The Republican strategist who helped Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman prepare for a possible presidential run says the Republican party is in for a devastating defeat if its guiding lights are Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney. “If it’s 2012 and our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we’re headed for a blowout,” says strategist John Weaver, who advised Huntsman and was for years a close adviser to Sen. John McCain. “That’s just the truth.”
…Now, Huntsman’s decision to accept the president’s invitation to serve as ambassador to China effectively means he is out of the 2012 contest….
In addition to being out of the 2012 presidential race, Huntsman is also out of the ongoing debate over the future of the Republican party. Quinn, who met with Huntsman during the visit to South Carolina, says the Utah governor “seemed to be highly motivated to try to re-brand the Republican party as an institution that can win elections all across the country.” Now, Huntsman won’t be doing that, not only because it would not be a proper role for an ambassador but also because he will be thousands of miles away in Beijing.