Huntsman Revives Role As Radically Reasonable Republican

by
Owen Poindexter
Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and 2012 presidential candidate, told his fellow Republicans that their attacks on Susan Rice are not warranted, and don't fit with the facts.


Jon Huntsman has once again emerged as one of the more level-headed figures in the G.O.P. PHOTO: Reuters

Jon Huntsman said something rarely heard in Republican circles: chill out about your attacks on the Obama administration. Specifically, all the clamor about Susan Rice and what she said after the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi.

When you're in a wartime setting and you have an attack like that -- let's face it. No one is prepared for an attack like that. There is, as Robert McNamara used to say, there is a fog of war. And it takes awhile to sort through the details. And it doesn't do a whole lot of good for the political class to point fingers before you even know what was behind it. And you're not going to know that [immediately].

Huntsman joins a growing chorus that includes the White House press secretary and a briefly interviewed war journalist that have said that the attacks on Rice are not warranted. While Huntsman says it in a gentler way, his point is the same: that the Republican narrative condemning Susan Rice does not fit with the facts.

Huntsman has made waves in Republican ponds for other level-headed statements, like “I’m on the side of science,” in reference to climate change. He does not seek soapboxes and loudspeakers as actively as others in the party who have had or do have presidential aspirations (Huntsman ran in 2012—you are forgiven if you didn’t know that), but he would be an obvious point man for those who would like to take the G.O.P. down a more moderate course. If Republicans wanted to hit the reset button on political grandstanding to win back the public’s trust, Huntsman would be a great spokesperson. That role, however, is more likely to fall to Chris Christie, as Huntsman is too moderate and soft spoken to really carve out a place for himself in the wider Republican dialogue.

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