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Analysis: Why Jon Huntsman Jr. may be running for president

So Jon Huntsman Jr. may be planning to resign his ambassadorship to China in order to begin running for president later this year.

But why?

First of all, some speculate Huntsman is going to run for president because he can. He holds sufficient gravitas for a presidential run because his résumé is already political gold in light of its exceptionally rare combination of gubernatorial leadership and extensive foreign diplomacy.

Secondly, Huntsman has nothing to lose. Given his father's billionaire status, the former Utah governor's financial security is ensured regardless of what comes next. Just listen to what Bud Scruggs, president of Huntsman Financial Corp., told the Deseret News this morning: "When I was talking to (Huntsman) in December, he was talking about midsummer … about making decisions generally." Who do you know that, 16 months into the biggest job of his life, is already thinking about quitting? The ambitious man with nothing to lose.

In politics and trapeze artistry, timing is everything. And that's ultimately the biggest reason Huntsman is likely going to run — the field will never be riper for a moderate Republican like Huntsman to become president than it is right now. Would tea partiers prefer a dyed-in-the-wool conservative to Huntsman? (Cough, Huckabee, cough.) Of course they would.

But does Huckabee have an ice cube's chance in Dubai of beating Barrack Obama? No way, because it's inconceivable to think that the former Arkansas governor would win over many independents or moderate Democrats. Because he's environmentally friendly and a social moderate, Huntsman's biggest selling point is this: he's the Republican who can win the proverbial swing vote, and so he's the Republican who can take down Obama.