Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman hinted he might depart the party in favor of a more-inclusive unnamed third party. Or did he? That seems to the debate following an interview with Jeff Greenfield.
I like Huntsman. He had the right measure of conservative credentials along with a moderate approach to many of the most fervent issues in politics. And his experience in Asian foreign policy is unmatched in the history of U.S. presidential candidates. That’s what we need as China continues rev up its economic muscle.
So what makes Huntsman — always the loyal Republican — suggest he could depart the party of Lincoln within a few years? The answer is simple: The Republican Party is becoming so exclusional that it is difficult to reach out to independents and crossover Democrats.
Huntsman has reluctantly given his endorsement to Mitt Romney. As a lifelong Republican, I can relate. I reluctantly will support Romney not because I think there is anything wrong with him — he’s more than qualified — just that he is uninspiring and, unfortunately, will have to move to the right on most issues to protect his base as the campaign unfolds.
Last year, the Washington Post opined that Republican Party politics had devolved to a “coalition of intense policy demanders … own agendas that aim to get the voters.” Long gone are the days of campaigning on the major issues and doing what is right on all issues. These days, candidates from both parties are forced to pander to their base just to garner enough votes to win. Moderation in politics seems to be a bad thing, which is why candidates like Huntsman and the presumptive nominee Romney have such trouble gaining widespread support.
This has to change. We need more Republicans of the caliber of former Sen. Howard Baker. He knew how to govern and to compromise without sacrificing his principles. That’s the cure for America today.