Jon Hunstman is very conservative. This is news to no one, save for conservative commentators.
But they’re coming around. As they continue their desperate quest to find an alternative candidate to Mitt Romney, conservatives are starting to come around to Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and Obama ambassador to China who kicked off his campaign with a full-throated endorsement of the Ryan Budget.
That went largely unheard thanks to a campaign strategy that positioned Huntsman as a moderate and therefore anathema to this cycle’s GOP primary electorate. Now, perhaps, that’s changing.
Last month, the influential Erick Erickson gave Huntsman a second look, leading to a lot of tweets and discussion. Friday morning, George Will told Laura Ingraham that frustrated conservatives should start thinking Huntsman.
And, really, why shouldn’t they? Huntsman really isn’t the moderate he’s made out to be (or that he’s made himself out to be) on most any issue. His total embrace of the Ryan budget alone makes him more friendly to the conservatives in his party than many of the candidates he’s sharing a debate stage with.
Yet he spent weeks on the campaign trail attacking opponents who (like him) think the government shouldn’t do anything to combat climate change. If we’ve learned one thing this cycle, it’s that Republican voters don’t like to be told what to think, even by people who largely agree with them.
There are signs that it’s not just the commentariat that’s sniffing around Huntsman. There was that poll in New Hampshire recently that showed Huntsman breaking into the double digits. Erickson tweeted Friday that “Every day I get more ‘You know, Huntsman’s not *that* bad’ emails.”
So maybe this is the start of something big for Huntsman: people who are on his side of nearly every issue suddenly starting to realize that they are.
Then again, Huntsman’s campaign just made a big deal out of dissing tea party favorite Donald Trump, so maybe not.