I’m sure he knew from the beginning his strategy wasn’t a winning one.
Is he thinking people will be more amenable to his approach in 2016? (So he’s presently just getting his bona fides lined up?)
Is he poking around for a third party opportunity?
If he ran third party, I’d expect him to take plenty of votes from both parties–I myself kind of get a bit of a voter-hard-on (WAY TMI! SORRY!) when I hear him zing the other republican candidates–and I have to go remind myself that he really is a conservative republican in every way with just the single exception of “believing science.”
As a WAG I’d say he’s preparing for 2016 in case the Tea Party fringe either implode or break away and the GOP move to a less frothy position. I can’t imagine he’d go for a third-party approach; there’s no chance in hell we’ll elect an Independent for President any time soon.
All the other candidates are running on a platform of being as conservative as possible. Let’s say that whichever one of them gets nominated loses to Obama.
Four years from now, it’s possible the Republican Party will wake up and question whether running to just conservatives is a good idea. They might decide to look for another McCain who can appeal to non-conservatives as well.
Huntsman will have positioned himself as the non-conservative alternative.
Yep. He must know that the GOP rarely nominates someone the first time around.
Unfortunately, given the past success of Texans when it comes to running for President, I think the GOP is willing to make an exception for Perry. But Huntsman’s only chance will come is the GOP gets a true shellacking in 2012, so that the party becomes more moderate for 2016. It’s an unlikely scenario, but people who only go for sure things do not run for president.
I write this an admitted RINO who may well vote for Huntsman in the primary and Obama in the general.
He’s betting on a few contingencies.
1: The Republicans nominate a conservative this time around (i.e., anyone but Romney).
2: Obama beats whichever conservative in 2012.
3: The Republicans realize that the reason they lost is that they pushed too far to the right.
4: Come 2016, Obama is still reasonably popular.
5: The Democrats nominate a relatively weak candidate in 2016.
In this scenario, Huntsman becomes a good bet for the Republican nomination. Come the general election, he gets almost all of the conservative vote, and can also peel off some liberals by playing up his connections to Obama. Most conservatives plus some liberals brings you up above 50%, and he wins.
It’s a fairly long shot, of course. Any one of those bullet points might be reasonably likely, but with all of them put together, there are a lot of things that can go wrong for Huntsman. But long shots are worth betting on if the payoff is good enough, and he’s got a heck of a lot better chance than you or I do. It’s a good strategy.