Jon Huntsman: Too Mormon, or not Mormon enough?
Dan Gilgoff at CNN.com has a fine examination of the religious outlook of Jon Huntsman, the latest Republican wannabe (and could be) to throw his hat into the presidential ring, and the second Mormon after presumptive leader Mitt Romney.
Huntsman has already received that usually lethal designation as the “media’s favorite Republican” (cf. McCain, John), though some believe that in this topsy-turvy field and political environment you can’t count anyone out. And Huntsman could benefit from the fact that economic concerns seem to be trumping “culture war” issues this year; Huntsman describes himself as pro-life but supports civil unions for gays.
But Huntsman has a particularly difficult needle to thread on religion, in that he is a Mormon, which makes him suspect to a large segment of voters. Yet he is also a Mormon of a different, stripe, as Gilgoff notes — one who is not “overly religious” and draws inspiration from many religions and philosophies. He and his wife are raising an adopted daughter from India in her native Hindu religion, and another daughter was married in an Episcopal Church (heaven forfend!).
I’m not sure whether it is harder to imagine a Republican candidate coping with such issues in a primary campaign or a Democrat trying to fend off Republican attacks if he or she had such a religious resume. Huntsman seems to have the worst of both worlds as a Mormon who isn’t all that observant. Or maybe he can make that work for him.