You know...I don't understand this "should have X or Y" delusion that things'd be different. We have these things called primaries, where candidates debate each other, and you, the voter, decides if they're going to be that party's nominee for President. Then they content for President, and you, the voter, decide if you want him, or the other candidate. It's not a complicated process. It's democracy.
Primaries aren't completely fair to all candidates, though. Most (typically all but one) drop out long before the primary season is over. Reasons for that are varied, but do include whether the candidate was able to raise enough money for a successful campaign. The GOP has a lot of institutional, rich individual donors. If they refuse to back a candidate, his life will be extremely difficult. Also, there are endorsements, and candidates who drop out also have influence when it comes to assigning their delegates. Finally, not all primaries are open to the general public.
So it is rather unlikely for someone to come through who the republican establishment does not support (this is the same for the democrats, of course).
Romney was a moderate if not liberal Republican of a byegone era. Romney just had to pander to the conservative base to win the primary.
No republican was going to win primary without pandering to the right. No one who did that was going to win the general election. If Huntsman wanted to with the republican primary AND the general election he'd have to do some flip flopping. Like Romney
"Unfortunately, Mr Huntsman didn't grind on corporate crotch or pander to right wing religitards."
If he did no one else would have voted for him, like Mitt Romney.
"Romney was a chameleon who would take the colors he needed to get by. I'm not sure that's moderate or liberal." before the election he was a moderate at times liberal by today's standards
"Huntsman wasn't expected to ride corporate crotch, the fact that he wouldn't is the reason why he didn't have big money behind him." If Huntsman wanted to win the election he would have had to flip flop around like Romney for corporate sponsors, which he didn't.
Your point is that Huntsman could have beaten, or realisticly challenged Obama, and I am pointing out your trying to play a zero sum game.
But I think you get this and are trying to suggest that Huntsman might have been more apealing, which might be true, but your suggestion he was ever a viable canidate was false.
"Huntsman wasn't expected to ride corporate crotch, the fact that he wouldn't is the reason why he didn't have big money behind him." And is the exact reason he was never a threat to the Obama campaign.
Not a big surprise, really. In an age where left-leaning demographics are getting more and more influence, the republican party is hoping that becoming even more right helps. That won't work. Sooner or later, the republican party will realize that they have to go where the voters are instead of where they used to be.
I think Romney was already an effort to appeal to moderates. With things like RomneyCare under his belt, he could have credibly run as a moderate who agrees with some of the things Obama wants but not the way he goes about them. Compare that e.g. to Rick Santorum. Any efforts of his to appeal to moderates would have fallen flat by default.
But ultimately, the Romney campaign didn't go there, but remained firmly on the conservative side of the spectrum. We saw the results. I'm sure some people will believe that being even more conservative is the answer (that's what the tea party is all about), but maybe in 2016, they'll have realized that it's not.
I have serious doubts that an opportunity as good as this will come around again for them. With Obama's supporters disappointed by the bad economy and slow progress on important programs, they might have had a real shot here, but ultimately decided to play too much to their core base instead of appealing to groups that don't traditionally vote republican. When the economy recovers (which it will regardless of who is in charge), then the effects of the changed demographics will be felt in full force.
Now Obama and Team Blue are going to score points on Immigration, the economy will probably get better, troops are out of Afghanistan and Iraq for the most part, and Obamacare kicks in so more people will have access to healthcare.
Plus they'll probably address student loan debt and stuff.....Team Blue has the chance to really get in good with the biggest voter blocks that do not include white religious zealots.