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Republican Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to be Named US Ambassador to China

This is about a transparently political move as I've ever seen. Governor Jon Huntsman was seen as a real contender for the 2012 presidential election, but, as Andrew Malcolm at the LAT Top of the Ticket points out, with him all the way on the other side of the world in China, it will not only be impossible for him to get his feet on the ground to meet and greet in Iowa and New Hampshire, but also he won't be able to be to criticize the Obama administration even if he does manage to run, since he will have been part of that administration.

My first question upon reading Andrew's post was "he won't actually accept this appointment, will he?" Michelle Malkin tells us that yes, he is going to accept the appointment. This Salt Lake Tribune report gives us all the details:

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. will resign from office to accept a nomination to become the ambassador to China.

Sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune that an announcement is scheduled for Saturday. Huntsman is in Washington, D.C., but calls to his spokeswoman and various staffers were not returned Friday night.

Huntsman, who had been mentioned as a potential Republican contender for the White House, was nominated by President George H.W. Bush as ambassador to Singapore -- he was the youngest ambassador in over a century --- and later was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as Deputy United States Trade Representative. He was unanimously confirmed to both positions.

He speaks Mandarin Chinese and he and his wife, Mary Kaye, have adopted a daughter from China.

Huntsman had been scheduled to travel to China next week as part of a delegation of Western governors visiting the nation to discuss climate change, alternative energy and clean air technologies.

That trip was canceled due to concerns by some of the governors over the swine flu outbreak.
Huntsman will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert who would serve through 2010, at which time a replacement would be elected until 2012.

Because Herbert is a conservative, the Democrats, who will be panting to win the governorship in the special election in 2010, will paint him as rabid, overbearing, and inflexible. He will have to get ahead of the game and make sure he defines himself before the Dems do it for him.

Update: Jake Tapper has background information on how Huntsman was chosen and why he accepted. The gist is that Jeff Bader who is part of Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff has been friends with Huntsman for a while now and recommended him highly. Huntsman said that when the president called on him, he could not say no. Huntsman seems like an honorable man. Unfortunately, his honor is being wasted on the most thuggish, partisan, and duplicitous president we've had in a very long time.

Allahpundit offers several reasons why he thinks Huntsman accepted Obama's offer, with this one being the last and most interesting:

(c) He was aiming at 2016 all along and this is actually a brilliant move to burnish his bipartisan cred and his foreign-policy gravitas in advance, especially insofar as it makes him a player with a rising superpower like China.

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Comments (15)

If Huntsman is going to be ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

If Huntsman is going to be so easily duped by Obamalala and his calculating henchmen, DLTDHYOTWO.

I think they wante... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


I think they wanted just ONE appointee that didn't suffer from tax problems.

Keep your friends close, yo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer. Smart move on the part of Rahm and Axelrod.

Obama-jitsu. Hunts... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Obama-jitsu.

Huntsman choses Bruce Lee over Bruce Ward.

Is he being placed under ar... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Is he being placed under arrest and being forced to serve time in China?

He doesn't have to take the job if he feels it isn't in his own best interest.

Don't worry about Lt. Gov. ... (Below threshold)

Don't worry about Lt. Gov. Herbert. The Dems may want to paint him as "rabid, overbearing, and inflexible", but you need to remember that this is Utah. We haven't had a democratic guv-nah since 1985. When running for office in Utah, you have to be against gun control, abortion, gay marriage and taxes and most democrats fail on three of those four.

Governor Jon Hunts... (Below threshold)
Governor Jon Huntsman was seen as a real contender for the 2012 presidential election...

Really? By who? Can someone quote me a non-MSM, non-Democratic source who has, prior to this, called Huntsman a "real contender" for 2012?

I'd like to know where this kind of spin comes from. Outside of Utah, Huntsman has, like, zero name recognition.

Obama forsees problems with... (Below threshold)
davidt:

Obama forsees problems with China(debt) and will need a scapegoat.

Wow, talk about paranoid co... (Below threshold)
Jake:

Wow, talk about paranoid conspiracy theories!

Let's see if we can recap:

* "This is about a transparently political move as I've ever seen."

* "Obama forsees problems with China(debt) and will need a scapegoat."

* "If Huntsman is going to be so easily duped by Obamalala and his calculating henchmen, DLTDHYOTWO."

But I thought Republicans, any Republican was supposed to inherently be smarter than anyone else on the planet. Perhaps this nomination was based on something crazy like .... qualifications?

Perhaps after 8 years of people like Michael Brown, y'all have forgotten that it's a *good thing* when nominees are actually qualified?

I'd understand the outrage and paranoia if this nominee was a potential contender (something that is news to me) AND totally unqualified for the position. But apparently from what I've read, he's insanely qualified, no?

So what exactly are y'all oppose to?

I'm glad to see Huntsman go... (Below threshold)
bnorm:

I'm glad to see Huntsman go. This last term he turned into a John McCain Jr. Many conservatives in Utah have become concerned with his slide to the left, especially with his pushing for climate change legislation.

Huntsman is a highly qualif... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Huntsman is a highly qualified man, who speaks fluent Mandarin and served some time as a Mormon missionary over in China and well understands their culture. Further he can be tough when American interests are at stake in trade negotiations. All of these issues make him extremely well qualified for this position.

However, I'm pretty unsure whether a Mormon would really have a fair chance to run for president as a GOP candidate or not because many Christian Evangelicals worked to derail Mitt Romney solely because of his Mormon faith. However, in the Democratic Party, the Mormon faith of Morris Udall who ran second to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 primaries was never really an issue. I think a Mormon could run for president as a Democrat with little issue, but too many in the GOP might not allow that. The GOP has never had a Catholic presidential nominee either, while the Democrats have had at least two, Kennedy and Kerry, as well as Vice President Biden. Being Protestant seems to be some sort of litmus test for a GOP nominee still after so many years.

I never even heard of the g... (Below threshold)
914:

I never even heard of the guy? And now I dont ever care to again.

It's nice to see our presid... (Below threshold)

It's nice to see our president pick a Republican.

After this choice and his tribual/photo decisions earlier in the week Obama has shown that he move to the right on select occasions. Refreshing.

Repugs outwitted again. Tr... (Below threshold)
Larry Dickman:

Repugs outwitted again. True, it's an unfair match. Fish in a barrel, I swear.

From defecting, to joining, to outright dying, the GOPosaurs are suffering from shrinkage. You better open your tent, or as Larry Craig would put it, take "a wide stance." Your Republican hopefuls are prepared to drink Obama's bathwater just to get a meaningless appointment or photo op with him.

21% Gads! You'll be fighting it out with the Green Party and Libertarians in '010.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/parsing-the-polls/21-percent.html

Kim in the mirror' "I hate ... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Kim in the mirror' "I hate Obama, I hate Obama, I hate Obama." Stamps her feet. pulls her hair. "I hate Obama, I hate Obama, I hate Obama." Stamps her feet some more and wails;" I HATE OBAMA." CAN"T YOU HEAR MEEEEEEEEE??????????? WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Sheesh woman I don't think you're going to survive the next 8 years.
depp=true
noitz=No one can hear you now.




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