Yesterday Jon Huntsman announced his bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Huntsman is the former governor of the state of Utah, and he recently resigned as the US Ambassador to China. So far the media has focused primarily on Huntsman’s positions on foreign policy and economic issues, as has Huntsman himself. Huntsman has often been called a moderate on social policy issues, such as immigration and same sex marriage. Nevertheless, he did sign three anti-abortion bills his last year as governor of Utah. The overwhelming lack of information about Huntsman’s stance on abortion on his campaign website makes me wonder: where does Jon Huntsman actually stand on abortion?
Mitt Romney came under fire last week for his refusal to sign a pledge from the Susan B. Anthony List. Ever the moderate, Romney argued that the pledge, which rejects federal funding for health care facilities that provide abortion, would be very costly to hospitals who rely on federal Medicaid dollars. The anti-choice group took Romney’s refusal as a sign that he’s a “flip-flopper” on abortion, especially given the mudslinging Romney received in the 2008 election for his perceived support of Planned Parenthood. Romney is currently the GOP frontrunner (which means next to nothing this far out from the election), but his stance on abortion could hurt his campaign much more than people’s questions surrounding his Mormonism.
That being said, however, Huntsman and Romney will definitely have to address their religious beliefs. Huntsman has tried to downplay his religion, and so has Romney. In my opinion, this is a mistake. Don’t try to sidestep your religion as if you’re ashamed of it, fellas. Say you’re a Mormon, admit that it influences your decisions, talk about how that might play out when you make policy decisions, and point to your voting records as governor as the proof that you’ve got the practical skills necessary to be a good leader. Michelle Bachman cannot counter that experience, and she’s gonna be tap dancing around her Wiccan pot stirring (which is ultimately viewed as more untrustworthy than Mormonism is). So don’t sit on the defensive side of the debate – take it up the gut. People will respect you a whole lot more for your honesty. You seem dishonest when you try to closet your beliefs.
In addition to their shared Mormonism, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman both have a butt load of money. For me, that’s a sign that these two won’t be as beholden to special interest groups as some of their GOP opponents. We’ll have to wait and see if my prediction about this is true – but I’d like to see both of these mega-millionaires tell the Tea Party to shove it.
Serena is a freelance writer who enjoys baking, protesting, and playing with little dogs.