Senator John Thune Tops “The Herd” of White House 2012’s Potential Vice Presidential Picks for Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today, in it’s final installation of the series, White House 2012 offers a look at Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Born: January 7,1961(age 49), Murdo, South Dakota

Spouse(s): Kimberly Thune

Children : Brittany and Larissa

Residence : Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Alma mater: Biola University

Religion: Evangelical Christian

` Political Career :

  • Served as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Abdnor.
  • Was an appointee of President Ronald Reagan to the Small Business Administration.
  • Was appointed Railroad Director of South Dakota by Governor George S. Mickelson and served from 1991 to 1993.
  • From 1993 and 1996, he worked as a member of the South Dakota Municipal League.
  • In 1996, Thune was elected to South Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won reelection in 1998 and in 2000 was reelected with over 70% of the vote. Thune supported term limits and promised to serve no more than three terms in the House.
  • Keeping his pledge, Thune instead ran for the United States Senate, challenging Senator Tim Johnson in 2002. Democrat ran scandal which saw Party officials pay for on Indian reservations placed the results of the election in doubt. But Thune decided not to mount a legal challenge by filing any objections and accepting a questionable and close loss by 524 votes (0.15%).
  • Between 2002 and 2004 Thune worked as a lobbyist for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad.
  • In 2004, he again ran for the Senate, this time challenging incumbent Tom Daschle, at the time the United States Senate Minority Leader and leader of the Senate Democrats. It is rare for for the Party’s legislative leaders to lose an election but after overcoming Daschle’s early 7 point lead, Thune defeated Daschle by 4,508 votes.

John Thune sits on the following committees:

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Thune is an attractive, young, conservative with heartland values that would be a big help to a candidate like Mitt Romney.  Yes, I know we have had seemingly similar people who fit that same description, but John Thune is no Dan Quayle.  The only drawback in picking Thune is the fact that South Dakota is going to go Republican in the presidential election no matter what and even if the G.O.P. did not have a lock on South Dakota, the benefit that comes with the advantage of Thune being that state’s favorite son is a miniscule 3 electoral votes.

But if the basis for chosing a vice presidential running mate is that of someone who he is capable of being President at a moment’s notice, than there is no reason for a Republican not pick Thune.  He is a solid conservative, not perfect, but solid, and he is well spoken, levelheaded, quite friendly, knowledgable on the issues and his legislative record is one which is rich in common sense solutions that most conservatives and common sense Americans would find quite appealing.   Add to that the regional appeal that Thune has and what you have is someone who is an almost perfect vice presidential nominee.

Part of the importance of Thune’s Midwest appeal is the neighboring swing state of Iowa, a state President Obama won in 2008.

In 2012, John Thune is much more popular among Iowa voters than is the President.  It is a fact that the Romney campaign used quite well after Thune became an early supporter of Mitt Romney and began campaigning with Romney in Iowa during the state’s presidential caucus.  Thune’s regional appeal could help make two typically solid blue states, Minnesota and even Wisconsin, far more competitive than they might be without Thune on the ticket.

Aside from the possible effects that John Thune could have on the electoral college, the two term conservative Senator meets all the basic criteria that Mitt Romney seeks.  Most important is Romney’s level of comfort in his running mate.  Like Romney, John Thune is firm, methodical, deliberative, not abbrassaive, and non-controversial.    This makes Thune a a safe choice for Romney among the conservative base that still doubts the depth of Romney’s committment to the conservative ideology.  Yet at the same time, John Thune lacks the ire of the left that would make him the type of lightning rod for their hatred that others such as Chris Christie or Michelle Bachmann would be.  That lack of hatred which is often exhibited fby the left means that the addition of Thune to the G.O.P. ticket will not provide the left with the degree of motivation that would be required to use Thune as a distraction from the issues.

Thune is a productive legislative leader, and a bright youthful, inoffensive, consistently conservative consideration for Vice President and is certainly on Romney’s shortlistt.  In recent days, Senator Thune has admitted that he has met with Beth Meyers, the woman heading up Romney’s search for a running mate, but he has not confirmed whether or not the Romney campaign is still vetting him.

