2012 Watch: Who is Jon Huntsman?

It’s not uncommon for a Republican, when considering a run for national office, to move to the center to appeal to moderates, appeal to the media, or what have you. Moderate Republicans are not all the uncommon up here in New York. I like to think of myself as a moderate conservative.

However moderate Republican’s from Utah? The same Utah that gives us Mormons and the Osmond Family? The same Utah who might be getting an extra seat in the house to offset the seat the Democrat Party wants to give to Washington D.C.? Apparently so, because Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman seems to be just that kind of moderate Republican.

Gov. Huntsman sad down recently with Politico.com

Largely under the radar of the national media and even out of sight of many in his own party, Huntsman, 48, is emerging as an articulate, unapologetic and unlikely spokesman for a new brand of Republicanism, one that seems out of vogue at a time when many in the GOP attribute their fall from power to a deviation from right-wing orthodoxy.

Huntsman thinks the party’s challenge is more profound, owing less to its excessive spending practices during the Bush era than to sweeping demographic and political changes that threaten to consign Republicans to a long-term minority status and confine their appeal to narrow sections of the country.

The party needs to be more intellectually rigorous, and to compete for the votes of the young, the elites and minorities, he said in an interview with POLITICO. To do so, the GOP needs to tack toward the middle on environment, gay rights and immigration. And, yes, Ronald Reagan is to be admired – but as much for his oft-overlooked pragmatism as for his conservative principles.

It was an interesting interview, and while I’m rapidly growing tired of the “moderate” vs. “conservative” petty arguments thoughtful debate, our last moderate candidate wasn’t able to articulate his thoughts on positions like Gov. Huntsman can.

He’ll be an interesting cat to learn more aboot.

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