On May 21 I published a blog titled ‘My Bet is On Huntsman’:
“On February 19th, 2007, I wrote in this space that ‘Obama would ‘continue a graceful yet powerful surge to the White House’.
Today I predict that barring an Act of God, John Huntsman, the only candidate that Obama rightly fears, will represent the Republican party in the 2012 presidential election.
Huntsman made his debut on mainstream TV yesterday from a New Hampshire living room, chatting with John King. It was a relaxed, yet extensive introduction to the man who until a month ago was President Obama’s Ambassador to China.
Last night on Rachel Maddow’s show this ‘also Mormon’ ex-governor of Utah got plaudits from the progressive Democratic ex-mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson......A Huntsman/Obama debate, more than any other today conceivable, will be worth watching.
The only opposition candidate who is an intellectual match for Obama, Huntsman will appeal to those who have given up on the President’s ability to bring change, hoping that this sophisticated Republican will tame his greedy fellows.
Unless the Chinese disavow him, his insider’s view of the country that is overtaking us will be valuable to the business community. Yet he is perfectly credible in shirt-sleeves.
Huntsman will be dubbed a ‘Rockefeller Republican’ by the pundits. A Nation reader wrote this week that Republicans used to believe in government, convinced they could manage it better than Democrats. The 2012 election will not be over who can manage government better, but how much of it there should be. And Huntsman will argue that there is too much of it in China.”
On June 5th I wrote “The Unwrapping of Huntsman”, and on August 23, in a show of great creativity, I followed with “The Unveiling of Huntsman”:
"The face to face with Piers Morgan ”revealed him to be a white version of Obama, matching him in intelligence and balance, yet jocular where Obama is pondered, feisty compared to no-drama-Obama.
I’d wager that the Republican grownups are a little less distraught, while Obama must be wondering whether it was clever of him to send Huntsman to China - no wild goose chase, it turns out.”
Today I’m wondering whether Huntsman has been kept in the shadows, interviewed once in a while by a major news personality - today, by Christiane Amanpour - by Republican Party design, or a semi-conscious awareness that every other candidate was a loser? Even at this late date, I would not rule out an upset.
Tomorrow Huntsman will engage in a ‘Lincoln-Douglas’ type of debate, intended to allow for extended answers, with frontrunner Newt Gingrich. The famous Lincoln/Douglas debate is described at length and compared to contemporary debates at www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16054669.
Huntsman says he has managed to climb above 5% in New Hampshire, which will hold the first primary election of the 2012 Presidential campaign on January 10th.
As an early and consistent Obama supporter, I can think of several reasons why the President has not been able to carry out his promise of change. Though I cannot imagine voting for a Republican, at this axial moment in world history, it may be that he could achieve with a Republican Congress what Nixon achieved by reinstating relations with China, which Democratic Presidents had not dared to do.
On the other hand, I do not really believe that any country will be conducting business as usual, two years after the Arab Spring, already a worldwide revolt of the few against the many.