However; I maintain that because of Thune’s overall record, his personal attributes, the unlikely acceptance of other individuals who may be up for the job, and the circumstances confronting Romney in the existing political environment, I believe John Thune is probably the person most likely to be picked by Romney.  While he may not excite the ticket with a sense of history and diversity because of his color, gender or lack of a Hispanic background, all o which would help bolster the G.O.P.’s much needed support from various blocs of voting groups, he is a competent and reliable selection who can offer a degree of balance that Romney needs in order to keep together his conservative base, motivate fiscal conservatives, and still be able to compete for the pivotal independent votes that will be needed to win the presidency.

Thune was considered a possible presidential candidate and even gave the idea of running for president some serious thought of his own until he decided against it in late spring of 2011.   But running for Vice President is a different story, and if asked to run, I really don’t see Senator Thune refusing the nomination.  Being Romney’s running mate will be a no risk proposition for Thune that will produce high yields for his political future.  Having been reelected to the Senate in 2010, Thune will not have to give up his senate to run for Vice President and if a Romney-Thune ticket did happen to lose in 2012, Thune will continue to serve in  the Senate and he will do so as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.  That scenario dovetails quite well with Thune’s support for term limits.

When he served in the House of Representatives, Thune limited himself to three two year terms.  Now as a Senator, it is safe to say that he will limit himself to two six year terms.  As such, a run for President would be the perfect next step.  So for Thune, there is no reason to say “no” if asked to be Mitt Romney’s running mate

Thune is a productive legislative leader, who is youthful, bright, inoffensive, consistently conservative, and a good man in his own right.  Thune is certainly on Romney’s shortlist and if the nomination of the Vice President becomes contentious, John Thune would be the perfect compromise candidate.  And for all the right reasons.

Pros:

  • Thune is positioned well to attract independent voters
  • Can appeal to younger voters
  • Helps Romney in the Midwest, specifically Iowa, Minnesota, and possibly even Wisconsin
  • Thune has the capacity to be the articulate and credible attack dog that the G.O.P. will need on the ticket
  • Thune was a strong opponent of certain economic recovery and stimulus spending bills in 2008 and early 2009 and subsequently voted against many of those measures
  • Thune has played a leading role in formulating energy policy and was instrumental in passing a comprehensive energy bills in 2005 and 2007

Cons:

  • Although Thune now states he is disappointed in the way the money from the first  Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 was spent, Thune did vote for it
  • Thune may be vulnerable to attacks based upon distortions of his work as a lobbyist for for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
  • Thune does not help to guarantee Republicans that they will any of the electoral rich states like Ohio or Florida  that may be pivotal in the Electoral College.
  • Thune’s support for earmarks that went to South Dakota will be exploited by the left

Assessment:

Thune is one of the more relatively exciting safe choices that Romney can make.  He is a relatively young, fresh political face, with a fairly solid conservative record and he can help Romney appeal to independent voters and voters in several upper Midwest state that Romney could use help in.  Since 2011, I have felt that John Thune is Mitt Romney’s most likely choice for Vice President.  Thune is a perfect fit for Romney in the sense that Thune is a comfortable match for Romney.   With names like Rubio and Daniels supposedly out of the running because of their claims to not want the job, unless Romney is prepared to make a bold choice and pick a running mate that could be viewed as a game changer, I believe that Thune is more likely to picked by Romney than other so-called safe choices such as Ohio’s Rob Portman or Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.

While Pawlenty is a solid and safe choice, he has never been very popular and if his own campaign for the Republican presidential nomination proved anything, it is that voters couldn’t care less about him.  As for Rob Portman, his addition to the ticket does not necessarily guarantee that he will deliver Ohio to the the Republican ticket but it does help tie Romney to the Obama Administration because of Portman’s past position as the Director of the Office of management and Budget under Bush.  That combined with the longer history of accomplishment that Thune has over Portman in the Senate makes John Thune a vice presidential pick for Romney that has more potential and less baggage than Portman will.

Will Romney pick Thune?  I have no idea if that can be answered in the affirmative or the negative but I have a personal sense of things that tells me Romney is leaning towards making John Thune his running mate.

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Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Thune’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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Recent Key Votes

More Key Votes

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Thune On The Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Click here for John Thune’s Facebook Page

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Chris Christie Introduces the Establishment’s Fear of Gingrich In To the Presidential Race

Bookmark and Share   In a Sunday morning interview with NBC’s David Gregory, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to be doing his best to help establishment Republicans remain in the driving seat.  The interview with Christie consisted of a discussion about the results of South Carolina’s primary, which saw Christie’s prefered choice for President, Mitt Romney,  lose to Newt Gingrich. According to Christie those primary results  will not make that much of difference as the nomination battle rages.  According to the New Jersey Governor, one of the reason for that is because Newt Gingrich has “embarrassed” the Republican Party, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney never has.  He went on to claim that the former speaker just didn’t have the experience needed to be President.

