Friday, July 22, 2011

Is the Huntsman campaign coming to an end?

If you're at all familiar with the views expressed at this blog, you'll know that we're generally quite impressed with former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.

I've even called him "Huntsman the Formidable," the one Republican who should really worry President Obama (but who won't, because Republicans are too stupid to nominate him).

It's not that we agree with him on the issues -- despite some renegade positions on, say, civil unions, and despite his admirable civility, he's ardently conservative and very much in line with Republican orthodoxy not so much of the present but at least of the recent past -- it's that he's something of a throwback to when Republicans weren't entirely insane. And, yeah, that makes him look good.

He's in the race for the Republican nomination for president, but he's way back and without a hope. The latest RCP average has him tied for ninth, with the ridiculous Rick Santorum, in what is generally an embarrassingly weak field. He polls at just 2 percent -- hardly a formidable showing.

And now his campaign manager, Susie Wiles, has resigned:

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Wiles said it was "just time" for her to move on.

"I signed up to get it started," she said. "It's like a phase. This morning I said it's time to move on."

Sounds to me like she was pushed out, likely because the campaign is doing so poorly.

Now, Huntsman still has some fairly big names still on board, including McCainiacs John Weaver and Matt David, the latter of whom also worked for Schwarzenegger in California. (David will replace Wiles.) And he's raising a lot of money. But at this point it looks like he's positioning himself for 2016, not competing seriously for 2012. And while it may not be wise to read too much into the departure of a single campaign staffer, even the top one, this change is hardly a positive sign.

I suppose that change could bring improvement, but I doubt it, not with Romney and Bachmann so far ahead and not with his inability so far to catch on in any significant way. Huntsman's campaign is already doomed to failure, and I suspect it won't be around much longer.

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