Will this man make me £10,000?

Will this man make me £10,000?

My first 2012 bet: Jon Huntsman at 200/1

When the first 2012 White House race betting prices were being compiled last week many of the names that came up were ones we were familiar with already – 2008 contenders and those who had been tipped at one stage or another as John McCain’s running mate.

One person who has hardly been mentioned and, indeed, only one bookie is quoting a price is Jon Huntsman, governor of Utah and someone who from reports was playing a leading role in the post-election meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

Just read this from the influential Politico commentator, Jonathan Martin: “…to chat with him here at the RGA and then see him address a room full of reporters, it seems that Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. may very well be in the presidential mix in 2012..Huntsman, 48, cuts an impressive figure and has a fascinating personal and political story to tell, including the sort of foreign policy background most governors lack. The scion of a prominent Mormon family, he served as U.S. ambassador to Singapore for Bush 41 when he was in his early 30s, did trade stints in the Commerce Department and was a deputy U.S. trade representative under the current Bush, overseeing trade with Africa and Asia…Fluent in Mandarin Chinese — a few words of which he put on display to an unexpectant press corps — Huntsman is the father of seven, including two adopted girls from China and India.”

What marks Huntsman out for me is the way he is thinking seriously about the challenges facing his party and is proposing solutions. A key issue is broadening the appeal to younger voters.

The Politico report quotes him directly: “..We as Republicans can’t shy away from speaking the word ‘environment,’ and we shouldn’t shy away from speaking the words ‘climate change,'” Huntsman told reporters at a press conference this afternoon. “When you’ve got a body of science that already is rendering certain judgements about what is happening in our world, for us to shy away, say it doesn’t matter as an issue, I think is foolhardy, it’s short-sighted and it’s bound to do us damage in the longer-term.”

When you have gone through a mauling on the scale that the Republicans saw last week it creates an opportunity for those who can see their way through the problems and show that they have the potential to bring in change. Huntsman seems to offer that.

I’m convinced that the GOP nominee next time will be of Obama’s generation or younger and that it won’t be Sarah Palin. If she puts her hat into the ring she will fall badly in the first primary test – the Iowa caucuses.

You can get 66/1 on Huntsman for the nomination and 200/1 on him becoming president. The latter is where I’ve invested my £50.

Mike Smithson

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