RIP Jon Huntsman’s Campaign, 2011–2012

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/3909233228/">World Economic Forum</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Former Utah governor and US ambassador to China Jon Huntsman dropped out of the GOP presidential race on Sunday, just five days after he proclaimed New Hampshire voters had given him a “ticket to ride,” and four hours after emailing supporters that “our momentum is building.” You could see the end on Tuesday, when Huntsman’s father, chemical baron Jon Huntsman Sr., refused to commit to donating any more money to Our Destiny, the super-PAC supporting his son. On Monday, Huntsman will endorse Mitt Romney, a man he once referred to as a “perfectly lubricated weather vane on the important issues of the day.”

Huntsman’s endorsement likely won’t make much of a difference at the ballot box (the “Huntsman voter moves to Romney” jokes were fast and furious on Twitter) but, as the Democratic National Committee is already pointing out to reporters, it will provide an interesting contrast with…Jon Huntsman’s previous statements. Huntsman’s spent much of the last six months trying to tear Romney down, in speeches, debates, and advertisements (most of which have now been taken down from YouTube). At a debate in New Hampshire on January 8, Huntsman said that Romney’s partisan attitude was “the problem with this country right now,” and proceeded to call his rival ill-informed on foreign policy—in Mandarin. In July, he said of Romney’s record, “You know your job creation record is bad when you brag about leapfrogging a state ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.” In November, he told NBC’s David Gregory, “I don’t know that he can go on to beat President Obama, given his record. When there is a question about whether you’re running for the White House or you’re running for the Waffle House, you have a real problem with the American people.”

He also produced this spot drawing a connection between Romney and a wind-up monkey toy that flips back and forth. You know, a flip-flopper.

Enough of that, though. If you slept through the Jon Huntsman era, what did you miss? Here’s a quick guide:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest