Let us start with the usual disclaimer-I will gladly vote for any of the remaining GOP Presidential candidates in a general election (with the dishonourable exception of Ron Paul). I have briefly hopped on (and off) the Cain Train, I was a Bachmannite for a while, I succumbed to the Texan charms of Rick Perry. Back in the dark days of spring, I even supported Gary Johnson.
But I cannot see any viability for any of these people. All of them have either made catastrophic gaffes, or (in the case of Perry) underwhelmed supremely. So a week or so back I dived into the pool of candidates for what I hope was the last time. And the only person left I can support with enthusiasm is Jon Huntsman Jr.
I know the negatives-he believes in AGW, he worked for Obama, he stabbed the Beloved Leader in the back. I look past them, and I see a hugely intelligent and charismatic man with workable, excellent solutions for America, a positive and strong foreign policy and unwavering commitment to life reflected in his record as Governor of Utah.
He has a record of executive leadership, and in his time as Governor was a serial tax-cutter who worked tirelessly to make Utah the best place in these 50 states to do business. We've all heard of the Texas miracle-Utah's transformation has been just as spectacular.
In Jon Huntsman I see a man who is both politically sharp as a knife, but also essentially a decent man. He has refused to throw mud or sling insults at the opposition, and has remained on friendly terms with people from every side of the political spectrum. His "remarks" about the rest of the field have been condescending, but they represent a man trying to differentiate himself from a primary field where you can't tell the difference between many.
He is also electable in a way that the others in the lead are not. Newt Gingrich-a bona fide genius, but so intensely dislikeable, and with a rather questionable personal life. The average guy in a swing state with more than a passing knowledge of the Bible, Talmud, Qu'ran, Vedas or just morality will not appreciate a serial divorcer and adulterer. Rick Perry-I love the guy, but a lot of people I know don't. They find him overbearing and a bit uncharismatic once he opens his mouth. Romney-we all know that there are jellyfish with more spine or guts than him. Jon Huntsman (as multiple polls testify) is the antithesis of this: scandal-free, a good speaker, a likeable individual (once you remove the tan and stupid ties).
Who knows-perhaps he'll collapse and burn out like everyone else. But until that happens, I believe that Jon Huntsman will be the best man to oppose Barack Obama in 2012-and win.