John Thune Won't Run for President

John Thune Won't Run for President

John Thune Won't Run for President

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 22 2011 12:07 PM

John Thune Won't Run for President

He announces the non-announcement on his campaign site:

There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now. So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post. 

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The Thune boom never made a ton of sense to me. Being a conservative pragmatist in Congress means compromising occasionally. Thune, like Rep. Paul Ryan, voted for TARP, and he voted for the 2010 tax deal that a smaller number of conservatives opposed. Had he run, he would have been, likely, the only candidate who'd voted for TARP . And ask Bob Bennett about how easy it is to defend that vote in front of Republicans.

So what was the argument for a Thune bid? I think David Brooks was the first to make it .

He says his prairie background has given him a preference for small companies and local government. When he criticizes the Democrats, it is for mixing big government with big business: the bailouts of Wall Street,* the subsidies to the big auto and energy corporations. His populism is not angry. He doesn’t rail against the malefactors of wealth. But it’s there, a celebration of the small and local over the big and urban.

Republican pros are attracted to Thune because he could rally the hard-core conservatives without scaring away the suburbanites. His weakness is that he’s never really worked outside of government, and he’s almost never shown a maverick side.

David Frum's case for Thune from last week was both more bland and more compelling -- if the GOP wanted a "generic" candidate to oppose Obama, it couldn't do better. But Thune's sticking around the Senate, and the search for the Blandest Candidate goes on.

*Yeah, I don't know why Brooks let that slide.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.