The former Utah governor and 2012 presidential candidate has the winning resumé, sound philosophy, and the bipartisan experience most other politicians dream of.
Jon Huntsman was born in Redwood City, California in 1960 and spent time as a Mormon missionary to Taiwan before returning to the United States to become a staff assistant for fellow Californian President Ronald Reagan. Huntsman was later appointed US Ambassador to Singapore by George H. W. Bush, a role he would reprise in 2009 when President Obama chose him as Ambassador to China. In between appointments, Huntsman was elected governor of Utah and left office after two terms with more than an 80% approval rating (at times breaking through 90%).
Of course, Huntsman also ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but fell short after his campaign decided to skip the Iowa caucus and risk it all on winning New Hampshire. The former governor finished third behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, partly because he couldn’t shake his image as a “Mini-mitt,” and dropped out of the race.
That shortcoming aside, Jon Huntsman is a tremendous public servant, and one we’d like to see more of in the coming years. Here’s a few reasons why:
- He speaks fluent Mandarin: In a world in which China is quickly becoming both the United States’s chief trading partner and rival, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone in office who speaks the same language as more than 70% of their population?
- He understands how to balance a budget: “If we can’t find cuts in the defense budget, we’re not looking carefully enough.” – Candidate Huntsman in 2011
- He’s related to Mitt Romney: Apparently the Huntsmans and Romneys are fiercely competitive, despite the fact that they’re both descended from the same patriarch – Mormon missionary Parley Pratt.
- He has executive experience: If a governor can leave office with 80% of voters satisfied – not an easy task – he probably knows what he’s doing.
- He can play the piano: One constitutionally mandated prerequisite to serving as president (as stated in Article 2, Section 6) says that “Any man who desires to hold the office of president must be able to play one musical instrument, or at least not sound too horrible.” Huntsman passes that test easily.
- The Left fears him: In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told the magazine that Jon Huntsman would have been Obama’s biggest threat, saying he would have been “tough to beat.”
- He believes in science: As if science was just something you could not believe in! “The minute that the Republican party becomes the anti-science party, we have a serious problem.” – Huntsman in 2011.
There’s no talk of a Huntsman 2016 run, and frankly it’s too early to be talking about that in any case. But if he wants to run, Huntsman could pick up the moderate standard, and the guy’s ideas… well, they’re not peanuts.