Huntsman, Mormonism, and the Presidency

For those who may be interested, I am going to be on KUER’s (the NPR affiliate in Salt Lake) Radio West program this afternoon discussing Mormonism and a possible presidential run by former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.

37 comments for “Huntsman, Mormonism, and the Presidency

  1. Jax
    February 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Nate, been having a conversation about the run of Huntsman Jr for a little while. What is your take on his involvment with the Council of Foreign Relations? It seems to disturb many because of their efforts toward ‘Global Government’

  2. February 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Nate, thanks for the heads up.

    Jax, what about he connections with Jewish bankers? (a variation on the same crazy)

  3. Mark B.
    February 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    C’mon Chris. It’s all there in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Cleon Skousen corollary.

    And you left out the Queen of England. (Don’t forget: her father stuttered!)

  4. February 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    You can listen live here: (using the KUER-1 channel).

  5. jjohnsen
    February 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Three things that interest me about Huntsman. In our current climate of Tea Party Republicans he is pretty moderate in most areas (my less polite GOP friends would probably call him a RINO right now). He has more foreign policy experience than most of the other GOP frontrunners combined, and he’s been working to help a Democratic President with foreign policy.

    All which means I think he’ll be popular with moderates and hated by the base.

  6. jjohnsen
    February 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I didn’t realize he was intent on a one world government as Jax explained, so I’m guessing being a stooge of the U.N. ranks up there with the anti-Christ and maybe he has no shot at all with Conservative.

  7. jjohnsen
    February 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    For those that don’t get KUER or can’t listen live today, they also offer a podcast.

  8. Jax
    February 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I have no idea if he is a One World Government guy…. the other half of my previously mentioned conversation told me that HE thinks he is. I just asked the question so that Nate could address it. It seems to be a real concern for some (many?) people.

    I personally got a Political Science degree in Utah during his time as Governor and don’t care for him. He has lots of Foreign Relations experience, comes from a business savvy family, is good looking, has leadership (executive) experience, is articulate and more conservative than fellow mormon Mitt Romney. He could have a real shot at the Presidency.

    But every decision I saw him make seemed to serve the same end – money. I think he will do whatever it takes for money. And I don’t like that! IMO he isn’t guided by principles, much less conservative or religious ones, but only by what will make the better buck. I don’t think he could care less about individual freedom, personal property, or national sovereignty – unless they are also on the side of making money – or perhaps getting more power for himself.

  9. H. Ross
    February 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t really see how Huntsman can have a chance versus Romney and all the other potential GOP candidates. The Republican party is trending conservative and I don’t believe Huntsman fits that. I’m with the commentator on another blog that said he should run for Orrin Hatch’s seat and try his hand for president in 2016 if it’s still in Democratic hands.

  10. jjohnsen
    February 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Wouldn’t the same people not voting for him against other GOP candidates also not vote for him against Chaffetz for Hatch’s seat? He’s not Conservative enough for Utah Republicans right now.

    Council of Foreign Relations involvement isn’t a turn-off for anyone other than conspiracy theorists.

  11. February 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I think that it is unlikely that Huntsman could make it through a GOP primary. As for the Council on Foreign Relations, it is a chattering shop, nothing more. There is no sinister world government conspiracy about it.

  12. Kevin Barney
    February 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Do we have a time?

  13. Jax
    February 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    What exactly do they chatter about?

  14. February 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    International Relations. Where did you study poli sci?

  15. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    February 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I personally would not make Huntsman my first pick for anything.

    Nevertheless, if it weren’t for the fact that both are LDS, Romney and Huntsman would make a nice potential ticket for the GOP: Both former governors; one from the east, one from the west; one a foreign policy and trade wonk, the other a business and organizational leader; one speaks French, the other speaks Chinese. Both are moderate enough politically that they could get votes from a lot of Democrats.

    It would be fun to see such a ticket, just to irritate all the anti-Mormons.

    Given how Romney did in the presidential primary in Utah in 2008, and Huntsman’s two elections as governor, is it really realistic to think that the superconservatives could prevent Huntsman from running for the Senate, especially if he has a full year to put his campaign together and is taking the threat of competition seriously?

    Going from the Senate in 2012 to a run for the White House in 2016, or even 2020, is a reasonable scenario.

  16. Ray
    February 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Romney and Huntsman as a ticket . . . I wonder how that would affect the Presidential election, since it would kill off just about all evangelicals over 50 or with bad hearts.

  17. jjohnsen
    February 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Raymond, he’s arguably more moderate than Bob Bennett. As a someone who would vote in that election I’d hope you are right. My gut feeling says the same people that picked two conservative candidates over Bennett would pick Chaffetz over Huntsman. Moderate doesn’t seem to be popular with my Conservative friends around here, but maybe that will change over the next 6-12 months.

