by Jonathan Singer, Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:27:21 AM EST
The one I'm worrying about isn't one of the retreads from 2008, or one of the potential 2008 Vice Presidential picks like Tim Pawlenty. No, it's the less used car salesman-like version of Mitt Romney, Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman. Take a look at some of what he had to say this week:
"What I'm referring to is where the Republican Party needs to go... I'm referring generally to Republican responses to the issues of the day. We've got to get beyond the gratuitous political carping and get on to real bold solutions and real ideas like healthcare, like energy, like the environment, like economic development, like housing. And until such time as we get to the point where we have real solutions for real people, and you're putting people before party, which is what we desperately need to do, we're going to be in a rut. And that's where we kind of find ourselves today."
I don't agree with all of Huntsman's policy prescriptions -- they're all quite conservative -- but to the extent that he is actually speaking about issues that matter to the American people and offering proposals to address them, he clearly stands out from the majority of the Republican leadership this side of Newt Gingrich (who despite the attention lavished upon him remains an immensely unpopular figure). And not only did Huntsman make some news this week by taking to task his own party's leadership in Washington for their empty political gamesmanship, to the detriment of offering real ideas, he also made a splash earlier this month by taking the surprising move of coming out in favor of civil unions in his state of Utah.
Huntsman may not be looking to run in 2012, so perhaps this is somewhat moot in the short run. But I do think we would be remiss if we weren't keeping an eye on him over the coming years -- particularly considering he's just 48 years old at present.