No One Cares That Huntsman Is Quitting
Was his whole campaign just a run-up to 2016?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2012 10:18 AM CST
Republican presidential candidate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman descends stairs during an event at Virginia's on King restaurant, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, in Charleston, S.C.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the presidential race today—but does anyone care? "The only people really depressed about Jon Huntsman’s exit from the race are people who wouldn’t in their wildest dreams have voted for him—or any Republican candidate, for that matter," writes Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post, who places the impact of his announcement at close to zero: "It’s like being told that the Num Lock key is leaving the race. You feel like you should be disappointed, but you can’t think of anything that it was adding." But there is one big takeaway from his bid: "If you put a lot of effort into making your hair look nice, people will take you more seriously than perhaps they ought." Her highly amusing column is worth a read.

More reactions:

  • "Huntsman's failure proves that there's no constituency for liberal Republicanism," declares the Telegraph. Huntsman was fiscally conservative, but he also "had some nice things to say about evolution and homosexuality," writes Tim Stanley. But those "aspirant suburbanites" whose votes Huntsman was courting? They're either Democrats or independents who won't be voting in the GOP primary, while the Republican party itself "is arguably even more socially conservative than it was 20 years ago."
  • "Sanity and relative moderation were meant to be Huntsman’s appealing qualities, but, whatever genuine support they generated, they seemed to drag him down in this race," writes Amy Davidson in the New Yorker. "His exit will be of limited use to those who are torn between Gingrich and Santorum."
  • Politico's Arena features an extensive discussion of what went wrong. Grover Norquist says Huntsman's strategy could have worked had he gotten started earlier, an impression shared by many. (One former Obama administration official quips: "What went wrong? He ran for the GOP nomination in 2012 instead of 1988.") A few guess that Huntsman is now angling for the secretary of state appointment in Romney's administration, or that this whole thing was just a trial for a real run in 2016.
Click for more on why Huntsman decided to drop out.