I’ve noted previously that Jon Huntsman’s campaign strategy appears to be to match a moderate, conciliatory tone with an orthodox conservative policy platform. And sure enough, he’s endorsing a balanced-budget amendment. It’s not clear if the specific balanced-budget amendment he’s endorsing is The Worst Idea in Washington — in which case, Huntsman will have to explain how he’ll handle the fact that Paul Ryan’s budget, which he has also endorsed, will be unconstitutional — or just a relative of it. Either way, it’s not moderate in the least. Which isn’t to say it’s not good politics.
The theory here is that the most conservative message possible is not “I am the most conservative candidate in the race,” but “I am the conservative candidate who is most likely to beat Barack Obama.” Huntsman’s persona is aimed at the second part of the claim, but his policy is aimed squarely at the first part.