But Christie’s remarks were based less on truth and more on an immediate need for Chris Christie to do his job as a surrogate for Romney and out of need for self-preservation.

Following Romney’s devastating loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Christie is apparently grabbing for straws as he searches for anything that he can throw at Newt and make stick.  But why?  What is the real reason behind Christie’s vitriol?

It is a simple fact that the establishment, or status quo,  of any institution naturally tries to preserve itself.  So it is only logical that in politics, the establishment of any Party will try to do the same.  It is the main reason why change, true change, is hard to come by in politics.  In the case of establishment Republicans, Newt Gingrich is the one realistic candidate remaining in the Republican nomination contest, who represents real change and as such, the establishment wing of the Party is not compelled to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy.  Going with Gingrich would cause them to risk losing the traditional perks that the system grants to the political powerbrokers and as an idea based reformer, Newt is a threat to the process, a process which is stacked against change.

But another political reality that the establishment is facing is the bigger electoral picture in 2012.

Establishment Republicans want not only to maintain the status quo of the political process, they want to increase their sphere of influence of that process.  That control comes about by increasing the number of Republicans who are elected to office……all elected offices.

When it comes to Chris Christie, that electoral concern is largely the main reason he came out and endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

While the focus right now is on the presidential race, in the next few months, elections for other offices will quickly consume some of that focus.  In 2012, control of the United States Senate is already beginning shape the presidential race and that is already playing out in New Jersey more than anywhere else in the nation.

Although there is little public interest in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, the top of the ticket will make all the difference between winning and losing for Republicans.

Incumbent liberal Senator Bob Menendez is up for reelection to his second full term in the Senate.  He was first appointed to fill the vacancy that was created by then Senator Jon Corzine, who in 2005, became Governor.  In 2006, Menendez was subsequently elected to his first full term in the Senate.

Currently, Menendez is in decent political standing among New Jersey voters.  According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, 45% of state voters believe to be re-elected while 38% believe otherwise.  And he beats a generic, unnamed Republican candidate by as much as 11%.

Typically, incumbents are in trouble if their reelect number are under 50%, but this is New Jersey, a state that brought Frank Lautenberg back to life, out of retirement and back in to the Senate where he does little more than keep his senate seast warm while he nods off in it. However, while the opportunity to pick Menendez off will be an uphill battle, the possibility does exist.  And therein lies Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney for President.

In a state as blue as New Jersey, Mitt Romney can do relatively well.  While Newt Gingrich’s description of Romney as a Massachusetts moderate may work against Mitt in Peioria where conservatives can’t find anything too favorable about either Massachusetts or moderates, in Trenton, both are positive things which can only help Mitt among a Republican electorate which is generally slightly to the left of the national Party.   This becomes an even more important factor in New Jersey when it comes to defeating Bob Menendez.

Given Mitt’s perceived moderate image, he is expected to have much longer coattails than the more conservative, abrasive, hard-hitting, Southern Republican that is Newt Gingrich.  That conventional thinking is playing a critical role in New Jersey.

Although it is not official, Republicans are expected to nominate a longtime Republican State Senator by the name of Joe Kyrillos, for Bob Menendez’s Senate seat.  By New Jersey standards, Joe Kyrillos is considered a right of center Republican, but he is also the ultimate political insider.  In 1988 he became one of the state’s youngest members of the Assembly, where he served two consecutive terms and then promptly went to the State Senate where he remained since 1993.  Along the way, Kyrillos also spent some time as the state Party Chairman.

In addition to that, Joe Kyrillos happens to be a good friend of Chris Christie and served as Christie’s 2009  gubernatorial state campaign chairman.  Joe Kyrillos also coincidentally served as Mitt Romney’s presidential state campaign chairman in 2008.

This web of connections is all the evidence one needs to understand why Christie endorsed Romney and why he is now aggressively attacking Newt Gingrich.

