Archive for the ‘jill lawrence’ Tag

meet john thune

Most who follow elections closely remember John Thune defeating then Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle in 2004. However, since then Thune has somewhat flown under the radar.

Although he has not been as outspoken as some elected officials Thune has been a strong conservative. In 2009 (2010 ratings are not out yet) the American Conservative Union gave him a perfect rating. Only 10 Senators received the perfect rating, one of those being conservative rock star Jim DeMint.

I was honored to listen to Senator Thune speak at the 2009 Knox County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner. This was the first time I had heard him speak and I was very impressed. Initially what stands out about Thune is his appearance. First off he is 6′ 4” and  John McCain even jokingly said that if he had his face he would be president right now. But the best aspect of Thune is that he has substance to what he says. He comes across as intelligent but it’s not an elitist vernacular. Rather it is a confidence in American values that he exudes while speaking that make it easy to understand where he is coming from and where he stands.

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks wrote a piece in 2009 about Thune and even he was impressed saying,

He says his prairie background has given him a preference for small companies and local government. When he criticizes the Democrats, it is for mixing big government with big business: the bailouts of Wall Street, the subsidies to the big auto and energy corporations. His populism is not angry. He doesn’t rail against the malefactors of wealth. But it’s there, a celebration of the small and local over the big and urban.

Senator Thune has recently been picking up momentum in the national media. Last week ABC News did a profile on his chances in 2012, and Jill Lawrence wrote an excellent piece on the Senator from South Dakota just a few days ago where she mentioned that he might be a great presidential candidate because of what he has NOT done.

He wasn’t once a tobacco lobbyist (Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour). He isn’t a former governor who raised taxes (Mike Huckabee of Arkansas) or signed a health law similar to “Obamacare” (Mitt Romney of Massachusetts) or quit halfway through (Sarah Palin of Alaska) or seems boring (Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota). He hasn’t had three wives and a widely publicized extramarital affair (former House speaker Newt Gingrich).

A big question I have about Thune is whether he will have enough money to be a serious contender or not. Right now it is too early to tell but I think there are some encouraging early signs. In the 2010 year-end fundraising period he came in tied for fourth in total money raised. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Rick Santorum were all ahead of him and he was tied with Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). I find this very interesting because all of these other potential candidates have been unofficially running and speaking in early primary states. Also, the three ahead of Thune do not currently hold a political office. Although Thune is fourth his numbers are far lower than the three above him, but I believe if he were trying to raise a great deal of money than his numbers would be competitive with Romney, Palin, and Santorum.

According to Lawrence’s article he will decide on whether to run or not by the end of February. I for one hopes he decides to take the plunge.