I could never quite figure out what Jon Huntsman was up to. Huntsman’s “moderate” identity put him squarely up against the Romney juggernaut. He didn’t have a sufficiently distinct identity. His was an insurgency against a front-runner, but he acted like he was campaigning for a Cabinet position. Today he made that official.

Temperamentally, Huntsman remained mild-mannered and rather manicured. He seemed to want to run as the Reasonable Candidate. The nice guy. Someone who could reach across the aisle with an open hand and not a dagger. The fellow who didn’t reject what scientists said about global warming. He didn’t talk about revolution, he talked about reform — tax reform, education reform. No more war in Afghanistan, no more nation-building abroad. He talked about the “trust deficit.” It was an easy-drinking agenda, a light beer instead of the fire water you often get served on the campaign trail.

And it would have been fine, probably, if he was running for president of Friends of the National Zoo.

The latest polls show Romney on top in South Carolina, with Gingrich having collapsed in just the past few weeks. So it’s still hard to see how one of these others guys wrests the nomination from Romney. Obama vs. Romney is a good, potentially substantive general-election contest — a fight between two solid candidates who surely will be accused of extremism even though they have a record of governing in the middle. [Discuss.] Ron Paul will be a factor, somehow, though Rand is primed to run in four years and that has to be on Pop’s mind.

But what do I know — I can’t believe it’s not Saints vs. Packers next Sunday for the NFC title.