Junior McSpiffy
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And I speak of, of course, Jon Huntsman Jr.

A year into his presidency, Obama was already looking at 2012, and feeling that Huntsman would be a formidable opponent, he made the call and tabbed Huntsman as ambassador to China. A brilliant call as there was likely nobody more qualified at the time for that position. And Huntsman signed on and served with honor, but working with a Democratic president submarined any hopes he had in 2012.

And now we have another similar situation. Trump has to know that he won't just be given his party's nomination as so often happens with a sitting president. So he is asking Huntsman to become ambassador to Russia. The thing is, this is a much less natural fit for him. This one reeks of subverting potential opponents in the future, but without the subtlety and panache Obama had when he did so in 2009.

Huntsman 2020. Oh I so with that would happen.
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Chad Ellis
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I like Huntsman quite a bit but I'm really, really skeptical of both of your premises about how he was viewed. As we saw when he ran, Huntsman has virtually no chance of winning the GOP nomination; I doubt very much that Team Obama was thinking, "Crap, Huntsman is a real threat...how do we get him out of the picture?"

By the same token, I think Trump absolutely expects that the GOP nomination will be a formality. Sitting Presidents sometimes get gadfly attacks from the fringe, but absent something that makes him unelectable in the general, Trump has every reason to think that he'll sail through the nomination process.

I think Obama chose Huntsman in part because he was excellently qualified and in part because it was a good "across the aisle" gesture, like other appointments of senior (but moderate) GOP figures.

This is the first I've heard about Trump's calling on Huntsman and, given that it's Russia, I'm cautious about even guessing what's behind it. I don't recall specifics but I assume that Huntsman wasn't a fan of Trump during the primaries at least -- and probably not afterwards. Trump does seem to like to get people who criticized him either working for him or to be seen begging for a job...as we saw with another prominent GOP Mormon.
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Junior McSpiffy
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
I like Huntsman quite a bit but I'm really, really skeptical of both of your premises about how he was viewed. As we saw when he ran, Huntsman has virtually no chance of winning the GOP nomination; I doubt very much that Team Obama was thinking, "Crap, Huntsman is a real threat...how do we get him out of the picture?"

By the same token, I think Trump absolutely expects that the GOP nomination will be a formality. Sitting Presidents sometimes get gadfly attacks from the fringe, but absent something that makes him unelectable in the general, Trump has every reason to think that he'll sail through the nomination process.

I think Obama chose Huntsman in part because he was excellently qualified and in part because it was a good "across the aisle" gesture, like other appointments of senior (but moderate) GOP figures.

This is the first I've heard about Trump's calling on Huntsman and, given that it's Russia, I'm cautious about even guessing what's behind it. I don't recall specifics but I assume that Huntsman wasn't a fan of Trump during the primaries at least -- and probably not afterwards. Trump does seem to like to get people who criticized him either working for him or to be seen begging for a job...as we saw with another prominent GOP Mormon.


Oh, Huntsman was eminently qualified for the Chinese ambassadorship. But this was something I found on Wikipedia (the source of all truth, obvi, but Wiki cites the WSJ as the article from which this came)

Quote:
On November 20, 2012, Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina suggested that the Obama campaign believed Huntsman would have been a particularly difficult candidate to face in the general election. Messina said that the campaign was "honest about our concerns about Huntsman" and that Huntsman "would have been a very tough candidate


As for Trump, I am certain he assumes he'll breeze in. But I am also certain that someone will mount a more serious attack than a sitting presidnet normally faces.

Also, Huntsman initally endorsed him, I presume as a "He's not Hillary" gesture, but rescinded his endorsement after the whole thing about grabbing.
 
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I like Huntsman and at least one of his daughters is hot.
 
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No idea what's behind this. Huntsman's reasonably qualified; don't know what Russia background he has, but he got solid reviews as Obama's ambassador to China.
 
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Huntsman was that weird unicorn that certain liberals and conservatives both liked, but the bulk of each base didn't like. I don't think (sadly) that he would have ever been a threat of any kind to Obama. Or Trump for that matter.
 
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Junior McSpiffy
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wifwendell wrote:
No idea what's behind this. Huntsman's reasonably qualified; don't know what Russia background he has, but he got solid reviews as Obama's ambassador to China.


Huntsman served his LDS mission in Taiwan and his father has a good number of business dealings in China. But for Russia, he's got no ties whatsoever except he's been ambassador to their next-door neighbor.
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We really need someone who is not tied to this administration's apron strings for our diplomacy with the Russians to have any sort of credibility (credibility with our own people, that is). Huntsman would appear to be an excellent choice. He's experienced, competent, and is obviously not a sycophantic Trump supporter.

 
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GameCrossing wrote:
And I speak of, of course, Jon Huntsman Jr.

