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Readers Blog

Huntsman for Secretary of State

Now that  Ambassador to  the UN  Susan Rice has withdrawn as a  possible nominee for Secretary of State,  speculation has turned to Sen. John Kerry (D, MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The trouble is that if Kerry leaves the Senate, the Republicans  have an even chance of picking up the seat. (1)

 But President Obama has a more advantageous candidate:  former Ambassador to China  Jon Huntsman,Jr, who  had been Governor of Utah and  had sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  

Huntsman was born in 1960, son of  billionaire businessman  Jon Huntsman, Sr.  After playing keyboard in the rock band Wizard,, he earned  a GED  and enrolled in the University of Utah.  He took two years off from college to serve as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, then earned  a BA degree in international politics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987.   After working in the Reagan White House, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce by President George H W Bush,  and then became  Ambassador to Singapore.  ( Family connections probably played a role in  these remarkable nominations  for a young man without either a  graduate degree  or  any diplomatic  experience.)

During the Clinton presidency  Jon Huntsman worked in several high-level  positions in the family business.  In 2001 President George W Bush named him a US Trade Representative, specializing in Asia.  He was elected Governor of Utah in 2004 and re-elected in 2008.  Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama appointed him US Ambassador to China;  he resigned that position  to seek the 2012  Republican presidential  nomination.  

In the presidential debates that began in  late 2011, Huntsman stood out among  the GOP candidates for his intelligence, moderation and concern for global warming.  Although a conservative on domestic issues, he  declined to join the other candidates  in lambasting  President Obama.   After placing  third in the New Hampshire primary, Huntsman dropped out of the race. (2)

By nominating a Republican, President Obama  can  demonstrate his willingness to work with  the other party.  Confirmation would probably be unanimous.  Moreover,  Huntsman's   intimate knowledge of  Chinese politics  will be  extremely valuable in dealing with the world's most populous country,  an economic giant  armed with nuclear weapons. 

Gerald S Glazer

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(1) Defeated  Senator Chris  Brown would be an obvious choice for the Republican nomination.

(2) Wikipeda. 

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solitarius | Dec. 17, 2012 at 4:28 p.m. (report)

Excellent choice, but it is going to be Kerry.

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