Why did Huntsman, though offering a conservative economic plan, not attempt to appeal to conservative voters?
When, in January, I endorsed Jon Huntsman for President, I did so with reservations, pointing out that his “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.”
In her column this weekend, Peggy Noonan offered a similar perspective on his failure to gain traction among Republican voters:
Jon Huntsman was hobbled because he didn’t seem to identify on any level with Republicans on the ground, or particularly like them. Voters don’t take to you when they know you don’t take to them. Sarcastic tweets about global warming were not the beginning of his campaign, but the end.
(Read the whole thing, in large measure to why she contends the “The GOP should go back to being John Wayne.”)
It is passing strange that the Republican candidate with perhaps the most consistently conservative economic plan and a conservative record in office (as well as executive experience) would act as if he were running against the citizens whose votes he most needed to win — and whose political views mostly closely coincided with his own.
I’m not sure Peggy is right when she says that Huntsman didn’t particularly like Republicans, but he certainly didn’t campaign like he did. And that’s one reason he never emerged as the leading “non-Romney” even if he did have an economic plan which embraced Tea Party principles and which had the potential to resonate with rank-and-file conservative voters.
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