And he took more than a few shots at incumbent U.S. Congress members, clearly saying that members of both political parties just weren’t doing a good job, and in fact had run the country off the road.
In a bit of a quirky draw of luck, Utah Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Scott Howell got picked out of some 50,000 listeners to exchange a few questions and compliments with Huntsman.
The men fell into a love fest that won’t win Huntsman any points with either Sen. Orrin Hatch or his GOP challenger, Dan Liljenquist, toward general election time. (Who will be up against Howell will be decided in a June 26 closed GOP primary election.)
Huntsman, who is splitting his time between his Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City homes, was on the nonpartisan website NoLabels.com.
The group is dedicated to getting Congress off its collective butt, work toward a balanced federal budget.
One of its current efforts is to get a bill passed in Congress that would stop salary payments to the 535 U.S. House and Senate members if they don’t pass a budget within a certain time frame each year.
As Huntsman pointed out, Congress is now going on three years without adopting a new budget, just working of what is called continuing resolutions.
Because of the crush of folks who signed up for the call, UtahPolicy didn’t get connected until about halfway through the half-hour question and answer period.
Still, Huntsman’s comments were interesting, and perhaps a bit more non-Republican in nature than those made while he was seeking the GOP presidential nomination earlier this year.
(Huntsman, despite getting good media attention, dropped out after he finished back in the pack in the New Hampshire primary.)
Huntsman agreed with Howell that Congress must pass the Simpson/Bowles budget recommendations, which include tax reform, budget cuts and a number of other ideas that came out of the special presidential commission that studied America’s most pressing financial problems.
Huntsman said that while Simpson/Bowles is not perfect, and that pure-bred Republicans and Democrats both have problems with it, the bipartisan blueprint is the nation’s best hope of moving the country and economy forward.
Whether Republican Mitt Romney or Democratic President Barack Obama are elected this November, the new president should “move” to Capitol Hill and personally work S/B through the House and Senate.
The compromise is a “twofer,” said Huntsman: First, it is tax reform, doing away with hundreds of special tax loopholes that, once closed, will help bring in more revenue to the nation, and, secondly, once that is done there won’t be the need for the high-pressure lobbyists in Washington, nor their big-money campaign contributions.
Huntsman said many Americans, especially younger voters, are turned off by our national politics.
They no longer believe their votes count, that special interests rule the day in Congress.
Congress has gotten terribly off track (again, a slam on incumbents), said Huntsman.
Over the next few years, the president, no matter who that may be, must work with Congress – force Congress, if need be – to get the country back on it’s feet, Huntsman said.
Before he got off the line, Howell even asked listeners to get on his campaign homepage – reading out the “votehowell.org” URL -- to “see what I stand for,” which, the candidate said, is a lot what Huntsman stands for.