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My Love Affair With Jon Huntsman

As of now, Newt Gingrich is leading in the American Republican presidential-nominee polls. If this does not strike an astute reader as staggeringly idiotic, please bear in mind that the last time Gingrich was at all politically relevant was during his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives over eleven years ago. Perhaps the most baffling thing of all is that he had to surpass Herman Cain – Herman Cain – to get there. Yes, the time has arrived: the Republican Party has become so desperate for a nominee under their “anyone but Romney” policy that they are willing to dredge the muck of their political graveyard in a sad attempt to resurrect any electable zombie.

If they think Gingrich really has a shot at beating an incumbent Obama, their time would be better spent praying for the Second Coming – who would preferably want to run for office. Nowhere in this graveyard of Republican nominees lies a candidate with the revitalizing quality and centralist appeal the party needs to beat Obama in the 2012 election. Their best hope, and the best hope for the slowly radicalizing right-wing party is in front of their own eyes  – or, in fact, at the very edge of the presidential candidates line-up in recent debates.

As a card-carrying member of all left-wing parties worldwide, it is extremely difficult to confess my crush. And yet, a crush has indeed become increasingly apparent to me as I stalk the Internet for his campaign details, cheer him on at debates that I would otherwise ridicule, and quote him to baffled Democratic friends. Jon Huntsman has captured my heart.

A former governor of Utah, a diplomat and a CEO, Jon Huntsman is every centrist voter’s dream. Imagine: the Republican Party being led by a candidate who is the very definition of ‘moderate’. How is it possible that Huntsman, a civil-union supporting, global-warming-accepting, “creationism-should-not-be-taught-in-schools”-advocating Mormon politician is a true Republican? All that plus his liberal stances on immigration make him extremely appealing to Independents, other moderate Republicans and fiscally conservative Democrats alike. He is even open to bipartisan compromise, having worked for the Obama administration as the 9th United States Ambassador to China (yes, he does speak fluent Mandarin).

What makes him appeal to the Republican base, then? His pro-life status on abortion, unwavering support for Israel, and tax-cutting tendencies mark him as a true Republican. While this writer might take issue with these policies, we can conclude that Huntsman is rational enough to not oppose himself to compromising with the left due to his other liberal leanings, leading the Huffington Post to accurately describe him as a “conservative technocrat optimist” ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/11/jon-huntsman-2012-staff_n_822055.html).

Onto the point then: the Republican Party, as shown through Gingrich’s sad rise to the top of the polls, is in dire straits. For the right to have any kind of shot at beating Obama in the 2012 election, they need to focus on the center. They need a candidate who isn’t as phony as Mitt Romney, and who isn’t as ludicrously uninformed as the rest. They need a candidate who has the courage of his convictions. The one clear voice of reason throughout what seems like hundreds of debates has consistently been Jon Huntsman. His voice represents the one chance the Republicans have to oust the Democrats, and the voice they need to rally behind …. perhaps as fervently as though he were the Second Coming, indeed.

I don’t want him to win. I am a firm believer in a two-term Obama. I do, however, want him to run, and show the whole Republican Party that the future lays in the center – where common sense, pragmatism, and cooperation reside.

 

 

–          Clara Bonnor

 

About Clara Bonnor

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