He's: 1. the U.S. Ambassador to China, 2. the former Governor of Utah, 3. Republican, 4. wealthy, 5. good-looking, 6. Mormon, and 7. was co-chairman of McCain's campaign in '08.
“I couldn’t be happier with the ambassador’s service, and I’m sure he will be very successful in whatever endeavors he chooses in the future,” Obama said of Huntsman.... “And I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary.”I love when the Prez gets sarcastic.
“It’s also good to see Jon Huntsman, our ambassador to China,” [White House Chief of Staff William Daley said...] “Or as we call him around the White House: the Manchurian Candidate. I want Jon to know that the president has no hard feelings. In fact, he just did an interview with the Tea Party Express saying how integral he has been to the success of the Obama administration.”So... they sound worried, right?
[T]he appointment of Huntsman was, in the first place, unmistakably political. With senior Obama advisers openly fretting about the prospect of facing off against a telegenic, wealthy, center-right Republican, shipping him off to Beijing was hailed as a savvy play.Helloooo, savvy plan!
No way, the assumption went, could he somehow return stateside and capture his party’s nomination after serving in the Obama administration.Okay, let's look back at the news reports from 2009, when Huntsman was appointed ambassador:
For Mr. Obama, whose advisers already have their eyes set on his re-election in 2012, the selection of Mr. Huntsman is something of a political coup. He has emerged as one of the nation’s most visible Republican governors and was expected to at least consider seeking his party’s presidential nomination to run against Mr. Obama....
It was far from certain whether Mr. Huntsman would have actually sought the Republican presidential nomination – his centrist views could have created a challenge in early-voting states – but if he is confirmed by the Senate for the ambassadorship to China, he is part of the Obama team at a time when China is of critical importance. And he is out of the mix in the 2012 presidential race.So everyone knew what was going on. It was hailed as a savvy plan. What now? The savviest people are the one who can outfox somebody else's savvy plan.
“When the president of the United States asks you to step up and serve in a capacity like this, that to me is the end of the conversation and the beginning of the obligation to rise to the challenge,” said Mr. Huntsman, who was joined by his wife Mary Kaye, and the couple’s seven children, one of whom was adopted from China....
“Governor Huntsman has respect for China’s proud traditions,” Mr. Obama said Saturday. “He understands what it will take to make America more competitive in the 21st century and will be an unstinting advocate for America’s interests and ideals.... I hope the good people of Utah will forgive me and understand how proud they should be of their governor for his willingness to serve... He always puts country ahead of himself. That’s what Jon has always done.”