    “It would be fun to see such a ticket, just to irritate all the anti-Mormons.”

    Yeah it would.

  18. Jax
    February 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Romney/Huntsman or Huntsman/Romney?

  19. February 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Both are moderate enough politically that they could get votes from a lot of Democrats.

    I’m nearly positive that Romney is nowhere near moderate enough to “get votes from a lot of Democrats.”

  20. Jax
    February 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    you sure christopher? he did get elected in Mass.

  21. February 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    “I think that it is unlikely that Huntsman could make it through a GOP primary.”

    People keep saying this and yet the last primary saw John McCain rise to the top.

  22. February 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure Jax, given that his election as governor of Mass. was almost a decade ago and that since then, he’s veered sharply to the right and reversed his position on a number of issues.

  23. February 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Tim, conditions were quite different last time around. McCain did not have to deal with the Tea Party.

  24. February 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    “Tim, conditions were quite different last time around. McCain did not have to deal with the Tea Party.”

    While I do think the Tea Party will certainly impact the primaries, it might come down to how many Tea Party candidates there are to split their votes, and how many “centrist” candidates there are to gain independents.

    In other words, I don’t think the net effect of the Tea Party will be that huge.

  25. Dan
    February 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm


    you sure christopher? he did get elected in Mass.

    heheh…yeah, back when he claimed to be further to the left than Ted Kennedy!

  26. Left Field
    February 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    What Kevin said. It doesn’t seem to be on now. It doesn’t seem to be available at Ardis’ link.

    What time?

  27. jjohnsen
    February 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    “I’m nearly positive that Romney is nowhere near moderate enough to “get votes from a lot of Democrats.””

    One of the biggest complaints about Romney is nobody really knows how Conservative or Moderate he is. I’d say he will try and appear to be exactly what he thinks the voters want him to be.

    ““I think that it is unlikely that Huntsman could make it through a GOP primary.”

    People keep saying this and yet the last primary saw John McCain rise to the top.”

    Which is one reason I don’t think it will happen again. At least not if the Tea Party subsection can help it. Like Tim J says, we’ll have to see how much power they have in the Primary. They’re pretty vocal right now, but that may not translate to votes.

  28. Clair
    February 2, 2011 at 2:05 am

    The Senate would be a cozy post for scion/statesman Huntsman, but the 6-year term seems to exceed his attention span.

  29. Jeremy Jensen
    February 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Jax, how is Huntsman more conservative than Romney?

  30. February 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    The Utah market approach to health care has widely been held up as an ideal conservative approach to the problem whereas Romneycare isn’t that different from Obamacare.

  31. Dan
    February 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm


    whereas Romneycare isn’t that different from Obamacare.

    You mean, Obamacare isn’t that different from Romneycare. Let’s get the chronology right. Mitt Romney was for it before he was against it.

  32. Scw
    February 3, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Can Huntsman even be claimed by Mormons? The impression I get from the Politico article this morning is that he is a Jack-Mormon at best.

  33. February 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Scw, I probably should not ask this, but what article are you referring to?

  34. February 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Here’s the relevant portion of the article:

    A competition for Mormon bona fides between the two men would end in a draw. Romney’s great-great-grandfather was a 19th-century church leader who moved to the Utah Territory before statehood. Huntsman’s father and namesake is still a top official in the church who lends his Gulfstream jet to other LDS leaders, while his wife’s grandfather was in the church’s Quorom of the 12 Apostles, top figures in the hierarchy.

    But Huntsman’s personal story is different. Jon Huntsman Sr. made a fortune in the chemical industry, but his son did not always follow the rules: He dropped out of high school, played keyboard in a rock band, and pledged Sigma Chi at the University of Utah, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania at age 27.

    Huntsman, too, went on a two-year mission, to Taiwan. It was there that he became fluent in Chinese. But his family — wife Mary Kaye and their seven children, two of them adopted from Asia — are not strict Mormons, and he has never served in church leadership. More than a few eyebrows were raised in the church when Huntsman’s eldest daughter, Abigail, was married last year not in a Mormon temple, but at the National Cathedral by an Episcopal priest.

    Causing even more of a buzz within the tight-knit church was a blunt interview Huntsman gave last year to Fortune that nearly everyone interviewed for this story brought up, without prompting.

    “I can’t say I am overly religious,” he told the magazine. “I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies.” He pointed out that his children attended Catholic schools and his adopted daughters came from Buddhist and Hindu cultures.

  35. February 3, 2011 at 11:06 am

    He sounds a lot like me. Oh no! I just had warm fuzzies about a Republican. Noooooooo!

  36. February 3, 2011 at 11:08 am

    “I can’t say I am overly religious,”

    I would say that this is pretty vague.

  37. Dan
    February 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Sounds like a Mormon to me.

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