It’s no secret what Huntsman been up to lately — after two successful terms as governor of Utah, President Obama
banished his potential challenger to the Far East appointed Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to China, where he proceeded to randomly stroll through an anti-government protest and found himself temporarily blocked from Internet searches.
But before he was an accidental-Chinese-dissident-turned-Presidential-hopeful, Huntsman was a humble, salt-of-the-earth Ivy Leaguer like the rest of us. Well, kind of like the rest of us — he actually started at the University of Utah after dropping out of high school (to play keyboard in a rock band called “Wizard”) and before spending two years as a Mormon missionary to Taiwan.
The interwebs are pretty sparse on details of Huntsman’s time at Penn. We know that he graduated with a B.A. in international politics and does not appear to have been involved with student government, or any other activities that would have made his undergrad years particularly Google-friendly. He returned to Philly to speak at Penn’s 2010 Commencement, and his speech was pretty OK. Reviewing the Youtube video, Huntsman uses good enough sentence structure and vocabulary to seem vaguely Presidential, at least until you notice the Penn banners in the background.
So, does he have a chance at the Oval Office? Huntsman lacks the “batshit crazy” or unexciting–old–white–dude characteristics of his competition for the nomination, which may or may not be a good thing based on the Republican base’s seeming voracious appetite for those qualities. But, should he make it through the primaries and secure the GOP nomination, the absence of those same qualities, along with sensible, centrist positions on many social and fiscal issues, could serve as a boon in winning over general election independent voters who
still think Obama was born in Kenya are unhappy with the current administration’s inability to simultaneously fix the economy, save the polar bears, and cure cancer.
Note: IG editor emeritus Alex Klein was at Liberty Island for the announcement, having hitched a ride with a bus full of adorably earnest College Republicans. Check it his report at The New Republic when you get a chance. — Ed.