Macchiavellian Olive Branch

I have to say I have nothing but admiration for the President’s choice of a Republican, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China. Just as he brought in his chief Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, now he brings Huntsman, the national campaign manager of his Republican opponent Sen. John McCain, to serve in just about the most important diplomatic post I can think of, as China is not merely (1) the most populous nation on Earth with (2) the fastest growing economy, but it also (3) props up our economy by continuing to buy up our debt through the massive trade surplus it runs against us, and it is also (4) our major strategic geo-political rival, not so much in a Cold War sense, but in the sense of China being so much more rational and intelligent in its resource acquisition arrangements compared to us (and (5) that Taiwan thing).
But the President is not merely handing that portfolio to a Republican: he is handing it to a reasonably moderate Republican who was touted by some as the likely strongest Presidential candidate the Republicans might have had in 2012. And Huntsman is actually a good choice anyway! He’s served in diplomatic posts before, and he learned Mandarin Chinese while on a Mormon diplomatic mission.
The Republicans’ second-best Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is also a Mormon, and would obviously carry Utah should it come to that, but even he would find it hard to argue with some of Obama’s personnel choices (like this one!)
As I continue to chide the President’s policies in his inexplicable decision to continue the Bush Administration’s policies in such areas as state secrets, adherence to the rule of law, investigating torturers and the like, we must give the President his due in other areas, such as atmospherics, co-opting likely rivals, his cancellation of the “reliable replacement” nuclear warhead program that might (I don’t expect it to, but it might) dramatically alter America’s commitment to being capable of obliterating the rest of the planet, and social spending (which I’m supposed to like, I suppose).
The President is a careful man: that’s how he got to where he is, by not engaging in the kind of dramatic “change” he seemed to be campaigning for; let’s face it– if he weren’t, he wouldn’t have gotten this far. Watch what we do, not what we say. “Change” (IF ANY) will be incremental. At least we have a smarter cookie in charge than we have had recently; the selection of Huntsman sure shows that. This has been “Macchiavellian Olive Branch.”