Monday, 16 January 2012

Huntsman Out of the Race

Jon Huntsman bows out of the Republican race
It's sad to hear Jon Huntsman is ending his bid today to become the Republican challenger against incumbent President Barack Obama for the White House.

Huntsman was a really interesting choice as US Ambassador to China, with his background in Mandarin he learned as a missionary in Taiwan and understanding of China. Adopting a child from the country also helps.

During his time in Beijing he seemed genuinely interested in standing up for human rights and did his best to help out American citizens who were in trouble with Chinese law, such as Wen Ho-lee and openly criticizing the Chinese government in its unfair treatment of Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

While the Arab Spring was trying to spread to China in the form of the Jasmine Revolution, Huntsman was caught on video in the shopping street Wangfujing where some protestors were trying to create their own version of Tahrir Square with jasmine flowers but it never got off the ground. People wondered whether he was making a tacit political endorsement, but Huntsman claimed his presence was "purely coincidental".

Many observers thought Huntsman would defer his presidential hopes until 2016, but he didn't wait any longer and by spring last year he was back in the United States campaigning.

Huntsman seemed like a strong choice, with his recent foreign policy experience particularly in a country that the US is sparring with on many levels from political to economic. He also appeared to be a viable choice for the Republicans after the antics of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

However, he didn't perform particularly well against the other Republican candidates so he pulled out one of his last remaining cards -- his ability to speak Mandarin.

But alas this talent which was lavishly praised in China fell on unappreciative ears in the US, possibly because they didn't know what he was talking about.

And the other GOP or "Grand Old Party" candidates jumped on his performing monkey act, deriding him of his cultural skills.

In attack ads online he's been called "China Jon" and the "Manchurian candidate".

Donald Trump, a critic of China also gave Huntsman the thumbs down.

"I didn't think the Mandarin thing worked at all. I thought it was ridiculous," the billionaire said on Fox News. "And frankly, I think Huntsman's stance toward China is -- it's almost like he's an Obama plant."

Perhaps Huntsman would have done better as a Democrat?

In any event, one wonders what's next for the former Utah Governor besides endorsing frontrunner Mitt Romney.

We don't want to see those Mandarin skills to go to waste...

1 comment:

  1. he is too nice , too kind and honest a man to be a politician.