Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jon Huntsman and the Nice Guy Strategy

I'm still trying to figure out Jon Huntsman. Here's an interesting link explaining that Huntsman is going for the "Maverick" Republican position. Well, it worked for the nomination last time. And Huntsman was about the only McCain supporter in the State of Utah. If the tea-partier types, born-againers, culture warriors, and other assorted "ahem" interesting candidates all kick Romney around for a while, maybe a Maverick has the chance to get in (as long as the "Maverick" isn't from Alaska).

It could also be that Huntsman is going for the "nice guy" strategy. I know some may dispute, but he does seem to be a "nice guy" and has money, good looks, hair almost as nice as Mitt's but with charisma (Huntsman, not the hair - Trump's hair has that demographic sown up). And most amazingly, fairly moderate Republican cred. Solid business credentials, slightly moderate on social issues, etc. However, I can't figure how he could possibly think he won't be tagged to Obama by his opponents. Obama's strategy is to be nice to Huntsman and hold him close to link him up and destroy him with at least the Republican base. They pretty much admitted even as they tried to joke that Huntsman was the Republican who most threatened Obama's reelection and sent him off to China.

But why is that? Huntsman could very well lose the Republican base in the general election (the whole moderate Mormon thing). They won't vote for Obama, of course, so they stay home and suppress the vote. But if there is no crazy candidate on the right to stir up Obama's base, maybe that base doesn't get as enthused either. Mainstream Republicans would go for Huntsman. Moderate Independents wouldn't have any trouble voting for him. And, he could even win some Clinton (Hillary) Dems because they just might not want to vote for Obama. (And that's all I'll say about that.) The key to all this probably lies in things we can't predict as to what the state of the economy will be. A lot of the electorate actually thinks like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof that when you're rich you are somehow smart and wise (even if you're as ridiculous as the donald.)

But maybe the nice guy strategy will work. I read somewhere, and I can't find it to link it (so please, if you see something like this, let me know). That Huntsman will try to run a civil campaign to distinguish himself from all the sleazy panderers of the current Republican field. That would be a new thing. And maybe he could just pull it off as the others trip over themselves to be most obnoxious. If he somehow won the Republican nomination, who knows? With the Obama Administration trying to hug him as tightly as they can to mess with him in the Republican primaries, and with the natural and cultivated reserve of our current President, maybe they could just have a series of friendly debates sipping iced tea (well, probably Diet Coke for Huntsman) nicely pointing out where their philosophies and policies differ.

Well, I can dream can't I?

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