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Paul Rolly: Dream ticket for 2016? Maybe Clinton-Huntsman
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Joedy Lister is a Salt Lake City resident who, like many, was appalled at the dysfunctional polarization in Washington, D.C., that led to a damaging government shutdown and a near default on the nation's debt obligations.

So he has opened a Facebook page called Hillary/Huntsman-2016.

He hasn't contacted anyone from the Hillary Clinton or Jon Huntsman Jr. camps. They probably don't know him or his Facebook page.

And the page so far only has 17 likes.

But it's a start.

Lister, a planner and producer of corporate events, may be overly optimistic that his hardly viewed Facebook page will encourage former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former Utah governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. to form a bipartisan presidential ticket in 2016.

But there seems to be other forces at work to make such a union attractive.

While Clinton is the odds-on favorite to get the Democratic nod if she runs, Huntsman, who sought the Republican nomination in 2012, has been making a name for himself as a bipartisan moderate by co-chairing — with former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana — the "No Labels" movement that is attracting the attention of the nation's huge political center.

So far, 85 U.S. House and Senate members have signed on to No Labels, which has a counter-message to the extremist tea party movement that has stymied productive policy initiatives in Washington.

No Labels, with Huntsman and Bayh as its two national faces, is promoting 12 ways to make Congress work, including reforming the filibuster system, requiring an up or down vote on presidential appointments and suspending congressional pay if lawmakers can't pass a budget.

The movement, which is designed to force Democrats and Republicans to work together, seems to fit snugly with the wishes of the U.S. majority.

A recent Esquire-NBC News survey found that 51 percent of Americans share the same views on many divisive issues.

"The new American center has a socially progressive streak, supporting gay marriage (64 percent), the right to an abortion for any reason within the first trimester (63 percent) and legalized marijuana (52 percent)," wrote Tony Dokoupil, senior staff writer for NBC News. Big majorities also support paid sick leave (62 percent), paid maternity leave (70 percent), tax-subsidized child care (57 percent) and a federal minimum wage hike to at least $10 per hour (57 percent).

But majorities also side with traditional conservatives on such issues as offshore drilling (81 percent), the death penalty (64 percent) and the end of affirmative action in hiring and education (57 percent). And just one in four supports immigration reform that would include paths to citizenship.

Huntsman could get no traction in the tea party-mired Republican runoffs in 2012. But the moderate Republican, who has urged bipartisan cooperation, could find a home on a Democratic presidential ticket, where he could tout as an asset his traditional GOP values.

prolly@sltrib.com

Column • Utahn touts these bipartisan running mates on Facebook page.
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