With apologies to songwriter Paul Simon, “where have you gone, Jon Huntsman? A nation turns its hungry eyes to you.”
If ever the time is ripe for a third party entrant, it is now and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., could be the Ross Perot of 2012. Unlike the Texas billionaire, though, who set the highwater mark (19%) for a third party independent in 1992, enabling Bill Clinton to win with a plurality (44%), Huntsman would have a real shot at winning.
Huntsman says he is not interested in such a scenario, by the way, but this is fantasy and one can speculate. Here’s how and why, remote though the prospects are, it could be accomplished.
First, there is a vehicle in place. A group of non-partisan independents has qualified a “person to be named later” and/or a placeholder in almost all the states of the union reportedly. Organizing largely through the internet, after both major parties hold their conventions, they plan to conduct an internet convention to select their nominee.
The former Utah governor and ambassador to China is high on their list of candidates because of his successful six years as Utah’s socially moderate but fiscally conservative governor and his foreign affairs experience.
Handsome, personable, intelligent and a family man, Huntsman polls well with independents, Democrats and Republicans unhappy with their respective nominees. In particular he does well with Republicans who cannot trust Mitt Romney. Huntsman is able to inspire that hard to define but indispensable factor of coming across as trustworthy. (more…)