On January 31, 2011, Jon Huntsman resigned as U.S. Ambassador to China, immediately leading to speculation about a potential Presidential run by Huntsman in 2012. In the ensuing days, many political pundits have weighed in on Huntsman’s move. Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch issued the following statement today (February 2, 2011):
“By all accounts, Jon Huntsman has done an outstanding job and should be commended for serving our nation so ably as U.S. ambassador to China, one of the most important positions of its kind in the world. I am confident he will continue to bring solid leadership, expertise and total dedication to the job until he leaves the position, and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.” [Source: Phillips, Kramer. “Sen. Orrin Hatch Issues Statement on Huntsman Resignation as U.S. Ambassador to China,” TheStateColumn.com, 2/2/11, downloaded from: http://www.thestatecolumn.com/state_politics/utah/sen-orrin-hatch-issues-statement-on-huntsman-resignation-as-u-s-ambassador-to-china/]
Because Senator Orrin Hatch is an experienced legislator and former attorney, we have to assume that he chose his words with care in the above statement. So what, exactly, was the purpose behind Hatch’s words about Jon Huntsman?
The statement can be broken down into three components: (1) Praise for Jon Huntsman’s work to-date as Ambassador to China, (2) confidence that Huntsman will continue to perform well as Ambassador until he leaves his post, and (3) best wishes for “future endeavors.” The interpretation of these three components turns largely on whether you believe that Hatch will run for President in 2012; at present, there is no evidence that Hatch is seriously considering a run. Consequently, we can probably take his words about Huntsman at face value.
It seems, therefore, that Senator Orrin Hatch is trying to bolster his fellow Utahn, John Huntsman, in Huntsman’s assumed 2012 run for the Presidency. The reference to “future endeavors” seems clearly to refer to Huntsman’s 2012 Presidential campaign. Hatch is also careful to address potential problem for Huntsman – i.e., the problem that some people might assume that he will under-perform in his ambassadorship during the lame-duck period between now and his actual departure from his post.
Maybe Hatch’s statement is just a typical press release drafted by a legislative correspondent or low-level speech writer, but I certainly get the sense that Orrin Hatch believes in Jon Huntsman as a Presidential candidate, and is giving a little boost to a potential future President.
Phillips, Kramer. “Sen. Orrin Hatch Issues Statement on Huntsman Resignation as U.S. Ambassador to China,” TheStateColumn.com, 2/2/11, downloaded from: http://www.thestatecolumn.com/state_politics/utah/sen-orrin-hatch-issues-statement-on-huntsman-resignation-as-u-s-ambassador-to-china/