Wow. Every day this week, it seems, has brought more proof of Huntsmania on the march. We had polling in New Hampshire showing him cracking double digits, a quasi-endorsement from the Boston Herald, another eye-opening boost from his daughters, and now...an explicit plea for a Huntsman third-party candidacy, from none other than that doyenne of Republican moderation, Christie Todd Whitman. Take it away, Politico:
“I would hope he would do it, frankly. He’s someone that I would support,” Whitman said Friday in an interview with POLITICO.
Whitman, a Republican, said a third-party effort by Huntsman is the way to go because she believes it’s unlikely he has much of shot at the GOP nomination. “I don’t see that kind of traction unless he can pull off a surprise in New Hampshire, where independents are allowed to vote,” she said.
This is more than just idle chatter, because Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and director of the Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush, is now on the leadership team of Americans Elect, the millionaire-funded effort to get a bipartisan "third-choice" ticket on the presidential ballot next fall. The managers of that effort have already floated Huntsman's name as a possible candidate, and when asked about that prospect earlier this week, Huntsman did not reject it as categorically as he could have. Now, we have Whitman making an explicit, public pitch to Huntsman. It's all enough to make a certain op-ed columnist's moustache twitch in anticipation. It also raises a wee question: how exactly is Americans Elect a populist, grass-roots effort, in which nominees will arise from the depths of a disgruntled electorate, if instead we have a former governor and Cabinet official helping run the effort who is all but doing the nominating on her own?