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Dec. 9 2009 - 10:57 am | 566 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

John Thune for President?

Thune

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is not on a lot of people’s lists of presidential contenders. His name doesn’t show up in many straw polls of the GOP faithful. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be the guy who takes down Obama (or Hillary) in 2012.

Back in our November 13, 2009 podcast I made the bold prediction that John Thune would be the next president of the United States. You can hear it, along with Clyde Middleton’s and my discussion in the podcast starting at about the 28:38 minute mark.

David Brooks at the New York Times thinks there may be big things in Thune’s future. And over at CQ Politics, they are thinking along the same lines.

While most of the 2012 GOP presidential buzz is focused on a group of former and soon-to-be former governors, Sen. John Thune is increasingly being viewed as the Capitol’s most likely White House contender.

The telegenic first-term senator’s national profile is no doubt on the rise — as evidenced by the South Carolina Republican’s increased leadership role this Congress and extensive fundraising for his non-competitive re-election race next year. . . .

When asked about any presidential aspirations, Thune said he was only focused on his re-election campaign — even though he has not attracted a single Democratic opponent so far. But he has undoubtedly been more vocal and visible in recent weeks, appearing with some regularity on cable news shows and playing a key role in presenting the GOP response to Democrats’ health care legislation through his role as Republican Policy Committee chairman.

Indeed, Sen. Thune has been very visible. We interviewed him yesterday in a blogger conference call (and yes, he was asked if he is running for president) to talk about the health care bill in the Senate. Audio of the call is here. It runs just under 29 minutes.

We also interviewed him back on October 21, 2009 (audio at the link) when he laid out what he thought would be Reid’s strategy to get the ObamaCare bill through the Senate. He predicted that the public option would not survive, and as we learned last night, he was proven correct.

Now it can’t hurt any presidential aspirations he may be harboring to keep conservative bloggers in the loop, but as you listen to him speak, he’s also very different from the 2008 GOP aspirants like Huckabee, Romney, and even Palin. He is a new face to most of the public and his common sense conservatism and disarming congeniality may very well make him a good bet to win the White House.


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  1. collapse expand

    I like John Thune, and especially since he brought down Tom Daschle. I hope he does run for President in 2012. I think that he would have a great chance of beating Obama in the election.

  2. collapse expand

    I think the same blank slate-ish character that helped elevate President Obama so quickly into the public conversation could be good for a candidate like Thune. While he certainly has a Senate record that can be dug deeply into, he hasn’t really been a central figure in the national reality TV show that our nation’s politics has devolved into since the former producers of ‘Big Brother’ and ‘The Greatest Race’ took over the CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC control rooms in 2008.

    But I think the real question will be whether or not he excites the GOP base. Once the Democrats switch their turn-out machine back on in ‘12 (and it remains to be seen whether they’ll be wise enough to activate it in for all the critical races in ‘10), the GOP is going to have to play like Rove did in 2004 turning out every voter in Republican-leaning districts of purple states that they could. Having a candidate that doesn’t offend some members of the base won’t be enough to make that happen – it’s gotta be someone who inspires people to inspire other people to vote.

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    About Me

    I am a lawyer afflicted with a consuming desire to analyze and debate politics.

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    Contributor Since: September 2009
    Location:Virginia