This online video bashing Jon Huntsman from the right is a good introduction to the challenge the former U.S. ambassador to China faces in winning over conservative voters. It’s true that all the major GOP candidates have, er, evolved on climate change. But having called health care “a right” is awfully problematic for a guy hoping to be a refuge for Republican voters angry over Mitt Romney’s health care record. (This video doesn’t even address the question of whether Huntsman himself favored a health care mandate in Utah.)
In better news for Huntsman, the Economist defends his conservative credentials:
Yet in most respects Mr Huntsman has an unimpeachably conservative record. He presided over the biggest tax cut in Utah’s history. He instituted health-care reforms of a much less meddling sort than those embraced by Mr Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. He signed various bills designed to discourage abortion and encourage gun-ownership. He was re-elected in 2008 with 78% of the vote in one of the most fiercely Republican states in the nation, and left office with lofty approval ratings.
We’ll have to see which version of the Huntsman story GOP voters are willing to buy.