As Jon Huntsman finishes announcing his candidacy for the presidency in front of the Statue of Liberty: In today's Politico, past Spectator contributor Daniel Allott presents the strongest conservative case possible for the former governor of Utah:
Huntsman has a strong pro-life record, both as a chief executive, signing several innovative pro-life laws as Utah's governor from 2005 to 2009, and as a private citizen, as a father of seven, two adopted. He also supports gun rights and has an unwavering commitment to Israel.
Huntsman signed the largest tax cut in Utah history. During his tenure, the state was named the nation's "best managed" by the Pew Research Center, and cited as one of the top three states in which to do business. Forbes labeled Huntsman's Utah the most "fiscally fit" state for its combination of low debt and taxes and low unemployment.
When Huntsman left office, he had an 84 percent approval rating among Utah voters. Polls show that he is still well-regarded by his former constituents - which can't be said for some other former governors in the GOP race.
On the hustings, Huntsman has already voiced support for Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, and has pledged to repeal Obamacare.
Not that Huntsman is a perfect conservative candidate. He does look like a moderate on the environment and immigration, as well as in his support of civil unions for gay couples - though he has opposed gay marriage.
But conservative primary voters must ask themselves whether these positions are less tolerable than the conservative apostasies of the other candidates now called plausible - Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.
The huge caveat, though, is that Utah is one of the most, if not the most, conservative states in the country. Pawlenty governed Minnesota, a blue state, and Romney established his record in Massachusetts, arguably the most liberal state in the nation.
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