That’s what you may have read had Jon Huntsman ran a smarter campaign, or at the very least hired smarter people. Let me ‘splain…
I know many in the media like to focus on Erick Erikson’s “conversion” to Jon Huntsman as a truuuuue conservative candidate. From a recent column:
“Huntsman’s policy proposals are deeply conservative. He is more pro-life than Mitt Romney, more consistent than either Romney or Gingrich, and actually seems refreshingly unwilling to play in the kabuki theater we expect the candidates to go through.”
The rub with the Huntsman campaign, however, is the key point Erick always ALSO makes that gets ignored:
“…every independent voter I encounter and moderate Democrat I encounter is baffled why we are not considering the guy they actually prefer right now. Part of it is because moderate Democrats prefer him and part of it is because Huntsman campaign made a conscious decision to start the campaign giving conservatives the middle finger.”
When we look back at the primaries, I really hope we take a serious look at some of the terrible consulting work that’s been done, and the Huntsman campaign is a prime example. The same can be said about the Herman Cain campaign, but Dr. Horowitz has warned me that I’m a #headdesk away from permanent brain damage, so let’s just focus on the former Governor of Utah.
Truth be told, Jon Huntsman SHOULD be the Not-Romney of the race. He has the strongest conservative record, but manages to be a strong conservative without scaring away the moderate and independent voters we need to defeat President Obama in 2012…and really, that we need to win any nationwide race. The rub is that instead of selling that record to the people who would vote for him in a Republican primary, he seemed more concerned with appealing to the voters who didn’t.
I can’t think of anyone outside of John Weaver’s accountants who think this was a good strategy. The base (who like it or not, votes) was already leery aboot Huntsman after he accepted a job as an Ambassador for the Obama administration. So to combat that the Huntsman campaign came right out of the gate and…campaigned for the approval of MSNBC and Vanity Fair. Instead of convincing folks who vote in the Republican primary, they though it made more sense to pander to people who don’t vote in a Republican primary or for Republicans in a general election (while bragging to conservatives that he won’t pander to him).
It’s not too late for Huntsman, and stranger things have happened. He’s all-in in New Hampshire, and if Ron Paul wins Iowa then who knows what happens next. It was also pointed out on Twitter than this time four years ago, John McCain was 4th in the polls before going on to win the nomination.***
McCain however had the sense to fire his consultants who ran the same failed campaign they are currently running for Huntsman.
***Sorry, too many polls. What I was thinking of was McCain’s position on the polls where he fired consultants, and then went on to win the nomination. That was the point I was trying to and thought I was making.