Huntsman’s Ryan Plan Mistake
The entry of Jon Huntsman into the GOP races inspires great hope for governance-minded Republicanism. Here is a candidate who is intelligent and responsible, who rejects the “all-out war” model of politics, who shows that a father of seven can also be culturally modern and who has integrated the environment into his priorities. All excellent!
But Huntsman has from the outset imposed a dangerous and unnecessary disability on himself. It’s the same one that felled the Rudy Giuliani campaign in 2008, so I speak from painful experience here.
Giuliani had deviated from the ultra-conservative line on abortion, gun rights, and same-sex marriage. He did not feel he could afford any more deviations from ultra-conservative orthodoxy than those. So Giuliani — who could have been the candidate for the voters of Queens and Staten Island, a champion of the Republican middle class — ended up as Mr. Conservative on all tax and economic issues.
The same fate seems to be overtaking Jon Huntsman, alas. Having bucked the party on greenhouse gases and same-sex unions, Huntsman has signed up for 100 percent endorsement of the Ryan plan.