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Senator  John Thune (R-SD) has just finished telling the National Journal that he is “not ready to fully debate” whether or not to mount a presidential bid. But you will all be relieved to learn he will decide “sometime early next year”. But first he’s got to talk to his family. Oh yuk, pass me a sick bag. Even for American politics this is too sweet and coy. Honestly do you really ever want a serious politician to be someone who has to run every major decision past a five year old kid or his Aunty Marg? Why do we all fall for this schlock? Why do we let them talk to us like we were thick, or live in Disneyworld?

 But if he seriously wants 2012 he’d better be getting a move on.

Not that the boy from South Dakota doesn’t have form. He knocked out Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004, so he can do the high profile campaign.

He shows some promise. As Looneythune.com says he’s positioning himself as a conservative on economics and thus against Romney. Despite having worked quite happily in Washington these last six years now, suddenly, he has undergone a Damascene experience to attack Big Government. Who is responsible for the unemployment you feel in your neck of the woods? Yes exactly, Washington. Still as he says it was an act that never hurt Ronnie Reagan or Bill Clinton.

You see Thune is not entirely deserving of being called “LooneyThune” by his detractors. He has realised something others only dimly glimpse. He sees that the Tea Party does not want to be a third force in American politics. Sarah Palin (thank God) does not see herself as a latter day Ross Perot. They know they don’t have the structure, or organisation, or time to do that so they are trying instead to take over the Grand Old Party like a cuckoo in the nest. And Thune is making sure he is not getting in the way of Palin.

For further deeper analysis on all things Thune you should head to the site www.looneythune and the excellent article on “Shoring up support” from which the above is largely drawn. ( I take the opportunity of apologising for not making that clear in a previous version of the post).

Does he have any chance? No not really. Not a hope actually. He has no oligarchical background. His ancestors were Norwegian immigrants and he never went east to be educated. He isn’t a member of any of the good clubs which means he doesn’t have the contacts and mates, and South Dakota is very much a fly-over state.

And he is a Senator. Senators just don’t make it. The ideal candidate is male, gentile, white and Protestant from a large split state. He nearly always is a Governor rather than from Congress. This is down to some simple rules. Governors have patronage, and their deficiencies are not noticed outside their sphere of influence, so they can appear reasonable and fair-minded, or pliable and uncommitted, depending how sour you are feeling. Senators are already known, and to some extent the public have made up their minds. Senators have given up their hostages. We know their position on this or that already. Only three Senators made it in the twentieth century, and two were no great success. Kennedy was struck down before a proper assessment might be made, Harding was the last man standing when he was dragged from the bottom of the heap and was as banal as he was weak. Truman was foisted onto Roosevelt as a compromise Vice President to mollify a Convention who didn’t trust his first choice. Death, not Convention crowned Truman.

Obama in the twenty-first century was hardly in the Senate door before he was elected. And the jury is still out on that one!

Copyright David Macadam 2010

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