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Wednesday, 10 August 2011 01:00

GOP Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman

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Jon Huntsman, Jr. was barely known outside of Utah and the upper echelons of D.C. politics before his GOP candidacy received a series of big publicity boosts. But still today, Huntsman is relatively obscure — especially among the general public.

Even if he were more well known, however, the additional scrutiny might damage his campaign even more than obscurity. According to political analysts, Huntsman’s policies and record over the years would be tough to overcome in primary elections largely controlled by the GOP’s conservative base.

Setting aside the fact that he served in the Obama administration, Huntsman has a long track record of supporting political viewpoints considered unacceptable to many Tea Party activists and constitutionalists. On everything from cap-and-trade schemes to amnesty for illegal immigrants, Huntsman has come down on the side traditionally associated with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Consider:

• Global warming: Huntsman not only views global warning as a serious threat but has supported costly “solutions” such as unconstitutionally restricting carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions into the atmosphere, thereby negatively impacting energy production from carbon-based fuels such as coal and oil and driving up the cost of energy.

Much of Huntsman’s record on the issue stems from his time as Governor. In 2007, for example, he appeared in a TV commercial pressuring Congress and the federal government to impose an unconstitutional carbon regime on all Americans. “Now it’s time for Congress to act by capping greenhouse-gas pollution,” he stated in the advertisement, paid for by an extremist group known as Environmental Defense.

During his time as Utah’s chief executive, Huntsman also helped erect a CO2 regime called the Western Climate Initiative. The regional “cap-and-trade” scheme, involving various U.S. and Mexican states as well as some Canadian provinces, would dramatically increase energy costs in a supposed effort to battle “climate change.” It would also harm the state’s economic competitiveness while creating yet another revenue stream for government, according to critics.

Though Huntsman recently backed away slightly from his global-warming alarmism, critics say his record will probably be hard to swallow for Republican primary voters. And Huntsman reportedly remains committed to discredited theories about human activity driving “climate change.”

• Healthcare reform: Huntsman has also expressed support for healthcare “reforms” similar to those under assault in ObamaCare — policies that have become extraordinarily unpopular (except with Obama’s political allies who managed to obtain waivers). So, like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt “Romneycare” Romney, Huntsman faces a serious problem with voters in terms of his past views on healthcare policy.

In a 2007 press conference, Huntsman was asked about his thoughts on a so-called “mandate” that would force individuals to purchase health insurance. “I’m comfortable with a requirement — you can call it whatever you want, but at some point we’re going to have to get serious about how we deal with this issue,” he responded. As with cap and trade, Huntsman’s campaign has since distanced itself from the controversial healthcare stance. But questions remain.

• Immigration: On the issue of illegal immigration, Huntsman’s record has been another important sticking point for conservatives. As Governor, he was opposed to a measure that would have ended tax-financed in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. He has been pushing for “comprehensive immigration reform,” also known as amnesty, for years.

During his time as Governor of Utah, Huntsman was also responsible for the state’s “Alliance for Prosperity” with the Mexican government. Among other schemes, the alliance sought to create pressure for “immigration reform” and “mobility of the work force.” Apparently then-Mexican President Vicente Fox, who met directly with Huntsman, was very pleased with the Governor and with Utah’s adoption of “driving-privilege” cards for illegal immigrants.

• Globalism: In addition to negotiating the unconstitutional interstate “climate” compact with foreign authorities, Huntsman has an impressive “globalist” record on other issues too. For example, he was a longtime member of the powerful world-government promoting Council on Foreign Relations. He even served as a founding director of the Pacific Council on International Policy, established in 1995 in partnership with the CFR.

Huntsman also has a long record of directly working against American sovereignty through misnamed “free-trade” agreements. As Deputy U.S. Trade Representative under the administration of George W. Bush, for instance, Huntsman played a key role in bringing the communist Chinese dictatorship into the World Trade Organization. And as The New American reported in 2005, Huntsman spoke enthusiastically of “fulfilling [President Bush’s] vision for America in the area of international trade.” That vision included support not just for the WTO but also for NAFTA, moving it along a trajectory similar to that of the Common Market-European Union, from a trade arrangement to a more-developed multinational entity overseeing not just trade, but economic and eventually political policies.

• Spending: While Huntsman frequently emphasizes his alleged record of helping to cut taxes in Utah, there is another important part of the narrative that has received less attention. Under Gov. Huntsman, state government spending ballooned to new heights. According to a 2008 study by the liberty-minded Cato Institute, “Huntsman has completely dropped the ball on spending, with per capita spending increasing at about 10 percent annually during his tenure.”

His position on Obama’s failed $787 billion “stimulus” program has also disturbed advocates of limited government, reduced spending, and fidelity to the Constitution. “I guess in hindsight we can all say that there were some fundamental flaws with it,” then-Gov. Huntsman said in 2009 about the stimulus. “It probably wasn’t large enough and, number two, there probably wasn’t enough stimulus effect.” He suggested that the figure should have been closer to $1 trillion.

In addition to his positions on the issues listed above, Huntsman has defied the conservative base on a wide range of key policy positions. In early 2009, as just one example, he told the Salt Lake Tribune that he supported legislation to legally recognize unions between homosexual couples. Now that statement, along with many others, is coming back to haunt him. Powerful socially conservative organizations have called the issue a “deal breaker.”

Then there is the fact that Huntsman worked for the Obama administration. “I’m sure that him having worked so well for me will be a great asset in any Republican primary,” Obama joked following Huntsman’s resignation from his post in China. For many conservative voters, just having worked for Obama is enough to cross Huntsman off their list.

Even worse for Huntsman’s candidacy is a leaked handwritten note he sent to Obama. “You are a remarkable leader,” Huntsman wrote in August of 2009, even underlining “remarkable” for added emphasis. “It has been a great honor getting to know you.” In another leaked letter, Huntsman praised former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary.

The “establishment” press has generally been kind to Huntsman. More than a few media outlets have even tried to distort the facts — for example, by ignoring Rep. Ron Paul and former Gov. Gary Johnson and claiming that Huntsman was the first or most well-known GOP contender to call for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. And while Huntsman has garnered public support from the likes of Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger, conservative pundits of all stripes have ridiculed and attacked his campaign. Some even suggested he was running in the wrong party.

— Photo: AP Images

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