Governor Huntsman appears to be a pleasant and accomplished man. What he is not, however, is a Republican who is likely to win the nomination. There are three problems, in ascending order of importance.
First, he’s a Mormon. There are still some in this country who don’t consider Mormons to be Christian, consider them to be members of a cult. This is a not uncommon opinion among evangelicals, and while this is a non-issue for most Republicans (including me), it’s something that needs to be broached. I suggest that you’ll be hearing doubts about Mormons from evangelicals loud and clear if Governor Huntsman (or Governor Romney, for that matter) gains traction in the primaries.
Second, he’s a RINO: Republican in Name Only. He’s the kind of Republican that liberals consider “safe.” You know, not one of those horrid red-meat-eating, Hummer-driving knuckle-draggers from flyover country. However, if there is one message that last November’s election should have conveyed, it is that conservatives need not be ashamed of their convictions in order to win. We need to be true to our vision of fiscal restraint and limited government. Social issues? Governor Daniels is correct on this (as he is on so much): don’t abandon your principles, but keep social issues on the back-burner.
Third and in my opinion most important, Governor Huntsman is a defector. He willingly served as an ambassador, that is, at the personal pleasure, of the most left-wing president in our nation’s history. A president who has abased our nation while abroad, seeming to blame America first for the ills of the world.
I don’t personally care if our nominee is a Mormon. I’d gladly vote for Romney or even Huntsman against Obama. However, if we Republicans are to nominate a pleasant and accomplished man, we could do far better by nominating an actual conservative such as Mitch Daniels or Tim Pawlenty. Or perhaps we can draft Representative Paul Ryan or Governor Bobby Jindal. We are blessed with quite a few able men (and women) who would be a better choice than Gov. Huntsman.
None of whom have served as political appointees under Barack Obama, all of whom have conservative bona fides and all of whom are accomplished leaders.