I’m with Jamelle Bouie in thinking there’s nothing in the GOP primary rules to bail Jon Huntsman out from the basic fact that Republican primary voters want someone who’s more consistently rightwing than he is.
That said, I’ve been thinking about the oft-repeated contention that Huntsman is “really running for vice president.” The problem with this is that I’m not sure how you go about doing it. But if you can make it work, this looks to me like a pretty good way to become president. In the post-WWII era we’ve had Barkley, Nixon, Johnson, Humphrey, Agnew, Ford, Mondale, Bush, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, and now Biden as vice presidents. From that list, Nixon, Johnson, Ford, and Bush became president and Humphrey, Mondale, and Gore became major-party presidential nominees. And it seems to me that if Joe Biden wants to be the Democratic nominee in 2016, he probably will. The problem for Huntsman is that we seem to be undergoing a shift in norms with Cheney and Biden, where the idea for a VP pick is to choose somebody boring and senior who’s supposed to provide ballast, Washington experience, and a lack of further political ambitions.