Monday, December 31, 2012

Huntsman: States should decide gay marriage

Jon Huntsman, pushing a "strong dose" of libertarianism in an interview with The Telegraph, and refusing to rule out another run for president.

He said he "absolutely" supported individual states being allowed to implement gay marriage, saying that Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, believed that "equality under the law is an American value".

Mr Huntsman did not rule out a second presidential run in 2016 but said he was not spending his time "looking for some opening that we can fit in".

He said that the three most talked about names for the Republican nomination - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney's former running mate Congressman Paul Ryan - "all deserve high marks individually".

However, he declined to support any of them, saying he believed the party needed to go through "a very competitive process in terms of ideas".

Two things.

1. Huntsman has been progressive on gay rights for awhile -- even as governor of Utah. Back in the ancient times of 2009, he called on the GOP to accept civil unions -- something that got him in trouble with some Utah Republicans but didn't dim his statewide support.

In fact, even after coming out for gay civil unions, he sported an 80% approval rating in Utah with 67% saying his civil union support made no difference in their opinion of his job performance.

But something he might want to forget is that he supported the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage when he first ran for governor in 2004. 

2. Huntsman didn't necessarily flub as a 2012 candidate because he was too moderate. After all, look at the guy who won.

He flubbed mainly because he was bad on the campaign trail, bad in debates, and simply didn't connect with voters on a visceral level.

That's the Occam's Razor-secret that many -- who love trashing "intolerant", conservative GOP voters -- fail to acknowledge. He wasn't a great national campaigner.

[Hat tip: Ruby Cramer]