Columns / Discourse / September 28, 2011

Observing America: Jon Huntsman

The Republican Party is at a fork in the road. It can either walk along a path that looked pretty much like the last decade Republicans where government spent too much, got involved in too many wars, and barely followed the U.S. Constitution or, it can walk on a new path.

The Grand Old Party has a significant chance to change its platform. Republicans can finally turn back and elect someone who believes that money is best spent in the U.S. rather than in Iraq or Afghanistan. They can also elect someone who is fiscally responsible and has been even when he or she was not running for office. They can pick a person that understands that the U.S. needs to become energy independent and work closely with China to become a stronger member of the global market.

This candidate is currently running for office. It’s not Rick Perry or Mitt Romney. It’s not governor Chris Christie who is admired by many conservatives. It’s not former governor Sarah Palin who is interested in selling books rather than furthering political dialogue. It’s Jon Huntsman.

Jon Huntsman is a former Republican governor of Utah who served as ambassador to China under President Obama. Governor Huntsman brings many ideas to the table. He’s for balancing the budget by not only proposing cuts for domestic spending but military spending as well. He’s for keeping taxes low but also broadening revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes. He’s for introducing natural gas to the U.S. which will bring more competition to the multibillion dollar oil companies. And last but not least, he’s for strengthening relations between the U.S. and China to bring a fairer trade partnership where the U.S. does not create high deficits.

But where is Jon Huntsman today? From the day he announced his candidacy, Huntsman polled at 1 or 2 percent. He does not have the enthusiasm like Rick Perry or Ron Paul. However, Huntsman is picking up some steam.

Last week, Tom Ridge endorsed Governor Huntsman. Tom Ridge is a popular former governor of Pennsylvania and former Secretary of Homeland Security who was key in the nomination of Senator John McCain in 2008. Mr. Ridge is no fool.

Governor Huntsman has a solid jobs record. Governor Rick Perry can say many things about Texas but he can never compare to Utah. During Huntsman’s tenure, Utah experienced a $400 million tax cut, a high surplus, and was called “Best Managed State” by Pew Research Center. Utah was also number three in “Best States for Business,” according to Forbes.

Huntsman is the real deal. Yes, he does not have the reddest meat as pundits would say but his record shows expertise and a true conservative record. This is a man that does not sound too southern like Rick Perry or who does not change positions like Mitt Romney to get elected. Governor Huntsman is running on his record and for good reasons. He can also unite the Republican Party, change it for the better, and broaden the Republican base to conservative Democrats along with independents. The only issue is whether Republicans want to elect a Barry Goldwater or a Richard Nixon. Republican primary voters must choose some that can best Obama. Only time will tell.

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