In a shrewd bit of political manuevering, President Obama has named Jon Huntsman Jr, Utah Gov ambassador to China. For those of you who are unaware, the very moderate Huntsman, who’s stances include support for civil unions and not so stupid health care reform, was seriously mulling a presidential run in 2012.
With his appointment, Obama eliminated a potential political rival and made a token effort for the last few people who still believe in bipartisianship in one feel swoop.
But as Ben Smith points out, ambassadorship to China is hardly a dead end political move. (Think George H.W. Bush)
But the bigger story is the underlying context behind Huntsman dropping out of the 2012 race. In case you didn’t know or were simply in denial, being reasonable and tolerant is a political liability in the Republican party. So if you ever plan on running for the GOP nomination you better make sure you hate gays, the environment, and minorities and love corporate lobbyists and Wall Street.