Saturday, May 16, 2009

Governor Huntsman Prepares to Jump Ship

Could the percipient accession of Gary Herbert to the Governor's post signal a harsh Executive Branch tilt toward the Utah political right?

Here's an interesting item this morning: Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman, who was re-elected to his gubernatorial post only last November, with an overwhelming 77.6% of the vote, has suddenly announced his upcoming resignation, contingent upon his pending appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China. This morning's Salt lake Tribune story provides the lede:
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. will resign from office to accept President Barack Obama's nomination to serve as his ambassador to China.
Sources told The Salt Lake Tribune that an announcement is scheduled for today. Huntsman is in Washington, D.C., and calls to his spokeswoman and various staffers were not returned Friday night.
Huntsman would still have to be confirmed by the Senate, a process that could take weeks or even months. Typically, governors who have been nominated have not resigned until after their confirmation.
To label this out-of-the blue development a "surprise" would be a gross understatement, we believe; and we're certain that many Utah political moderates are staggering around this morning in a state of shocked disbelief. Huntsman's relatively middle of the road political posture has garnered broad support across the entire Utah political spectrum; and as the SL-Trib notes in a companion article this morning, Huntsman's resignation, and the percipient accession of Lt. Governor Gary Herbert to the Governor's Office, could very well signal a sharp tilt in the Utah Executive Branch, markedly to the right.

We'll confess that we're at a loss to explain the meaning of this development. Does this move on Huntman's part represent an effort to distance himself from Utah politics, in preparation for a 2012 presidential run? Is this prestigious appointment part of a pre-emptive Obama plan to take Huntsman out of the 2012 race? Does it evidence Huntsman's abandonment of the difficulties of elective politics altogether, and his desire to finish off his political career on the plush ambassadorial champagne and caviar circuit? Is Huntsman leaving the Governor's office of his own volition... or was he pushed? Perhaps a few of our readers will be willing to weigh in with their own opinions on this. Frankly, this one has us completely stumped.

So many questions... so few answers.

Before closing, we'll also present the opinion of Utah Libertarian Andrew MCullough, who offers an excellent suggestion about how Huntsman can make the best of this new ambassadorial opportunity:
Tonight it is reported that Governor Huntsman will shortly be appointed U.S. Ambassador to China. Congratulations, Governor. Sounds like a great job. But it brings up an interesting question. Is there any chance you could take a few more Utah Republicans with you as staff? How about Senator Buttars and a few of his cohorts? Please give it some thought. This could turn out to be a great boon for our State.
Don't let the cat get your tongues.


Monotreme said...

Matt Godfrey for Lieutenant Governor of Utah.

He's perfect for the job.

He has lots of friends in the Legislature.

He is willing to do the bidding of the powerful Utah Real Estate lobby, just like his boss Gary Herbert (Governor Realtor).

Best of all, he already knows the ins and outs of Utah election law.

Curmudgeon said...


And we know Hizzonah, Mayor Godfrey, approves of [now] Lt. Gov. Herbert's [and so to be Gov. Herbert's] view that the new campaign contributions reporting law is something the Lt. Gov. should enforce only if he feels like it.

Curmudgeon said...

The appointment speaks well of the Obama administration. For a variety of reasons --- diplomatic experience in Asia, particular expertise on trade matters, speaks the language, etc. --- Huntsman seems a good choice for this important post. And the President, practicing what Republicans call for but don't practice themselves much --- bipartisanship, particularly in foreign affairs --- didn't let party get in the way of the appointment.

On the other hand, Utah had in Huntsman a Republican conservative governor who could, when he stood on tip-toes, actually see the 21st Century. Hebert, it seems, would have to stand on a ladder to so much as catch a glimpse of the 20th Century ahead.

Hebert, recall, is the Lt. Gov. who recently made it clear that enforcing the new campaign finance reporting law was something he didn't have to do if unless he felt like it. And his staff is already putting out some truly impressive drivel, reported in this morning's SL Trib . For example, Herbert is a global-warming denier, and so from his chief of staff this, conveying the soon-to-be-governor's ideas: "Global warming needs to be realized before anyone talks about it." [Say whut? The SLTrib fell down on the job by not providing an English translation. ]

Sen. Bramble is practically trembling with excitement at the prospect of a Herbert governorship. Now that's not a good sign.

I suppose we can hope the Party of No! in the Senate will filibuster Huntsman's confirmation, but I'm not optimistic.

Prediction: look for more Developers Dream Bills to sail through the legislature and across the governor's desk before the next election.

I think I'm going to hurl said...

House District 57 Representative Craig Frank calls it for what it is: A "special calling" from Huntsman's church:

Ambassador Huntsman…The LDS Implications Are Huge

I think I'm going to hurl.

Curmudgeon said...

Huntsman would have to be an idiot to, as U.S. Ambassador to mainland China, consider it part of his job to proselytize and preach "the gospel in Mandarin." And he has so far given no indication that he is an idiot.

Rep. Frank, however....

old timer said...

Just the thought of having the present Lt.Governor sitting in the Governor's seat turns me nauseous.

Terrible turn of events for Utah!

Democrat said...

Go Huntsman! It shows how smart Obama is.

This is a great opportunity for Utah.

Democrat said...

old timer,

Your right. It scares me too!!!!

blackrulon said...

This is a smart political move. While Governor Huntsman is very qualified it is also smart politics. It removes a moderate republican from talk of a presential run amd keeps the extreme right wing as the front of the republican party.

drewmeister said...

while it may be good on a national-politics scale, we're screwed here in the morridor.
we're. screwed.

P. Floyd said...

Mother, should I trust the governor?

danny said...


Do you have any suggestions for how we could get Godfrey in the Lt. Gov's office?

It's a great idea, and a well worn one: Promote the incompetent to a pointless job where they can do no damage.

Oh yeah, that's what they're doing with Huntsman.

But the idea of appointing Godfrey to anything is a great one.

Monotreme said...


I'm afraid I don't run in the proper circles to set up such a thing. I do hope someone who has Lt. Gov. Herbert's ear catches wind of the proposal, though.

what would jesus say said...

The only appointment Godfrey deserves, is one at the point of the mountain sharing a jail cell with Bubba. And when he goes down to the point, we need to tattoo some knockers on his back and cut the rope off from the soap.

Bill C. said...

Mono, that's flawed reasoning. If Mark Shurtliff was to follow that same logic, Warren Jeffs would be a Washington County Commissioner and probably the head of the School Board.
It appears that in Utah we just make laws for the appearance, and their enforcement is strickly at the disretion which ever official it falls to. Campain laws seem to be exactly like polygamy laws, just for show.

Anonymous said...

John Huntsman is such the closeted homosexual.
And a natual born leader.

Go John.

Curious 1 said...

Now Utah will have a Buttars/Ruseka wanna be leading Utah. Returning to the 20th century with a right wing twist. Look for more barriers in bars, mini-bottles coming back, and laws going un-prosecuted.

If he picks Waddoups as LT. Gov look for Rush Limbaugh celebrating.

Campaign laws, no ethics reforms and secret campaign contributions being the norm.

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