Huntsman To Be Ambassador To China

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in China, Republicans, Utah

This is a pretty surprising turn of events, because not only was Huntsman mentioned by many as a potential presidential contender in 2012, but this move will have the net effect of thumbing his nose at the entire Republican party. Because if anybody is Mr Bipartisanship in the Republican party, it’s Hunstman.

Mix this in with the Judd Gregg choice (even though it failed) and Arlen Specter’s move to the Democratic party, and you’ve got the appearance of Obama consistently building bridges.

From Wash Post:

Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will be introduced today as President Obama’s choice as ambassador to China, a source familiar with the decision said last night. [...]

Several Salt Lake City media outlets reported last night that Huntsman had accepted the offer to head the U.S. mission in Beijing, and that Lt. Gov. Gary R. Herbert would replace him as governor. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Huntsman was in Washington last night, but that calls to his spokeswoman and various staffers were not returned.

Huntsman was elected in November to a second term as Utah’s governor, drawing 70 percent of the vote. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004 and, for President George H.W. Bush, was ambassador to Singapore. He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.

Could Huntsman use this as a pivot to run for President in 2012? Doubt it. I think he has his eyes on 2016, when Republicans will most likely be looking for a way out of the hole. Yes, I could be wrong and the Republican party may recover, but I just don’t see the mood of the electorate shifting their way on anything but fiscal policy.

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Saturday, May 16th, 2009 and is filed under China, Republicans, Utah. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Huntsman To Be Ambassador To China”

  1. michael reynolds Says:

    Interesting. Obama co-opts one of the few credible voices of reason in the GOP. He gets a terrific ambassador and bipartisanship points, and the GOP loses one more obstacle to their dogged pursuit of complete irrelevance.

    So, Olympia: of which country would you like to be ambassador?

  2. Tillyosu Says:

    “Building Bridges?” Ha! What’s that saying about the proximity of friends and enemies?

  3. Alistair Says:

    Look for both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins looking for a job to be an ambassador.

  4. wj Says:

    Why would Snowe or Collins be on the short list for an ambassadorship? They are doing just fine where they are. And they are hardly threats to become a Republican candidate who can both bring in the conservatives and appeal to the moderates from both parties. (Which was Huntsman’s possibility.)

    Now if Obama is looking to use ambassadorships to assure that the Republican Party has no chance of fielding a viable candidate, he might look at Crist, or even Jeb Bush. But beyond that, who on the horizon could threaten the Democrats? Admittedly 4 (not to mention 8) years is a long time. But I’m not seeing any other obvious possibilities as of today.

  5. michael reynolds Says:

    WJ:

    Because they’d both most likely be replaced by Democrats. Democrat governor, purple-trending-blue state.

    Given the choice between 4 years in a posh embassy in London or Paris or Madrid and hanging out with Mitch McConnel as part of a powerless party that actively hates you, what would you take?

    I’d say anything this side of ambassador to Pitcairn Island would be an improvement.

  6. Tillyosu Says:

    Actually, I would say that Snowe and Collins are two of the most powerful members of the Senate right now…

  7. silus dogood Says:

    what about john boehner?he is one of very few who seem to get it,he has always fought to keep spending down,and he could be a formidable oponent for the presidency,as he is not afraid to speak his mind.
    check out thepatrickhenrycaucus.org click on brittannia radio,great new blog site.these people have the right idea.

  8. wj Says:

    Michael:
    Well, I certainly wouldn’t claim that I have my finger on the pulse of Maine from all the way across the continent. But from what I can see from California, both Snowe and Collins look like running more as incumbents who have accurately represented the views of their voters — not so much as Republicans.

    Yes, a Republican running for an open seat in Maine (not to mention against an incumbent Democrat) would certainly have a very hard road to travel. But for these two ladies? And, as Tillyosu notes, they have more clout in Washington these days than any other two Republicans.

    All that said, if either or both take high level positions in the current administration, that is likely the dead knell (if it has not already sounded, which is a different discussion) for the Republican Party as a viable force in American politics for a couple of decades. The radical right and the theocons will be delighted, of course. But they thrive on irrelevance — it makes their supporters keep ponying up the big bucks.

  9. michael reynolds Says:

    Michael:

    I didn’t mean to imply Snowe or Collins would have trouble getting re-elected. They’re shoo-ins. But as you point out, Republican X in Maine would have a very tough path.

    I think right now it’s about 50/50 whether the GOP splits. I think it would be smart, actually, because then the Money Republicans can reach out to the middle without the toxic dead weight of the theocons. They need to make it a 3-way game because in a 2-way the Dems win.

  10. michael reynolds Says:

    I don’t know why I addressed that last comment to myself.

    Hmmmm. Narcissism? Or not enough coffee?

  11. wj Says:

    Smart, for the non-theocons in the GOP, to split. But not easy. I suspect it will take a long enough time in the wilderness for the non-theocrats in the GOP to resign themselves to the impossibility of retaking the existing party. I confess that I have not (yet) resigned myself to it.

    But when enough of us do, the split will happen. Then the question will be, how effective has Obama been at moving the Democrats to the middle? Because for a GOP split to work, there has to be a significant group of people who are not in the current party, but are not enamored with the Democrats either. Otherwise, the new party won’t be going anywhere either. Of course, Pelosi and Reid help with that — but will they still be around in a couple of years when push comes to shove?

  12. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Quote Of The Day – 2012 Blowout Says:

    […] more about Hunstman specifically and Obama’s savvy move to make him ambassador to China… Now, Huntsman’s decision to accept the president’s invitation to serve as […]

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