Thursday, January 12, 2012

Huntsman and the Republican VP Slot

Mitt Romney should pick Jon Huntsman as his running mate.

Huntsman's involvement would bring two key benefits. 

Firstly, Huntsman would provide credibility to the ticket in terms of foreign policy - an issue on which Barack Obama is generally well regarded by the American people. Asserting a mandarin-fluent, former ambassador to China into the forefront of the general election, will allow Republicans to show that we are serious about applying a successful and considered foreign policy over the next four years. Put simply, while one-line attacks on Obama's foreign policy are popular with Republican primary voters, these statements will be unable to attract voters in the general election. Huntsman has (in comparative terms) an extraordinarily strong base of foreign policy expertise and he has the charisma to effectively deliver that message to the american people.

The second benefit that Huntsman's VP candidacy will provide is in terms of its benefit for Republican policy debates and party identification. Since the rise of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the tea party, the Republican party has far too often allowed fringe elements to dominate our narrative both inside and outside the party. This has damaged the long term Republican brand, alienating independents and weakening once robust policy debates. Huntsman would help present the republican party in a different light - a party still conservative, but less emotional and more rational. 

For the past few years, intellect has in some republican circles become synonymous with liberal elitism. Putting Huntsman on the republican ticket will show that this characterization is unjust and in terms of the benefit for republican foreign policy that such knowledge can provide, is also counter-productive.

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