The lone reasonable-seeming candidate in the whackadoo 2012 Republican presidential field seems to be former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, and even though he looks like a Mormon Billy Bob Thorton and hasn't publicly disavowed science, he's failed to make enough of an impression on voters to poll above the single digits. The only force keeping him sort of in the spotlight are his three oldest daughters, and between their mustache wearing, joke tweeting, and sharp appearances on various cable news programs, we're beginning to think should just go ahead and run for President themselves.
Huntsman isn't terrible per se; while he's cut from a similar mold as fellow Mormon zillionaire and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (who is actually his third cousin once removed), he's differentiated himself from Mittens with his foreign policy experience (he was the Obama administrator's Ambassador to China) and belief in civil unions for gay couples. He's predictably anti-choice, but he's publicly denounced the wacky fringe of the Republican party that seems to have taken control of the Good Ship Conservatism and he left Utah's governorship with an approval rating of over 80%. If that's not enough to convince you that he's the least- terrible of the potential 2012 Republican Presidential nominees: when he was 17, he dropped out of high school to play keyboards with a rock band called Wizard. Pretty advanced for a conservative. NYC-based GOP consultant Steve Goldberg has even remarked that Huntsman is a center-right conservative that could actually pose a threat to President Obama's reelection, as though his pleading won't fall on the Tea Party steeped ears of the conservative voting base.
Huntsman's smart, competent, and capable, but he's not going to win the nomination. His daughters are the ones making the real impression.
Mary Anne, age 26, Abby, age 25, and Liddy, age 22 have tirelessly taken to the campaign trail on behalf of their dad, starting a Twitter account that's alternately insightful and bitingly sarcastic. Of Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience, they said, "How does Romney know anything about China? He's only been there once and that was for the Olympics. Panda Express doesn't count." Of Cain's 9-9-9 plan, they said, "Too bad the price of a pizza would be $10.89 with Cain's plan!" Other tweets detail their various media appearances and sisterly campaign shenanigans that might lead one to believe that growing up in El Casa de Huntsman involved a lot of elaborate fort-building.
During an interview with The Daily Beast, the Huntsman three expressed frustration with the current system and the divide between the vocal sides of both the left and right wing. And they say that if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, even though they're Republicans, they won't vote for him because they can't trust him. (Neither can we.) All three of them are worldly— each of them are fluent in a language besides English— and well-traveled.
But it's not all hard policy and announcement of appearances. After Herman Cain's mustachioed aide made that video about how awesome and smart Herman Cain is before taking a long, thoughtful draw on a cigarette, the Huntsman daughters donned stick on mustaches and blew bubbles for their dad. They've also posted pictures of themselves planking, back before everyone realized that planking's really stupid. (They're now on to Tebowing.)
They play jokes on each other, too. Abby's married, but Libby and Mary Anne have jokingly signed each other up for dating sites including J-Date. They don't identify as strongly Mormon, either; while their father and mother are both still active members of the church, the three oldest daughters have forged their own way, occasionally nearly giving campaign staff members near-heart attacks. Reports The Daily Beast,
"I have the same sense of humor as my dad, but a little more crude and inappropriate," Liddy explains, adding that she delights in tormenting the Huntsman campaign communications staff by sending them especially outrageous jokes, which she pretends she'd like to post on Twitter. "Absolutely not," the communications professionals scold her. "But you don't understand," she counters. "Trust me. It's really funny." (We agree to keep her more ribald quips off the record.)
They're young, intelligent, witty, and sharp, willing to stand up for their famous dad and reach out to the young people conservatives have such a hard time courting. Think Meghan McCain multiplied by three, but with a cooler dad (and also somehow wave a magic wand that will make her stop being insipid. Totally different than Meghan McCain, actually). Maybe someone— or a few someones— who aren't afraid to speak their mind and actually have useful things to say is just what this country needs right now.
Yes, American law dictates that the President be over 35 years old and the eldest of the three daughters is nearly a decade shy of that milestone, and yes, American law dictates that technically, three people can't run for President. And yes, neither Mary Anne, Elizabeth (Liddy), nor Abigail (Abby) have any relevant political experience, but a lack of political experience hasn't stopped Herman Cain from awkward laughing his way toward a lead in the polls. Since other candidates can call for electric fences to kill Mexicans, blame vaccines for "retardation," claim to be pro life with a straight face after being applauded for killing hundreds of people while being governor of Texas, and change the very fabric of truth itself, why can't we change several scores worth of legal precedent in order for our Tri-Presidents to be three young, driven, smart women?
Think about it, Jon Huntsman's daughters. Right now you're the least depressing thing about the entire 2012 Presidential election.