On Friday, reporting GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia’s personal endorsement of Mitt Romney, I noted that although I found him Jimmy’s candidate of the four (then) leading contenders for the White House, I was not yet ready to endorse the former Massachusetts governor because of his failure to put forward a bold enough economic plan. A few days after making that comment, I was reviewing the platform of another candidate who, like the former Massachusetts governor, has executive experience, having helmed the state of Utah for four years.
His policies were as bold, as conservative as his economic plan which Wall Street Journal editors had touted in early September. Not just that, it seemed that on a great variety of issues, Jon Huntsman took the stand I would have taken, showing a skepticism of state power and a confidence in the private sector.
He would “dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) at the heart of the financial crisis. He understands that real “financial reform will mean breaking the Faustian bargain between Wall Street and Washington that helped fuel the housing bubble”. Emphasis added. The problem is not just the greed on Wall Street, but primarily the system “crony capitalism” where political appointees and federal bureaucrats help create an unstable (and unfair) system.
Huntsman would repeal “the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which perpetuates too-big-to-fail and imposes costly and mostly useless regulations on innocent smaller banks without addressing the root causes of the crisis or anticipating future crises” and end “the bailout subsidies”. That’s not the only misguided legislation the candidate would repeal; he would ask Congress to reverse, opposing also Obamacare and Sarbanes-Oxley. He has expressed admiration for “Congressman Paul Ryan’s honest attempt to save Medicare.”
Jon Huntsman also believes that we “must increase the production of domestic energy sources.” To that end, he favors “expediting the process for reviewing and approving safe, environmentally sound energy projects, including the development of North American oil and gas reserves; oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; shale gas and oil in the U.S.; and Canadian oil sands.” Not only will this development lead to greater energy production — and thus lower costs — it will also create private sector jobs.
And then there was his statement on same-sex civil unions in Saturday night’s debate. For these reasons, I endorse Jon Huntsman for President of the United States and encourage our readers who live in New Hampshire to vote for him in tomorrow’s primary. I know that I differ from my co-blogger on this issue; when I alerted Bruce to the impending endorsement, he informed that Huntsman has been his “favorite punching bag on Twitter.” I speak for myself — and not the blog — in making this endorsement.
Now, to be sure, Huntman’s record has been far from perfect. And, in the course of this campaign, he seems to have a predilection to attack his fellow Republicans — and mock conservatives. And Huntsman has seemed particularly eager to attack his Romney.
At times, these seems almost a personal vendetta. Now, to be sure, Romney has, by and large, conducted himself with class on the campaign trail; he has articulated a strong critique of the incumbent administration and has in broad terms outlined a conservative vision. But, unlike Huntsman, he has not put forward a bold enough plan. The frontrunner could use some needling.
This is not a time for half-measures. The next president will, to borrow an expression, inherit a number of problems from his predecessor (i.e., the incumbent), notably challenges created by burdensome federal regulations and the crisis of our ever-increasing national debt.
Barack Obama has not done that. Jon Huntsman has. Mitt Romney has only taken a few steps in that direction. To be sure, the frontrunner has made some solid suggestions, but hasn’t gone as far as Huntsman in offering a comprehensive approach.
Huntsman may not have as strong a chance of winning the Republican nomination as does Romney, but should he do well tomorrow — and it looks like he’ll outpoll Rick Santorum (the man who should have the momentum following his strong showing in Iowa) he may, as a friend of a friend put it on Facebook, “force Romney to move to the right and commit to a Conservative agenda.”
In 1976, Ronald Reagan wanted to see a “new and revitalized” Republican Party, “raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors”. On his web-site and in his economic plan, Jon Huntsman has raised just such a banner. And that is why I endorse him for President of the United States.
Should he not succeed in that quest, let us hope that his bold vision inspires the man who vanquishes him to campaign under a similar banner.