Monday, 25 July 2011

Huntsman Campaign Changes Captain

Struggling with low name recognition, and a perhaps too moderate social agenda, Jon Huntsman, Jr. has ditched his campaign manager Susie Wiles in a bid to change his fortunes. Replacing Ms. Wiles is the campaign’s communications director Matt David and such a move appears to be, for what has been a rather buoyant campaign to date, the first sign of trouble. For a West Wing analogy this is a bit like Matt Santos ditching Josh Lyman for Lou Thornton. Gotta to be a real geek to get this one people.

Wiles main credentials are that she helped Rick Scott gain the Florida Governorship which in an interesting link chain was once the office held by Charlie Crist who decided to run for the Senate but lost out to fellow but Tea-Party backed Republican Marco Rubio; who also happens to be a name floating around as a possible running mate. Should a moderate candidate along the lines of Romney or Huntsman be the nominee then someone like Rubio would be ideal in helping to shore up grassroots support.

However, if this hotshot is a serious politician with White House ambitions then he needs to consolidate and gain credibility on the hill as a Senator or he’ll be disregarded as quickly as he became a grassroots GOP darling. Good looks, a winning smile and a sticking-it-to-Fidel-Castro back story is only going to get you so far if you one day want to fill the big boots of men like FDR, Ronald Reagan and Jed Bartlett.

Huntsman speaking at Tsinghua University via Wikimedia Commons.
The Huntsman campaign has had it’s back against the wall since the former Ambassador to China first started toying with the idea of running. With very low name recognition amongst the Republican party grassroots and not holding a strongly socially conservative agenda his campaign has been an uphill climb. However, with his candidacy being viewed upon favourably by fiscal conservatives and the politically informed he appeared to be putting himself into the mainstream conversation.

In a statement by Ms. Wiles she said the following: “It was in my plans to resign at some point. I have a great life and a great situation. We launched this thing and it’s up and running. Our team is so good that we hired from within. I continue to have a role here. I intend to be friend and confidante of Huntsman.” With this defining moment of the campaign will Huntsman, Jr. pull off a Santos or will he suffer the same fate as the similarly minded, and actually one of my favourite characters in the wholes show, Arnie Vinick.