Ezra Klein muses that Jon Huntsman's tenure as Obama's ambassador to China gives him an "unexpected political advantag[e]" by boosting his foreign policy cred. He's not wrong. But it's not a testament to any real strength by Huntsman. It's a testament to how little foreign policy experience this crop of GOP presidential contenders actually has. No veterans. The closest thing you get to a candidate with any sort of foreign policy profile is... Newt Gingrich. What are these guys, Democrats? If this is an unintended consequence from Obama, it's probably not keeping him up nights.
I don't mean to disrespect Huntsman, whom by all accounts was an able ambassador. But think about that for a second. When was the last time a diplomat held political sway, especially on the GOP side? You have to go back to Kissinger. I guess you could say Ryan Crocker, but his prestige is largely a derivative of David Petraeus' blessing, and all of that is still really inside baseball. Gingrich once proposed sacking diplomats for the crime of diplomacy. Mitt Romney's ludicrous book lazily proposed giving their jobs to the combatant commands. Huntsman's candidacy has the feel of Henry Cabot Lodge returning from Saigon to save the GOP from Barry Goldwater. And that was kind of absurd then.