Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Pawlenty’s role as policy wonk now being filled by Huntsman

For all his campaign’s problems, Tim Pawlenty was at least credited for trying to raise some important policy issues during his short-lived presidential run.

Now Jon Huntsman seems to be picking up that mantle, Politico says. (Makes you wonder if he checked to see how well that worked for T-Paw.)

In the story, Alexander Burns said Pawlenty tried to be the boldest and most specific on policy issues:

Tim Pawlenty tried to be that candidate, giving detailed speeches on the economy and foreign policy that drew applause from conservative elites. But Pawlenty never really took off in that role — perhaps because he got dragged into an Iowa-centric fight with Michele Bachmann, or because he didn’t have the governing record to back up his policy proposals, or because there might just not be a demand for a conservative wonk among rank-and-file Republicans.

Now it’s Huntsman turn to try that route:

Whether or not there’s demand for that kind of candidate among regular voters, Jon Huntsman is about to become the next Republican to bid for the title of policy candidate. He’s giving a jobs speech today that focuses on topics that tend to appeal to the coastal business set: tax reform, regulatory reform, energy independence and free trade.

But will it work?

It remains to be seen whether Huntsman can get more political traction from his proposals than Pawlenty got from his. Conservative elites have been looking around for a policy-intensive candidate, and hoped Mitch Daniels or Paul Ryan would play that role. If Huntsman is still an option for that crowd, despite his sharp criticism of the GOP, the speech could give some on the right a reason to be for him.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply