Friday, November 28, 2008

Profile: John Thune in 2012

Contender: South Dakota Senator John Thune

Official Site

Wikipedia Page

Why he's important: Took Tom Daschle out of the Senate in 2004. Think that's easy? Try this on for size. That represented the first time a Senate Majority or Minority leader has lost his seat since 1952.

Ideology: To the right. Received a 100% rating on Pro-Life issues by the NRLC, voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage and end gay adoptions in D.C., contributing to his 0% score on gay rights by the Human Rights Campaign.

On education, he has consistently opposed more federal intervention, while supporting a constitutional-amendment for school prayer, and vouchers in DC schools.

He supports most free-trade agreements, and has voted for Fast Track authority executing those agreements. One free-trade agreement he opposed was CAFTA.

Thune's a strong proponent of gun rights, voting to prohibit lawsuits against gun manufacturers and and allow firearms in national parks. He's been awarded an "A" by the NRA for his efforts.

Immigration activists will like his opposition to sactuary cities and comprehensive immigration reform. Thune has

Overall, Thune botes with the Republican party 91% of the time. The American Conservative Union awarded him a rating of "100" in 2006 and a lifetime rating of 87.07%.

[for more, see On the Issues, John Thune]

Why he can win: Movie-star good lucks, and not in a patrician, Romneyian way. The base will love his socially conservative views, and the Left will have difficulty defining him as a flame-thrower, thanks to a reputation for steady, effective leadership in the Senate.

Official GOP leadership has taken note, and Thune was recently promoted to chief deputy whip. Since then, he's been tasked with building the party's outreach to K Street hands, a role that will foster important connections and provide a measure of his ability to bring diverse audiences together.

Finally, Thune holds the potential to pull off what many GOP candidates are unable to -- unite warring factions within the party. Roll Call claims Thune "is a pragmatic conservative who will be able to appeal to a wide array of GOP-leaning interests from economic conservatives to 'values voters' and military hard-liners."

And he's eloquent.

Why he can't win: Despite his moderate rhetoric and temperament, Thune remains susceptible to far right stereotypes. He attended a private, Christian university, and is an evangelical Christian who believes in creationism. He also discussed the war in Iraq's potential benefits for Christianity's advance in that country, which may lead the Left to scream "Holy Warrior!"

Thune doesn't come from a GOP power base. South Dakota is South Dakota. It's not Florida, where Charlie Crist resides, or your living room, where Mike Huckabee lives, or wherever the hell Mitt Romney is these days.

He's a dark horse right now -- the question is whether he's too dark to gain traction by 2012.

Will he be able to raise the money to raise the name rec?

For more GOP 12 Candidate Profiles...

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Florida Governor Charlie Crist
Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
Former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

More coming soon...