Good on the Obama Administration. To be sure, there is a fair amount of palace intrigue associated with this move, but there really is no way to deny that Governor Huntsman is a talented politician and that he would make an excellent China hand. I don’t think that appointing him as the Ambassador would remove him from the field in 2012, either–it is not as if Huntsman has to serve for four years at the post. In fact, in many ways, serving as Ambassador may help augment Huntsman’s profile by showing him to be a foreign policy maven on the key issue of Sino-American relations. He will certainly miss out on a lot of the daily politicking that goes on in between elections, but much of that politicking is currently at a sub rosa level anyway.
Far from counting Huntsman out for the 2012 nomination, I would not be surprised if Barack Obama actually served to make the Governor even more of a viable contender for the Presidency when the next election rolls around.