Who?
 
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Huntsman is not the across-the-aisle figure some of you are assuming, Huntsman is about Huntsman:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-2...

Craven
Quote:
The 56-year-old has earned a reputation as someone who ingratiates himself with his patron of the moment but whose long-term loyalty cannot be counted on. His critics — including some who have worked with him — complain privately that he’s always thinking about how he can climb the next step up the ladder. When his name comes up around this town, one often hears words like craven and opportunistic.


Trump sycophant
Quote:
While others from the Republican establishment were signing Never Trump letters last year, Huntsman was singing Trump’s praises. Elise Viebeck reported last October that “the theory in foreign policy circles” was that he “wanted to be secretary of state badly enough he was willing to risk his credibility on Trump.”


Until he's not...
Quote:
But Huntsman seemed to calculate after David Fahrenthold uncovered the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video of Trump boasting about groping women that he could no longer win. So, just weeks before the election, he called on Trump to drop out of the race. “In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told The Salt Lake Tribune, which is owned by his brother.


Until he is again...
Quote:
After Trump won, though, Huntsman changed his tune again. As the foreign policy firmament fretted about Trump’s phone conversation with the leader of Taiwan, Huntsman surprised many of his old friends by rushing to the president-elect’s defense on Fox News and in the New York Times. He described the move as “shrewd.” It could be a “useful leverage point,” he said. “Having lived in Taiwan twice and having lived in China once, there's a little too much hyperventilating about this one,” Huntsman said on Fox.


Enlist the fam
Quote:
The whole Huntsman family has been part of the charm offensive:

Mary Anne, one of the ambassador's daughters, played piano at the White House yesterday.

Abby Huntsman, a co-host of "Fox & Friends Weekend," conducted a softball interview with Sean Spicer last week.


Getting there with daddy's money
Quote:
HOW HUNTSMAN MADE IT THIS FAR:

-- George H.W. Bush named him ambassador to Singapore when he was just 32, making him the youngest U.S. ambassador in a century. He had helped Bush with fundraising in Utah, and his billionaire father — who previously worked in the Nixon administration — was (and remains) a major GOP donor.


Craven? Yeah, he used to love Obama
Quote:
But Huntsman was hobbled by his links to Obama in that campaign, specifically a handwritten love letter he’d sent the then-president in 2009. Praising him as gracious and kind, he wrote: “You are a remarkable leader — and it has been a great honor getting to know you.” He underlined the word remarkable for emphasis.


And used to love Hillary:
Quote:
In another letter, Huntsman effusively praised Hillary Clinton. “I have enormous regard for your experience, sense of history and brilliant analysis of world events,” he wrote Bill Clinton. “I must report that Sec. Clinton has won the hearts and minds of the State Dept. bureaucracy — no easy task. And after watching her in action, I can see why. She is well-read, hard working, personable and has even more charisma than her husband! It’s an honor to work with her.”


Shallow?
Quote:
The portrait of Huntsman in Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book about the 2012 election was particularly unflattering. Both the candidate and his wife are depicted as especially shallow. Then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley called Huntsman in the middle of the night in Beijing after reading a Washington Post story about his campaign-in-waiting while he was still serving as Obama’s ambassador. “This is a pretty s---y way to treat someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime,” Daley told him. Huntsman denied The Post’s report, even though he knew it was accurate.


Romney's no fan
Quote:
Mitt Romney also came to detest Huntsman, a fellow Mormon, after he defected to John McCain ahead of the 2008 primaries. “Your grandfather would be ashamed of you,” Romney told him at the time, according to an account in the Halperin and Heilemann book.

Mitt got sweet revenge four years later by crushing Huntsman like a bug in New Hampshire. Especially meaningful to him was McCain’s endorsement three days before the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary. Hunstsman saw this as a betrayal and personally emailed the Arizona senator to complain, noting the price he’d paid in Utah for snubbing a favorite son four years before.


Against Trump (and Romney) before he was for Trump.
Quote:
Ironically, Huntsman attacked Romney during the 2012 campaign for sucking up to Trump. The former Massachusetts governor schlepped to Trump Tower to seek the businessman’s support in September 2011, following a procession of other candidates that year that included Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Huntsman bragged that he didn’t meet with Trump during one of the debates.

Trump, who had flirted with running that year before taking a pass, wanted to play the role of kingmaker. He announced that he would sponsor a debate in Des Moines the week before the Iowa caucuses. Huntsman immediately declared that he would not participate. "We look forward to watching Mitt and Newt suck up to The Donald with a big bowl of popcorn," said Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller.


And Trump mocked him (big surprise)
Quote:
Trump relished and even took credit for Huntsman’s inability to gain traction and, over a period of several months, mocked him on Twitter as an ineffective ambassador to Beijing:








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