Huntsman Calls for “Skeptical View of Foreign Entanglements”
DOVER – Speaking at a house party in Dover Wednesday evening hosted by yours truly, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said the United States would benefit from a more “skeptical view of foreign entanglements.”
Huntsman pointed to the ill-defined and open-ended U.S. role in Libya and the nation’s nearly ten year presence in Afghanistan as cautionary examples, saying it’s time to wind down U.S. operations in both places to focus on nation building at home. America can’t help anyone if our core is not strong, Huntsman said.
It’s a position on foreign affairs that shows how much the ground has shifted on these issues since the primary season four years ago. Back then, with President George W. Bush still in office and the surge strategy being implemented in Iraq, no credible Republican candidate spoke about reducing American hard power abroad. Now, the party is starting to have a debate on such issues.
Huntsman said attention to the national debt in recent weeks has been a positive thing, staking out the position that something had to be done. Huntsman praised the roadmap put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan. Huntsman said everyone’s upset about the debt deal and no one likes it, and went on to say that probably means it was a step in the right direction. Huntsman offered a more pragmatic approach on the debt issue than that taken by hardliners such as Michele Bachmann.
Making an indirect reference to front runner Mitt Romney, whom Huntsman did not name, Huntsman mentioned critically that some candidates waited to weigh in on the debt crisis until after the deal was reached.
After Huntsman described himself as pro-life in his stump speech, during Q&A a Dover OB/GYN doctor asked Huntsman to expand on his position. Huntsman said he supports exceptions for rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother before responding to the second part of the doctor’s question, stating his support for tort reform that could reduce the amount of defensive medicine practiced by doctors.
Huntsman worked the crowd of 60 people well both before and after his remarks, stopping to speak to every attendee one on one. He was dressed casually in corduroys and a plaid shirt, with no tie or jacket. His hosts presented Huntsman with a copy of “The Candidates: See How They Run,” a book by the late former Gov. Hugh Gregg that recounts Gregg’s role in the New Hampshire primary campaigns of Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.