Monday, February 21, 2011

The Irony of John Thune

John Thune is struggling with the heady decision of whether to run for President. He ran against Daschle with the platform that SD no longer had someone representing them that stood for SD instead of the national agenda. He won on that platform.

I knew John Thune when he was the Executive Director of the SD Municipal League. He was impressive, likeable and spoke with intelligence, conviction and spirit.  I was not surprised when he ran for Congress. Running for a national political office seemed to be his destiny. I supported him back then. I believed his conviction was to serve the people of South Dakota. I believed he would serve this state well as the lone SD representative in the House. I hoped he would run for governor. But then he got suckered in by the big guns to take out Daschle. Not because it was good or bad for South Dakota, but because it was good for national politics.

Washington, D.C. seems to be a place where people with convictions seem to lose their perspective. He has stood behind the Republican leaders at press conferences. He has linked himself to the conservative right wing of the party and he has adopted the Republican mantra. OK, he is a Republican, no surprise. The problem  is that I don't see the John Thune I knew and respected anymore. I don't see the man who was his own man with his own thoughts and convictions.  He started losing my support when I no longer felt he was thinking for himself and SD. And now, he talks of running for President. It feels like the ultimate betrayal to me.

He certainly has the superficial things that people like to lob onto when looking for a presidential contender. He has good looks, he loves sports, he has a beautiful and supportive family, no scandals that we know of, a nice guy who speaks well, an all-american picture perfect candidate. It's a mirror with nothing behind it, I am sad to say.

How is running for President the SD agenda that he ran on when he defeated Daschle? He couldn't even deliver the final funding for the Lewis and Clark Water Project. The motivation for running for President should be more than just taking out President Obama. It should be about solving the pressing problems of the economy and the federal budget and the disturbing foreign affairs swirling around us. These are troubled and scary times. We need someone who is more than smoke and screen and whose only agenda is to take out Obama.

I think Senator Richard Luger, R-Ind. sums it up when he was quoted saying that Thune acts "with grace and diplomacy," but he has not made a leadership mark on any policy issue."

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