Huntsman will put the brakes on his candidacy for the GOP nomination tomorrow at which time the former governor will throw his support behind Mitt Romney. The man he often railed against and called unelectable.
Huntsman received support from The State Magazine, a leading publication in South Carolina, on Sunday. But it was hardly a lifesaver.
Huntsman was never really able to break into the top ranks as a Republican contender. Actually he was never able to climb out the cellar, often placing last with just 2 to 3 percent support nationally.
After the New Hampshire primary, Huntsman had two choices to make, stay or go. His third place finished was spun as an accomplishment but as a strategy, it was a failure. Huntsman staked all in New Hampshire and still finished third far behind Romney and short of Paul’s second place finish. Huntsman felt he had nothing to lose by seeing if a third place finish was enough to add a jolt to his chances in South Carolina. A very unlikely prospect as he discovered. If the more moderate voters of New Hampshire rejected him there was very little chance that the more conservative voters of South Carolina would consider him.
The support never came and that is not surprising when Huntsman criticized the GOP and voters on more than one occasion. It is a free country and he can criticize anyone he cares to but as for someone who is working to gain the support of Republican voters, it’s not the best policy to criticize the people you are working to create inroads.
Having said all of that, what I never understood about Huntsman was that he wasn’t as moderate as pretended to be. For whatever reason he thought it best to portray himself as one up against his rivals. Perhaps it was a way of occupying separate ground from which he could make his case against those fighting for the conservative mantle. It wasn’t the best strategy, especially during Republican primaries — a mostly conservative contest.
Huntsman is talented and competent as his record of accomplishments suggest but he seemed to delight in hiding from his conservative philosophy that obviously governed his political career.