The Vogue profile of Jon Huntsman, online today, is not likely to make his candidacy any more palatable to Tea Partiers. The adoring piece was penned by Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, and frequently highlights how Huntsman is not a die-hard conservative. Take this passage:
The political milieu is evident this sticky July evening at Mutt’s BBQ, where around 100 conservative activists and assorted curiosity seekers have come for a gander at Jon Huntsman. … There is, however, at least one moderate Republican present: the smooth, cosmopolitan former Utah governor, who not only is on record as a supporter of gay civil unions but also served under Barack Obama as ambassador to China until a few months ago.
When we chat at the airport, Mary Kaye tells me about the first time her husband and Obama met, in a holding room at Coretta Scott King’s funeral in 2006. She glimpsed some kind of spark, a connection between the two men, as if they knew that they would figure jointly in some future history.
In 2009, Huntsman was by one reckoning the most popular politician in America, but entirely out of sync with his own party, which was living through its Tea Party takeover. In a series of interviews, he called the GOP “devoid of ideas,” describing it as “a very narrow party of angry people.”
There’s plenty more in the full piece on Huntsman’s entire record, including his fluency in foreign policy and his strengths as a job creator (Utah was first in the nation during his tenure). Huntsman’s campaign has previously discouraged the use of the term “moderate” to describe Huntsman – he prefers “conservative problem-solver”— but this piece is just going to solidify that label.
One last quote, concerning the Huntsmans’ religious beliefs:
Mary Kaye has been telling me that both Episcopalianism, the denomination in which she was raised, and her husband’s Mormon heritage are important to them. “I draw from both,” Mary Kaye says. “I think my children have drawn from both. We are a family that combines two, and it works for us.” …
People tend to see Mormonism as a binary, you-are-or-you-aren’t question, but Jon Huntsman is something more like a Reform Jew, who honors the spirit rather than the letter of his faith.
Full profile here.