Utah Governor Huntsman to GOP: ‘You Can’t Just Say No’

Utah’s Republican Governor Jon Huntsman is trying to talk the GOP down from the ledge.

With the party reeling from Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection, a prominent moderate Republican governor is warning that GOP leaders in Washington have failed to offer a positive alternative to President Obama’s initiatives.

“You can’t just say no. You can’t just obstruct or obfuscate,” Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said in an interview with ABC News. “Instead of just kind of grousing and complaining, it would do us all a whole lot of good if we actually started engaging directly in finding compromises and common ground and shared solutions.” …

“When you are devoid of the ideas, or the content that would allow you to articulate or paint a better future, you have no choice other than to fall back on ‘no, we are not going support it, it cannot be done,’” Huntsman said.

Amen. But of course, Huntsman has a small problem; he’s not going to be acceptable to the social conservatives.

In November, Huntsman won re-election with 78 percent of the vote in Utah, one of the most solidly Republican states in the country and one of the most conservative, but he is an unconventional Republican, staking out moderate positions on environmental issues like climate change and favoring gay rights.

And there’s also this:

Last week, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. told reporters he believes intelligent design should not be taught in science classes and that the time to talk about other concepts comes largely at home or in religious settings.

Stone the unfaithful monkey!

UPDATE at 4/29/09 1:01:11 pm:

And right on cue: Michigan GOP official cancels Huntsman event in protest.

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s appearance at a Michigan county Republican Party event was scrapped this week after the county chairwoman said that hosting the moderate Utah governor would mean abandoning the party’s conservative principles.

Kent County Republican Party Chairwoman Joanne Voorhees abruptly canceled the party fundraiser scheduled for Saturday.

“The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots. Unfortunately, by holding an event with Governor Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite,” Voorhees wrote in an e-mail quoted in The Grand Rapids Press .

Voorhees did not specify which issues she felt were contrary to the party’s principles and did not return messages left at the party headquarters and on her cell phone.

The group Campaign for Michigan Families praised the cancellation, attributing it to Huntsman’s support of civil unions, and urged the Oakland and Kalamazoo county parties, where Huntsman is also scheduled to speak this weekend, to do the same.

“Presumably he is testing the waters [for a presidential run] and we hope he realizes now the waters in Michigan will be hazardous to someone who endorses the homosexual activist political agenda,” said campaign director Gary Glenn.

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