As Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (pictured, right) resigns from his post to become ambassador to China, his lieutenant governor Gary Herbert (left) steps in as Utah’s chief executive. In a state that’s home to the Mormon Church, that’s quite problematic: While Huntsman, himself a Mormon, at least supported civil unions (and broke with Republican ranks to announce he publicly backed them in February), Herbert does not. To be sure, Herbert’s in the majority in Utah; some 70 percent of residents don’t support civil unions. And yes, Herbert is Mormon, too.
Also worth noting: Huntsman’s name has, like so many others, been floated as a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate. In a sly move typical of presidents, Obama opted to appoint him ambassador to a faraway land, and make sure he’s thousands of miles away and unable to generate support for a White House bid.
YOu say that as if he had to accept the appointment.
This guy will be well advises to sit out the 2012 election cycle anyway. Obama is actually handing Huntsmann a golden opportunity to burnish his international credentials, which could make him a credible Republican candidate in 2016.
The real story, to me, is that as ambassador, Huntsman’s “boss” will be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom I have a sneaking suspicion will also be a candidate for President in 2016.
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