Family Support

We'll Miss the Hunstman Daughters the Most

His daughters, that’s what. Michelle Cottle on what the ex-governor’s offspring did for his campaign.

Phelan Ebenehack / Reuters

Today is a sad day in the 2012 presidential primary. Perhaps the saddest day so far.

At 11:00 this morning, at the Myrtle Beach convention center, Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the hunt and throwing his endorsement to the Mittster.

While the usual pack of reporters, staff members, and maybe even a few supporters will be on hand to see the governor off, no one will really much care.

Not that Huntsman isn’t a lovely person, and there is every reason to believe he could make a fine presidential candidate one day. Just not today. Or anytime this cycle, for that matter. Third in New Hampshire after all that work and money and all those one-liners? Clearly he lacks some fundamental spark necessary to get voters fired up.

His daughters, on the other hand …

How much drabber, duller, and more tedious this race will be without those daffy Huntsman girls. With their YouTube videos, song parodies, and television sitdowns, the trio of comely 20-somethings—Mary Anne, Abby, and Liddy—had the perfect sensibility for modern politics: sharp, ironic, and just a touch subversive. They knew how to call bullshit on something as cornball as Herman Cain’s smoking-man ad without being moralistic or heavyhanded or scolding. Fake mustaches and bubble wands—what could be more perfect?

Word around the political campfire was that the girls were too unpredictable (read: uncontrollable) to suit the Huntsman campaign staff. Thank God. Otherwise, the daughters would have made exactly as much of an impact as the rest of the campaign—which was precisely zero. Without the girls, Dad couldn’t have bought himself any media attention, old or new.

As it was, after becoming social-media sensations, Mary Anne, Abby, and Liddy became the darlings of the traditional media, sitting down to charm everyone from Bob Schieffer to Greta Van Susteren to our own Lloyd Grove. And who can forget Wolf Blitzer getting all Yenta-ish and creepy with quizzing the daughters about which ones were “available”?

Ah, good times.

But all good things must come to an end. And while, for most of America, Huntsman’s candidacy never reached the level of a good thing—or even a thing—the loss of his trio of filial advocates will be sorely felt.

At least until some shrewd Fox News exec gives them their own show.