April 29th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Republican governor tells GOP to stop saying 'No'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/29/art.huntsman.gi.jpg caption="Huntsman remains incredibly popular in his home state of Utah."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican rising star who has been frank in urging his party to adapt to the times or face extinction, is now telling GOP leaders in Washington to stop saying "no."

"You can't just say no," Huntsman told ABC News in an interview published Wednesday. "You can't just obstruct or obfuscate. Instead of just kind of grousing and complaining, it would do us all a whole lot of good if we actually started engaging directly in finding compromises and common ground and shared solutions."

Hunstman, often described as a moderate, has embraced parts of President Obama's economic agenda, including a cap-and-trade program and his $787 billion economic stimulus package. Though he opposes gay marriage, Huntsman has frustrated many conservatives by supporting civil unions for same-sex couples.

His maverick positions have some Republicans wondering if he might be the right man to lead the party against Obama in 2012, a perception that isn't hurt by his deep pockets and in-state approval ratings that reach into the 80s.

Huntsman acknowledged that the GOP leadership in Congress "deserves high marks for unified opposition, getting everybody in line, keeping everybody contained, in opposition to some of the initiatives of the Obama administration." But, he said, "that now needs to be supplemented by real ideas and solutions."

Echoing some of the Democratic National Committee's favorite talking points, Huntsman said that a Republican party that lacks ideas has no choice but to say "no."

"When you are devoid of the ideas, or the content that would allow you to articulate or paint a better future, you have no choice other than to fall back on 'no, we are not going support it, it cannot be done,'" Huntsman told ABC.

He said the only way Republicans will find themselves at the negotiating table is if they offer "concrete substantive solutions."

Filed under: Republican Party
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. true daughter of the american revolution

    thank goodness there's a bit of reality within the republicans – hats off to Huntsman for being honest!

    April 29, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. nick

    Govs, Huntsman and Crist seem be among the few remaining Republicans who have a functioning brain, and a chance to start this party on the right track, back to respectibility. These men, along with others who share their ideas and beliefs, could and should, silence the fanatics in the RNC, and on Fox News along with limbaugh.and some members of the past administration. The Republican talking heads are destroying the party, and should they susceed, all republicans will be the losers, along with America´s need to have an oppositions party. They don´t quite understand that the talking heads are building the democratic base ever larger.

    April 29, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Desmond

    A Republican with integrity and intelligence? How shocking. So now they have two real leaders, if you add Meghan McCain. All the others are in a "RUSH" to irrelevance.

    April 29, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Independent_me

    Huntsman is right.
    The worst of America (nazi-like right-wing extremists) hijacked the party and Rove, Gingrich and Limbaugh made it into a thing to be scorned.

    April 29, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. JT

    Quick! Somebody hide this guy–we don't want any reasonable, agreeable Rs runnin' around here messin' up our plans to extinct the republican party! Hopefully he will "dis" Rush and have to apologize, or the Club for Growth will run a 6000 year old earth believin', god hates homosexuals, secessionist against him in the primary.

    April 29, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Faith Restored

    Fundamental differences in ideology will of course lead to different POV's on the best ways to handle a myriad of extreme situations facing our nation. However, this childish 2-year-old behavior from far to many of the extremists in the GOP who seem to be the focused upon voices/faces of the party do not prevail with cool heads but rather snark, insults, threats, tantrums, etc. leaving no room for people like Utah's Governor and probably for more others than we think, room to manuever in an environment where not only would their voices be heard with some real effort and respect, but quite possibly provide bipartisanship that could get the GOP some of what is reasonable on their wish list met in the process.

    April 29, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. devon

    finally someone in the GOP with a backbone and a brain of his own

    April 29, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. John of Michigan

    Governor, it's time to switch party.

    April 29, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. The Real Slim Shady

    I like him. Dems and Repubs. Libs and Conservatives would all do well to follow the example he is setting.

    April 29, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. di

    he is an honest man the GOP is now inlabour only seasoned people like the governor who are balanced and levelheaded can can prevent a still birth.

    April 29, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Patriot Guy

    Oh boy. Another Arlen Specter. Just what the republicans need. Compromising is the reason the republicans are no longer the majority party. The republicans need to start say "NO" more often.

    April 29, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Miss Lead

    I hope he follows the steps of the PA Senator and joins the Democratic Party. He seems to be a fellow with enough comon sense.

    Miss Lead
    APO (Overseas)

    April 29, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Jack in Florida

    Finally.....a flicker of wisdom in the Republican party......Governor Huntsman.....just follow Arlen Specter and find your way through the Democratic party....the welcome matt is out for you!

    April 29, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Myassis Dragon

    When the Democrats get the 60th Senate seat, the Republicans will suddenly want to negotiate and contribute. Remember though, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman here voted NO and proclaimed that wishes that President Obama and our country FAILS!! Funny...how can every Republican be a "rising star" and "maverick". I hope he FAILS!!!

    April 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. kd

    Huntsman will never be a presidential candidate for two reasons. He's Mormon and he's from Utah. Romney couldn't get past the religion tag and Utah is beyond Red. Huntsman is good for a soundbyte but that's about it. He really doesn't have to lift a finger in Utah, where the homogeneous nature of the state, both socially and politically, is anything but what is accurate for the US.

    I say this as a person who presently lives in Utah and have been here for the past 17 years.

    Believe me, you DON'T want somebody from Utah running the government.

    April 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. moderate2009

    Finally, somebody in the republican ranks with some brains!!! We just have to get the remaining republican party a brain transplant. If they come up with some real ideas maybe people will take them serious. If not , the obvious is obvious. They are going to fall apart , and then they will eat each other for breakfast!!! showing the Bush compassionate conservativtism is all about.

    April 29, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. AP

    Uh oh. Watch out Gov., Huntsman. You are now on Rush's hit list!

    April 29, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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