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You don't get the Republican nomination by being a moderate Reoublican. Given that the primary process runs first through Conservative NH (Republican side) and then takes a trip to the South, about the last thing you would do is endorse same sex marriage if you want to get more than 12 votes.

I'm guessing it's just the opposite. He has realized that he has no chance of higher elected office and has decided to do the right thing, since he is "sane", by any definition except the that of the rabid right.

He knows he has no chance of being elected in the current GOP... but, there is a non-zero chance that the GOP will schism, particularly if 2014 goes poorly for them. The Tea Party is pissed about being 'put in their room' and may not suffer the indignity and split off. It would not be a trivial split off, possibly being as much as 20% of the electorate, about 50% of the Republican party. But, the Democratic Party wouldn't come out inscathed. The New GOP would be able to justifiably advertise itself as 'Free of Tea'. so, that 20% of the electorate would gain about about 10 to 15% from the Democrats to become a substantial second party. It would make the Democratic party actually a Liberal party (though not quite as far to the left as the Tea Party would be to the right).

That New GOP would be a genuine centrist party where Huntsman would fit quite nicely, possibly be a luminary.

It all depends on if the Tea Party can get control of enough state level offices in the schism to ensure such easy ballot access as the Democrats and Republicans have enjoyed for generations. If so, we are possibly seeing the emergence of a period of three party rule.
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