Jon Huntsman’s post-campaign projects

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The ad No Labels placed in the Jan. 26, 2014 New York Times, signed by Jon Huntsman. (Courtesy No Labels)
The ad No Labels placed in the Jan. 26, 2014 New York Times, signed by Jon Huntsman. (Courtesy No Labels)

A large ad in the “New York Times” on Jan. 26 featured a letter (seen right) from the No Labels nonprofit signed by Honorary Co-Chair Jon Huntsman that gives insight into one thing the former contender for the Republican presidential nomination has been doing since the election.

No Labels was organized in 2010 to encourage problem solving among members of Congress by creating a bipartisan action plan and voting bloc.

“Time and time again, we have heard our leaders say they want to ‘unite, not divide’ — but no one has ever told us how they will do it. This is the how; come to the table with your opposition, first agree on goals, and then move on to debate and policymaking,” the letter said.

No Labels intends to get lawmakers to focus more on collaboration than partisan fighting, and a CBS affiliate in Philadelphia reported that about 80 members of Congress wore the group’s orange pin at the last State of the Union address.

Huntsman described why he supports No Labels in a Q&A video on the site.

“The whole system is fundamentally constructed around division,” Huntsman said, then later in the video added, “Having a Problem Solvers bloc in Congress is exactly the first step to take.”

The group has its critics and charges of irrelevancy. Gene Healy of the “Washington Examiner” recently compared the group to Congress’ version of a “middle-school ‘No Putdowns’ campaign.”

“It’s easy to make fun of No Labels; but it’s also important, because their empty pieties offer no real alternative to business as usual,” Healy wrote.

“New York Times” writer Frank Rich criticized the group in 2010, when it debuted, in an op-ed column called “The Bipartisan Racket” that covered issues like membership demographics, naivety, and other things.

“Yet what’s most disturbing about No Labels is that its centrist, no doubt well-intentioned leaders seem utterly clueless about why Americans of all labels are angry: the realization that both parties are bought off by special interests who game the system and stack it against the rest of us,” Rich wrote.

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