The National Jewish Democratic Council today applauded Jon Huntsman's service to the Obama Administration despite his perplexing policy changes on the issues that matter to most American Jews. Upon former Ambassador Huntsman's announcement to enter the presidential race, NJDC CEO and President David A. Harris said:
I applaud former Ambassador Huntsman's decision to enter the race despite his flagrant policy shifts on the President's economic recovery efforts, health care reform legislation, and proven cap-and-trade policies. I am puzzled as to why Huntsman would abandon his positions that have served him so well in his political career in favor of courting the extreme right-wing factions of the Republican Party as so many of his fellow Republican contenders have.
In 2009, Huntsman told Politico that the President's successful stimulus package "didn't necessarily hit the mark in terms of size" and should have totaled "about a trillion dollars." Just two days ago, President Obama's former advisor David Axelrod said that Huntsman's decision to call the President's economic policy "failed" is "in conflict with what he communicated to us in 2009."
Huntsman also supported President Obama's comprehensive health care reform package before he turned against it. He expressed his support to at least three White House officials during a presidential visit to China and signed a slew of health care reform bills into law during his governorship of Utah that contained proposals identical to the President's plan. In 2008, Huntsman said that "the time for change is now" for America's health care system. However, Huntsman now denounces the idea of comprehensive health care legislation, saying that in Utah, "We didn't end up going the individual-mandate route, like they did in Massachusetts."
Huntsman formerly championed cap-and-trade policies, signing the Western Climate Initiative and championing the Utah Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change. He even stated that
We have entered an era in which all nations are called upon to work together to address the urgent problem of global climate change. The United States and China should be part of the solution, and collaboration on clean energy and greater energy efficiency offer a real opportunity to deepen the overall U.S.-China relationship.
But now he has chosen to pander to the extreme right of the GOP, telling Time Magazine "it hasn't worked," and that "this isn't the moment" to implement it.
Utah Democratic Party chair Wayne Holland put it best when he said that "the nominating process of the GOP is held captive by the extreme right, right now - what we call the 'tin foil cap-wearers.' The governor seems to be pretty anxious to play to that crowd right now." Huntsman's choice to run away from his original progressive policy positions now places him far away from where the vast majority of American Jews stand on key issues that affect the lives of our fellow citizens and future generations to come.
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