Saluting the GOP’s Most Ethical Candidate, Distrusted For Doing the Right Thing

We'll miss his daughters, too...

Jon Huntsman is gone, finally quitting the hunt for the Republican Presidential nomination long after the futility of his quest had been established. Huntsman was easily the ethics favorite in the competition, though Ron Paul’s candor and integrity also get high marks. He began his campaign with a call for civility, and seldom missed the high standard he set out for himself. Best of all, he correctly identified the ethics core of our nation’s various problems: the trust deficit. Huntsman began hitting this theme hard in Iowa, but perhaps not hard enough. The collapse of public trust in all our institutions is a very real threat to our democracy, for democracy, more than any government philosophy, requires trust to survive. Whatever it is that Republicans want right now, however, trust isn’t very high on the list, and neither is civility.

So that was it for Huntsman. He shares the blame for his demise: he was so low-key that he faded into the background; he fell into the moderate’s trap of never taking strong or bold positions, and he just doesn’t give off the vibes of a leader. He seems to be a born diplomat. Huntsman is ethical, but does he have what it takes, not only to be President, but to win the job? Probably not.

One factor that hurt Huntsman among Republicans and conservatives, however, was a supposed flaw that is really an example of Huntsman’s ethical strength. Ironically for a candidate running on the issue of trust, he was distrusted because he served in the Obama administration in a key post, Ambassador to China, when called upon to do so. This, we were told, meant that he wasn’t really a Republican, and that his loyalty and integrity were suspect. I have even read that he was an Obama “plant.”

Any American citizen called upon by the President of the United States to perform a task in the best interests of the nation has a patriotic obligation to accept, regardless of party affiliation or political philosophy, as long as taking the job does not involve a conflict of interest, and as long as the job’s objectives and purpose are not contrary to the citizen’s principles and beliefs. Other considerations such as family, health, conflicting obligations, and personal issues may take precedence over that duty, but for Jon Huntsman to be criticized for answering his President’s call—that’s right, his President, and all of ours—is an indictment of his critics. He did the right thing.

To better days, Jon Huntsman! You left the race with as much dignity as you entered it, and few, if any, of your competitors will be able to say that.

3 thoughts on “Saluting the GOP’s Most Ethical Candidate, Distrusted For Doing the Right Thing

  1. I am disappointed as Mr. Huntsman was my favorite. I understand how his trust could be challenged but only by the ignorant. He is a good man.

    • The other thing that hurt him was all the mainstream media articles about how he “was the candidate Obama feared most.” Rush Limbaugh and others argued that this was an example of the liberal media trying to 1) trick the GOP into nominating a liberal, or 2) to trick it into nominating a weak candidate. And since this was before most people knew anything about him other than he was an Obama ambassador, it stuck.

  2. Thanks for this post, Jack. Huntsman did distinguish himself as being an ethical, patriotic gentleman among a field laden almost entirely with unethical boors.

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