Jon Huntsman jr.

I’m very gratified of our Utah governor, Jon Huntsman.

I was rather skeptical about him when he first ran for office. Aside from his Republican membership, Huntsman Chemical is involved in a lawsuit concerning environmental pollution leading to cancer (the lawsuit is yet unresolved, and Huntsman Chemical has not been “convicted” of anything; nonetheless, if Huntsman Chemical has acted unethically, Huntsman jr would have been complicit in that action and defending that action rather than acknowledging and making restitution for their irresponsible behavior). Being a wealthy businessman, I was afraid he would be focused on supporting corporate interests. And one of his primary campaign planks was to institute a number of “tax holidays” and economic incentives to ostensibly entice corporate investment and growth (ie, corporate welfare). I supported Scott Matheson for governor, and was very disappointed when Huntsman won (if not particularly surprised).

Huntsman is far from perfect. I was disgusted he would be so petty as to fly in Sean Hannity to provide a “balance” to Michael Moore’s visit to Utah in 2004 (where is the balance to Hannity’s daily radio show broadcast in Utah?). I did not agree with his support for a constitutional marriage amendment at both a state and federal level. I do not agree with much of his economic agenda.

But Huntsman has very pleasantly surprised me. The Utah legislature, dominated as it is by very hard-line conservatives, was yet again determined to push through a pretty radical right-wing agenda. But Huntsman proved himself to be much more moderate and responsible than his predecessor and many other representatives of Utah’s majority party. He was instrumental in the bid to lower or eliminate the tax on food, a tax change which would most benefit the poor (a bid narrowly defeated by the more conservative elements of the legislature). While he is a proponent of a flatter tax, he did work reduce the more regressive nature of flat taxes and protect the poor. When Republican legislators were discussing meddling with the separation of Church and State by implementing “Intelligent Design” in science education, Huntsman stated very clearly his opposition, noting that we should not be mixing religion and science. He vetoed a bill aimed to prevent environmental groups from barring road construction, a petty attack on the groups which opposed the Legacy Highway. And now Huntsman is working furiously to ensure dental health care for disabled Utahns, an issue which the legislature refused to deal with.

It is interesting to compare Utah’s governor with our president. I was mildly skeptical about both when each first ran, feeling both were the less attractive of my options in both cases, but having no strong feelings about either. Bush betrayed all hope I had for him, revealing himself to be much worse than I could have anticipated, and doing damage in almost every action he took. Huntsman has proven to far exceed my expectations, being a reasonable and pretty compassionate person aside from his ideology, and on the whole advancing the cause of the people who accepted his offer to serve. He is one of the few Republicans whom I feel I can trust, and whom I would be willing to work with.

11 Responses to “Jon Huntsman jr.”

  1. Brian Says:

    Quick note. Sean Hannity is not paid to be balanced on “His” radio show. On the other hand you will hear more liberal opinions on Sean’s 3 hour show than you will conservative voices on a day, maybe a week, of Air America Radio. I do listen to AAR once in a while when I need some hints on hate speech. 😉

  2. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Nor was Moore paid to be balanced. It was tacky of Huntsman to worry about balancing Moore’s presentation, when he is obviously not worried about balancing the overwhelming conservative presentation over Utah’s radio airwaves.

  3. Jolard Says:

    Hannity has Liberal opionions on his show? I must have missed them, or do you consider the straw man liberal arguments he proposes as the balance he has? 🙂

    Anyway, I am glad Huntsman has turned out better than you expected. I live in Washington State, so I haven’t been too knowledgeable about his term.

    That said I agree with you on Bush. I supported Gore in 2000, but I wasn’t overly concerned with Bush when he won, since he was the compassionate conservative, remember? Oh how wrong I was. He has been far worse than his father, and probably far worse than Reagan. What a disaster.

  4. Derek Staffanson Says:

    I supported Nader in 2000, because I wasn’t impressed at all by the Clinton administration’s willingness to cozy up to the corporate world and play the big money game, and because like you, I didn’t think Bush’s apparent moderate conservativism would be much worse (and as a Utahn, my vote didn’t matter anyway).

    Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined…

    Straw men and outright slander, that’s Hannity. I don’t have the opportunity to listen to Air America much, but I’ll admit I can’t stand Randi Rhodes or Mike Malloy. They are too vindictive and mean-spirited–too much like Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, and Michael Savage. Franken was pretty good when Katherine was guest hosting. They were funny, and unlike Hannity et al, Franken based his opinions on actual facts. 😉

  5. Brian Says:

    My point is that Hannity allows liberal callers to present their case on his show. Air America Radio does not seem to do the same. All the times I have listened to them I have heard one conservative call in, and I believe he was a friend of Franken.

  6. Derek Staffanson Says:

    No, Hannity and most of the others of his ilk does not allow liberal callers to present their cases. He distorts, mocks, resorts to straw men, slanders, baits-and-switches, etc. That hardly qualifies as an open and honest dialogue.

    Franken and most of the others on AAR I listened to did not take as many callers as typical for talk radio, this is true. But he did permit at least as much discussion by callers as does Hannity. And in the time I listened (from its first week of broadcasts to about June of last year), I recall Franken having among his guests not merely a weekly chat with his dittohead friend, but also Ben Stein, G. Gordon Liddy, McCain, John Stossel, Christine Todd Whitman, and Hannity himself (just to name some off the top of my head).

    I’m not in a position to listen to AAR very often anymore, so in addition to regularly listening in to Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Medved, and a few others in order to hear the other side out, I listen most often to NPR, where both sides are aired out.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    As a Utah resident who generally votes for more progessive candidates, I did not vote for Huntsman but have also been pleasantly surprised. If only our legislators had his vision and ethical sense! He has been making them look terrible – not that his goal was to make them look bad, but that his goal was to do what is in the interest of the citizens of Utah…. The elections this fall will be telling – – Jennifer
    p.s. I recall the early years of Leavitt’s governorship were fairly balanced too – then with each term he seemed to be more out of touch with the citizens.

  8. Wolf Gardner Says:

    I always knew deep down that Huntsman Jr. was a fake Conservative, and that he would lean liberal when voted in. Your blog, the many like it, and his record prove me correct. The only thing worse than a liberal, is a liberal who runs as a conservative.

    (Because print cannot express feelings, I wish to note that I think Liberals are good people and I have many liberal friends and family members. I do think you are all WILDLY misguided on your fiscal views, and would actually respect liberals more if they would just go by their original name..Communists. And no, that is not a talking point from Rush, Liberalism is Communism to the core, and can actually be made as a very valid argument. But when the argument starts on a lie, ie liberals are not communists, I quit listening….GOOD POST THOUGH, well written.

  9. Justin Says:

    Fact: our tax dollars don’t pay for Sean Hannity’s radio show.

    Fact: our tax dollars do pay for Liberal leaning and biased NPR.

    I live in Colorado, but I have to say that if you want a Left wing radio station start one, nobody is stopping you. If people like you ideas and listen you will eventually get advertisers who want to advertise with you (you make money).

    This is Capitalism it rewards thoughs whom work. It gives you the right to succeed as well as fail. Failure is actually sometimes a good thing, you learn from it. I wish the Government would learn this. Let bad companies fail, because new ones will come forward that can do it better. STOP BAILOUTS!

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