Yesterday, reporter McKay Coppins published a must-read account of the role of billionaire industrialist and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. in the life and campaign of his son, Jon Jr.
Last week here at RD, we wondered aloud about how well the Huntsman family mojo would work beyond the Beehive State. Coppins offers a compelling, in-depth profile of the way the Huntsman name and even direct intervention from Huntsman Sr. have driven and shaped just about every step of Huntsman Jr.’s career. Says one quoted source: “Jon Sr. will brook no unkind word or deed toward his son or his family, and everyone here is well aware of that.”
With that much patriarchal pressure, it’s easy to understand why Jon Jr. joined a rock band, listened to the Sex Pistols while on his LDS mission (a big no-no), and likes to ride his motorcycle in the desert. Far away.
But it’s probably a good thing that Huntsman has his dad, because it appears that most of the folks he formerly worked with in Utah (including both senators and the attorney general) are lining up with Mitt Romney. As are most Mormon donors along with the state he once governed. One Utah-based politico is calling it Huntsman’s “Utah problem.”
Jake Garn asks, “If he can’t generate support from those with whom he worked most closely, why should folks in New Hampshire and South Carolina offer theirs?” Don’t worry—Al Gore lost Tennessee too, and look how well it turned out for him…