Sure, I Love Texas, But Utah’s Nice, Too

by Kevin D. Williamson

Question for the gang: Is there anything obviously wrong with Jon Huntsman? Put another way: Is there anything that conservatives would find objectionable about Huntsman that wouldn’t arguably make him a stronger candidate in the general election, even if it hurt him in the primary?

The gripes I hear about Huntsman are these: He served in the Obama administration and he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. I tend to think that having been ambassador to China is a substantive qualification (though I have mixed feelings about the last ambassador to China* we elected president), and the fact that Huntsman served at the pleasure of Barack Obama gives him some bipartisan credibility — which wingers like us may not care about, but which, I cannot help but think, would be a general-election asset. Being a Chinese-speaking ex-diplomat should partially insulate him from suffering the usual media caricature of Republicans as provincial dunces.

As for the civil unions: I don’t much object to them, or in general to legal reforms that allow people to arrange their own private financial and legal affairs as they see fit. George W. Bush was open to civil unions. And in terms of the social issues, the status of gays, while not an unimportant issue, is in my view in a different category from abortion, about which there is little or no room for compromise. I’d be more inclined to trust a lifelong pro-lifer who favors civil unions over, say, a man who changed his mind about abortion when he was over the age of 50, and did so at a moment that was politically advantageous. (If there is a Williamson’s Law of Conservative Politics, it is this: People who aren’t with us on abortion aren’t really with us. Cf., practically every Obamacon except Douglas Kmiec.)

Thoughts? 

* I know; don’t bother emailing me about it.

UPDATE: Jonah and I were posting at the same time. Will have some thoughts on that RINO video.