Within the powers that be in the Republican Party, John Thune is considered one of the front runners for the 2012 Republican nomination for the presidency. This is also true among many political pundits. However, many people in the general population do not know who he is or even where he comes from. If you are among those many, hopefully, this article will introduce you to this young and powerful, charismatic leader.
John Thune is the junior Senator from South Dakota. He grew up in the town of Murdo, South Dakota, which has a population well under 1,000. For a detailed looked at his biography, you can find it on his official Senate web site by clicking here: Senator John Thune.
The Washington Post published an article about Thune on September 27, 2010 entitled, John Thune, The Republican Obama? In that article, the author, Chris Cillizza, makes the point that Thune is a charismatic leader along the lines of the current President. He wonders whether the Republican Party will nominate someone of this ilk or will they go for the opposite side of the coin. Those being either Govs. Mitch Daniels (Ind.), Haley Barbour (Miss.) or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. (He puts Mitt Romney into the same category as Thune).
It is my personal opinion that Sarah Palin is, for the most part, out of the running; if not officially, then unofficially. She is quickly becoming the Republican Hillary Clinton in that there is almost as many people who like her as there is who dislike her. And, from what I’ve seen, those that dislike her, dislike her immensely. As for Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour, there is just not enough known about them to make the race competitive.
And, I’m sure that is what a lot of you are saying now about John Thune. “I just don’t know who he is.” But, there is one major difference between Thune and the likes of Daniels and Barbour. Neither one of them beat one of the most powerful Senators in Washington to get elected: John Thune did.
Thune was elected to his first term to the United States Senate in November, 2004. His opponent was the extremely powerful and popular Tom Daschle. At the time of Daschle’s stunning defeat, he was the Senate Majority Leader. You cannot get much more powerful than that. Defeating Dashle by Thune is the equivalent of Sharon Angle defeating Harry Reid in the past election cycle. Actually it is more stunning. Harry Reid was seen as vulnerable this time around. When Thune defeated Daschle, nobody thought Dashcle would lose.
Thune is so well loved in South Dakota right now he ran unapposed in 2010 for reelection. This is only the third time a Republican has run without competition since the Senate went to direct elections about 100 years ago. The Democrats would not even waste the time or energy to challenge him.
Another great article about Thune’s chances in the Presidential election was done by The Weekly Standard in October of 2010. The Article entitled Dakota Dreaming is by Stephen F. Hayes. In that article, Hayes describes his travels with Thune over the course of approximately three months. He give an in depth analysis of Thune’s background and positions on various issues should Thune officially declare himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. I will no go into detail on Thune’s positions here as they are very well set forth in the article. However, I will state that according to Hayes, Thune believes the National Debt is the greatest threat to the country right now; not Al Queda or anything else.
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer during the 2010 campaign, Blitzer asked Thune if he was a member of the Tea Party. Thune responded as follows:
I don’t know what it means to be a part of it. I certainly agree with most of the things they are for. I think they bring great energy to our party and to our candidates. And I think that the things they want to see accomplished are things we agree upon. Yes, I agree with them on — maybe not on every policy position but certainly most.
Thune has also been quoted as saying that if the Republican Party does not live up to its promises in the 2010 election cycle, he believes that the Tea Party could separate and form a third party as early as 2012. He does not believe they see themselves as part of any party. Instead, he feels that they are very independent. See e.g., The Hill.
One thing is for certain, whoever does run in 2012 will need to have some deep pockets. Romney will have no trouble financing his own candidacy. Sarah Palin will definitely be well heeled. But, what about Thune? Will he be able to raise the funds necessary to mount a credible campaign. This question remains unanswered. But, it should be noted that when he beat Daschle, he raised approximately 14.5 million dollars. And, it didn’t all come from within the borders of South Dakota. It was raised nationally.
With President Obama already talking about his one billion dollar campaign for re-election, will any Republican or even Obama, for that matter, be able to raise that kind of money? From what I’ve seen and from what I’ve been told from Republican insiders, Thune will be able to raise what is necessary to be competitive.
I hope you now have a broader idea of Senator Thune. At this point, he is my top choice for the election. In the coming months, we will venture to give ample space to all of the potential candidates in hopes that our readers can be part of an informed electorate.
© 2011 by Frank T. DeMartini. Permission to copy will be freely granted upon request.