=1440&bih=754 (of course, in my inappropriately less than humble opinion, he'd prolly decline a nom IAC). Meanwhile, his fellow DesNews columnist Scott Card engenders 308 (of course, the famously curmudgeon OSC has been granted [/perhaps bought off and appeased with a mere...? lol] a producer credit for a big budget motion picture to start filming in February).

    Bro. Glenn Beck (during 2011: wowwed the Value Voters people during the year, granted a speaking slot at their summit; internationally, hosted a tour slash rally in Jerusalem, later being honored by the Zionist Organization of America with one of its Defenders of Israel awards; started a cutting edge streaming network) garners 2,700 hits.

  20. Kristine on December 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I believe the argument has been definitively made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HC-SsWiZck

  21. Ray on December 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I think he’s the best candidate in the Republican field, and I don’t think it’s all that close. He won’t get the nomination this time around, but he’s positioning himself the only way he can, I think, for the next one.

    He’s not an extreme conservative, and I like that he isn’t running as one. He’s running as himself, and I like that.

    Oh, and criticizing him for not wanting to define his Mormon-ness is silly, imo.

  22. Robert on December 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    All this wishful thinking…he just has no chance…not even in 2016…

  23. Ray on December 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I forgot to add, he can rip it up on the piano, too. That has to count for something – at least with regard to his Mormon-ness.

  24. Alison Moore Smith on December 24, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Just wondering, how many of you who are loving on Huntsman are actually registered Republicans?

  25. Kent Larsen on December 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Just so its clear, I think a lot of the comments above are about Huntsman’s strength as a presidential candidate. But since the post is about his nomination for Mormon of the Year, those comments aren’t really on point.

    The question here is whether Huntsman should be Mormon of the Year, and whether or not his entry into the race had a big impact on the perception of Mormonism this year.

    I’m sure we’ll argue ad nauseum in the future whether Huntsman’s strategy is successful in some way, or whether he will be a good candidate. For now, lets help clarify the Mormon of the Year issue, OK?

  26. Sonny on December 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    23. Alison,

    I am. Never voted once for a Democrat in my 30 years of voting, and I think Huntsman is the best candidate in the Republican field right now.

  27. clark on December 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Ditto although the way he’s alienated his base makes me doubt he has the political skills he needs to navigate Washington. Personally I think the field for Republicans has sucked for a decade and a half.

  28. annegb on December 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    He’s growing on me :)

  29. Raymond Takashi Swenson on December 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This is all an exercise in avoiding the obvious: that Mitt Romney is the most famous and most discussed Mormon in the US in 2011 and driven the most interest in the church as an individual for those who are not themselves LDS. Now, I think Romney would just as soon not have the media talking about him receiving an award as “Mormon of the year” when he is trying to remind people he is not running for the White House so he can put copies of the Book of Mormon in the nightstand of the Lincoln Bedroom when heads of state stay overnight.

  30. Kent Larsen on December 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Raymond, how often should one individual be named “Mormon of the Year?”

  31. Dan on December 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    until he is no longer Mormon of the Year

  32. Raymond Takashi Swenson on December 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Is the objection to naming Romney again because he is still doing what got him selected before, i.e. running for president? What if he were elected president next November; would you object then?

    What if he were defeated for the nomination and was called to serve as Presiding Bishop? Or maybe president of BYU, instituting major reforms? Or was called to serve as international ambassador for the Church? The fact that what he is doing NOW is unprecedented and is liable to define Mormonism for much of the world, no matter whether next year he gets the nomination or wins the election, ought to be enough justification for the award. Whether you would vote for him or not, his influence on the fortunes of the Church, at this poiint in time, surely exceed anything done by anyone else who is not in the general leadership of the Church itself.

  33. eliasajarred on December 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Alison, Jon’s economic plan is generally considered the MOST conservative of those in the field–but, unfortunately for his campaign for the nomination, he had decided to use a tone apparently tending to endear him to the media but alienating to not a few in the Conservative movement. (Not to me: I’m more socialist; i.e., Obama’s not as left as me but will do. — Of course, if he did really well and actually won the nom, the long knives would come out.)

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