I think I may have figured out how Utah could get a Mo' in the White House--put him on the ticket behind someone the south doesn't hate. Solution, Huntsman behind Louisiana Guv, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal. I heard Jindall, the first Indian-American elected to statewide office, close off the republican counterpoint to Obama's stimulus speech on the radio and was fairly impressed (though I heard from those who saw him on TV that he needs to dial down the swagger).
I also checked a good profile on the young buck from an old Esquire article (you can read it here about the man and his ambitions) that also impressed me on the fellow. But what struck me about the possibilities of a Jindal/Hunstman pairing is that it would be the perfect way for republicans to present a new--but essentially false face--of the party.
First off you got a pair of firsts: Indian American and Mormon. But more importantly you have Huntsman. Our fair guv would actually be the truer doppleganger of a milder, more centrist voice of the GOP because of his prioritizing the environment and gay rights. In a nice piece via Politico, Hunstman postures himself as a candidate to help realign the political party by appealing to the youth much the way the Tory party did in the UK. He sees the GOP as losing vital ground with the youth by not budging on climate change and gay rights such as workplace non-discrimination and civil unions.
Between the two candidates there is alot of pluses. There's a heap of business experience, international expertise, appeal to two different religious conservative bases and a dash of progressive politics for the kiddies. But the genius of it is that, much as Huntsman would like the GOP to completely throw out its old game plan and install him as candidate for prez of the new U.S. Tories, the reality is that kind of shift is never going to happen. A pack of elephants just ain't gonna move that fast.
But what is likely, and diabolically appealing, is to place a more progressive/conservative like Huntsman as Veep so as to appeal to swing voters and moderates. The best part for GOP puppetmasters will be that as veep, Huntsman won't, if elected, actually really do anything about gay rights or the environment. Because our Guv while an able and intelligent leader, he always seems to have an eye on the next prize.
The only question is would the south even tolerate a semi-progressive Mormon on the ticket at all? That is the question that remains to be seen. But considering all the high-fives the LDS church has recently received from Baptists and Evangelicals for all their Prop 8 work, it seems like somebody may have found common ground from the post-Prop 8 furor. Sadly for Utah's LGBT folks, that common ground is between Mormons and Southern Evangelicals uniting against them.
But who we kidding, Obama's just too smooth an operator to lose re-election in 2012. But that's all the more "getting-to-know-you" time for Mormons and Evangelicals to forge their unholy "holy" alliance.