Jon Huntsman Skipping Republican Convention

In 2008, then Utah Governor Governor Jon Huntsman gave one of the nominating speeches for Sarah Palin at the Republican Convention in Minneapolis. This year, after being largely rejected by his party during the primary in no small part because he chose to accept an Ambassadorial appointment from President Obama, he won’t be attending the convention at all:

(CNN) - In an act of protest, Jon Huntsman will not attend the Republican national convention this August in Tampa.

The former Republican presidential hopeful, Utah governor and ambassador to China said in a statement that he won’t participate in the convention or others in the future until his fellow conservatives start tackling the bigger issues.

Huntsman said that despite being asked repeatedly about his attendance, this year’s convention will be the first he has not attended since serving as a delegate for Ronald Reagan in 1984.

“I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States – a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits,” Huntsman said in a statement, reported first by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Huntsman, who garnered two delegates with his third place finish in New Hampshire, released his delegates to Mitt Romney when he endorsed the frontrunner after ending his presidential bid.

Huntsman, reiterating the theme of “Country First” from his presidential campaign said, “I encourage a return to the party we have been in the past, from Lincoln right on through to Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics.”

The reaction to Huntsman’s announcement from the right is about what you’d expect from people who had rejected him out of hand a year ago, and admittedly Huntsman has been distancing himself from the GOP more and more ever since he left the race earlier this year. All this means, of course, that the odds that Huntsman would end up anywhere in a Romney Administration should the GOP win in November are exceedingly low. That’s unfortunate if only because it is exceedingly clear that he’s more qualified to be Secretary of State than, say, John Bolton, who seems to have a disturbing amount of influence inside Team Romney.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    Saturday morning quibble- the 2008 Republican convention hall was in St. Paul, not Minneapolis. The highest standards of OTB are in the balance!

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It really is too bad about Huntsman. Other than DOD and DOJ he’d be well qualified to run any cabinet-level agency or department. He’d also be a viable choice for UN Ambassador. Smart guy. Successful. Not a wingnut. Not an airhead. Governor. ‘Tis a shame he’s become persona non grata. That all said, however, politics is a two-way street and it’s not as if Huntsman has in his own respect buried the hatchet.

  3. Herb says:

    Two things:

    A) “should the GOP win in November are exceedingly law”

    The legal theme of your typos is amusing. Makes me wonder if lumberjacks sometimes type “wood” when they mean “would.”

    B) I fully support Huntsman on this:

    “I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States – a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit”

    Makes me wish there were more Republicans like him.

    And makes me sad that there’s not.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    a generation ago, Huntman would have been considered a regular conservative Republican. Huntsman is not as liberal or moderate as senators like like Jacob Javits or Mark Hatfield – just a middle of the road conservative. Now, to the GOP, he’s a Jessie Jackson Republican. His view are still generically Republican, it’s just that GOP has moved well into Michele Bachmann territory.

    I’m not sure why Huntmann stays in the GOP.

  5. Gustopher says:

    Also, Tampa is hot, and protestors will be allowed to carry guns, but not sticks.

    Why anyone would go the the Republican convention is beyond me. It just doesn’t seem like a good time.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Herb:

    Makes me wish there were more Republicans like him.

    That’s just it tho Herb, he is not a Republican.

  7. Saying that Huntsman is “not a Republican” is ridiculous.

    If he’s not a Republican, then what is he? Because he’s most assuredly not a Democrat.

  8. Murray says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    “If he’s not a Republican, then what is he? Because he’s most assuredly not a Democrat. ”

    Seems to me he is a Conservative … independent now. The GOP left him.

  9. Dave E. says:

    I don’t see how this helps if Huntsman’s goal is really to increase his viewpoint within the GOP. The premise of his ultimatum is arguable and somewhat insulting and the ultimatum itself will likely be met with a fair amount of scorn, since a big chunk of the GOP doesn’t care one way or the other about his attendance. I would like to see Huntsman stay in the GOP, but he’s going to have to do the hard work of persuading people to his point of view. Insults and silly ultimatums will get him worse than nowhere.

  10. paladin says:

    Huntsman is at Brookings now—not exactly a hotbed of conservative or Republican thought. How many other GOPers are at Brookings? Or is this just part of Brookings outreach to minorities? lol

    Herb said : “Makes me wish there were more Republicans like (Huntsman).”

    I always find this leftwing meme hilarious. While liberals always pine for more liberal Republicans, they never pine for more conservative Democrats.

    It makes me wish there were more moderate third-way Democrats like Bill Clinton rather than ideological liberal lockstepping Democrats like Barack Obama.

    But that’s just me.

    But hey, what Democrat fits Huntsman’s fantasy of “focus on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States—a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit”?

    Barack Obama? Nope. He’s all about the past and 70s style liberalism. Problem solving? Inclusiveness? Address the trust deficit? All Obama has done is throw taxpayer money to his cronies and special interests like candy at a parade. What other Dem could possible reach the height of Huntsman mindless rhetoric?

    This is how Obama and Huntsman are alike—they mouth pretty words that are meaningless. No wonder so many here who swooned over Obama are reacting the same to Huntsman.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Dave E.:
    Are you saying that Huntsman is the GOP equivalent of Joe Lieberman?

  12. Dave E. says:

    @al-Ameda: Not quite. He hasn’t actually been pushed, or pushed himself, out of the party…yet.

  13. Tillman says:

    @paladin:

    I always find this leftwing meme hilarious. While liberals always pine for more liberal Republicans, they never pine for more conservative Democrats.

    Someone’s never heard of the Blue Dog Coalition. Liberals don’t have to wish for them; they already exist. At least before the last midterm elections.

    It makes me wish there were more moderate third-way Democrats like Bill Clinton rather than ideological liberal lockstepping Democrats like Barack Obama.

    But that’s just me.

    Sure. Whatever. That’s not worth substantively responding to.

  14. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If Huntsman is not a Democrat, then why are most of his supporters and all of his enthusiastic supporters, Democrats. Open borders, agressive environment regulation, not caring about education, jobs, or the middle class are all signs of being a Democrat. Trading spending increases and higher taxes today for the never kept promise of spending cuts in the future is a sure sign of the left side of politics in the U.S. today.

    Unless you can explain anything that Huntsman supports that could be appeal to a majority of Republicans, then one should conclude that Huntsman is a Democrat.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    It makes me wish there were more moderate third-way Democrats like Bill Clinton rather than ideological liberal lockstepping Democrats like Barack Obama.

    But that’s just me.

    Except for some inconvenient facts, like how Obama has kept much of Bush’s foreign policy, or how the health plan he pushed for is largely based on Republican ideas from the 90s…yeah, he’s a lockstep liberal alright….you know, it is just you…

  16. Michael says:

    Except for some inconvenient facts, like how Obama has kept much of Bush’s foreign policy, or how the health plan he pushed for is largely based on Republican ideas from the 90s

    Didn’t you get the memo? Any Republican politician or policy prior to 2008 is “liberal” and “RINO” now.