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Jon Huntsman’s Inevitable Drawback

Business Insider’s Michael Brendan Dougherty ably makes the case for Jon Huntsman as the Republican alternative to Mitt Romney – imploring conservatives and Republican primary voters to consider the former Utah Governor. Indeed, there is much to like about Huntsman. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to gain any traction in the polls. This isn’t surprising at all. After all, the last job Huntsman held was Ambassador to China – for the Obama administration.

The Republican primary electorate has moved far to the right and is virulently anti-Obama. Some candidates have even based their entire campaign on a law that’s been dubbed with Obama’s name. If that doesn’t illustrate how toxic Obama is with the Republican primary electorate than nothing will.

As Dougherty shows, Huntsman clearly has a solid, successful conservative record. But the Obama stain is apparently too much for Republican primary voters. Looking at the candidates who’ve ascended to the status of frontrunner at some point (Bachman, Perry, Cain), all three are red meat republicans with the ability to whip the base into a frenzy and drive liberals crazy. Huntsman’s personality and demeanor just doesn’t fit in with those other three. He plays the adult in the room, the one serious about governing the country.

The problem is that the Republican primary electorate isn’t interested in someone serious. If they were, Herman Cain wouldn’t be leading the race. For Huntsman, his lack of national prominence allows his connection with Obama to completely overshadow his extremely successful tenure as Governor of Utah. Republican voters just aren’t going to support a candidate who served in the Obama administration. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Huntsman’s going to get the serious look his record indicates he should.

Image via flickr user Gage Skidmore

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