Ever since I learned about his appointment as Ambassador to China, I’ve kept my eye on former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. First of all, consider that Utah is perhaps the most red state in the country, electing very, very few Democrats. Because of this, the population and the party make allowances for that rarest of beasts: the moderate Republican, which Huntsman clearly is. Secondly, he seems adept at playing both sides in his own bid for the White House. By serving in the Obama administration, he can claim heir to Obama’s policies if they’re successful. By running against Obama this year and next, he can lay the groundwork for a national campaign now while arguing against Obama and the Dems and building up his GOP-bonafides. He’s a shrewd guy, and if Obama wins in 2012, I think Huntsman stands a good shot going into 2016. As Andrew Sullivan says, he’s the Obama of the right.