Based on polling numbers, Jon Huntsman is long shot to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. As part of his uphill battle, Huntsman has also failed to raise enough money to buy the ad time necessary to make a splash among voters.
All the candidates, from Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney, have been quick to criticize the role of super PACs, the independent organizations that can spend and raise unlimited sums on campaigns. But Huntsman’s voice is starting to get louder on the issue of money in politics. During Sunday’s NBC-Facebook debate, Politico Influence reports:
While talking about tax reforms, Jon Huntsman criticized a system of costly “loopholes and deductions” that “gives rise to lobbying on Capitol Hill that needs to clean up.” Huntsman later said he’d aim to “close the revolving door on members going right on out and becoming a [lobbyist].”
And today, Huntsman has an op-ed on FoxNews.com that is unlikely to compel moneyed special interests to empty out their pockets for his campaign:
My opponents have also failed to take on Wall Street with substantive reforms. This includes – unsurprisingly – the establishment’s preferred front-runner, Mitt Romney.
Governor Romney, who has accepted more Wall Street money than any other candidate, has offered no concrete solutions to protect taxpayers in the event of a future financial crisis.
Will Huntsman be the one to practice what he preaches? Not quite. Not yet.
While Huntsman’s campaign – suffering, seemingly, because of a lack of cash – hasn’t received the kind of outside funding typical of his opponents, he does have one particularly rich backer: his father, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Huntsman’s super PAC. But according to a story in the New York Times over the weekend, Huntsman doesn’t want to take much more of his father’s money:
“If he doesn’t prevail, it’s going to be for lack of resources,” said a close supporter… “And this is from one of the great wealthy families of America.”
…Though he lent his campaign some $2 million to help it along, Mr. Huntsman has said publicly that he should be able to raise the necessary money without depending on the family fortune…
So without a clear go-ahead from his son, the senior Mr. Huntsman was willing to go only so far to help his campaign… not the many millions aides believe he would have put in had his son invited it.
While Huntsman’s reasons for not accepting his father’s help might not be the noblest, his struggles show how important money is in this and all campaigns. Candidates who want to succeed seem to have no choice but to speak the truth about Washington’s everyday corruption, while also engaging in it.