But what Americans must begin to accept is that the circumstances which are forcing the establishment to rally around Mitt Romney in New Jersey are the same forces which will be forcing the establishment to rally around Romney and attack Newt Gingrich in many other states.   It is all being driven by self-preservation.  None of it is based on the issues, or reforms, or even beating Barack Obama.  It is based upon the establishment’s hope to maintain the status quo, something which can best be achieved by insuring that Mitt Romney defeats Newt Gingrich.

The good thing is that the establishment is not in good graces with a vast majority of the electorate that has taken on very anti-establishment attitudes.  This is one reason why despite the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Romney lost to the anti-establishment candidate, Newt Gingrich.  In fact, to a large degree, the more incumbents that endorse Mitt Romney, the more the anti-establishment opposes Mitt Romney and supports  Newt Gingrich.

While those circumstances won’t help Newt Gingrich very much in a state like New Jersey, it will help him and the Republican tickets in a many other critical states.

Unlike Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has the ability to tap into the anti-esatblishment sentiments that swept Republicans in to power in the House by historic proportions during the 2010 midterm elections.  That anti-establisment energy is minimal in New Jersey, where in 2011, state legislative elections did not produce any gains for New Jersey Republicans.

In 2012, to take control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans need to hold on to the 10 Republican Senate seats that are up for reelection and pick of 4 of the 23 Democrat seats that up for election.  At the moment Republican’s chances for success at taking the majority of senate seats are quite good.  So much so that it is even realistic to consider the chance that Republicans can actually pick up the 13 senate seats that would be required to meet the magic number of a filibuster proof 60 seat majority.

But in order for the G.O.P. to do either, a strong Republican ticket will be required.  The question is who will account for the strongest ticket?

The establishment assumes that a moderate candidate like Romney will do just that.  However; I am of the belief that a more radical, anti-establishment candidate will provide the strongest ticket and in states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin, tapping in to the same TEA Party-like energy that accounted for dozens of new Republicans getting elected to the House, will find that the chance to pick up each of the Democrat Senate seats up for grabs in those states will be enhanced by the “say no to the status quo” style of Newt Gingrich, far more than the “go along to get along style” of the “Massachusetts moderate”,  Mitt Romney.

Furthermore, in a state like New Jersey, where Chris Christie is hoping that his friend Joe Kyrillos can unseat Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, I am afraid that such a goal will be impossible regardless of who is at the top of the ticket, at least not with Joe Kyrillos as the standard bearer.

So what it comes down to is this.  Will Republicans be better off defending the status quo, or will they be better off staying the course that increased their numbers in 2010, when opposing the status quo proved to be the key to victory?

I believe I know the answer.  That is why I endorsed Newt Gingrich for President long ago.  Unfortunately Governor Christie does not agree.  Quite disappointingly, he is playing the role of political insider and pursing political self-preservation over proper public policy concerns.  And it is why he has chosen to go after Newt with guns blazing.

In his attempts to disqualify Newt Gingrich, he told NBC’s David Gregory that he thinks;

“Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time“, and explains “whether he’ll do it again in the future, I don’t know. But Gov. Romney never has.” 

Christie added;

“We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethic violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the Party.”

The saddest thing about those comments is Christie’s blatant attempt to support his political opinion with lies.

While it is true that Newt has never really taken the easy way out by simply  playing the political game in order to hold on to power, Christie is actually lying when he continues to promote the myth that Newt was fined $300, ooo.  The truth is that Newt paid for the investigation into one of 84 false accusation that his political opponents tried to burden Newt with.  In the end, all of the accusations were dismissed, but Newt was still stuck with a bill for the investigation of one charge which found that his lawyers had filed papers erroneously.

But Christie’s attempt to play the role of political hitman causes him to ignore these facts and that is quite disappointing.

Up to now, Chris Christie has been an impressive, hold no punches, play no games leader.  But apparently even he is not immune from the game of politics when it concerns his the interests of the status quo and his insider buddies.

Meanwhile, even though Newt may not be “safe” choice for the republican presidential nomination, he is the bold choice and I am willing to take bold new leadership over insider politics and tired old political games.  I want republicans to win and achieve real change, not to win and simply maintain the system that needs to be reformed.

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Where They Stand. White House 2012’s Monthly Ranking of the Republican Presidential Contenders

Bookmark and Share For the fourth month in a row, Mitt Romney remains ranked number one on White House 2012’s ranking of the Republicanpresidential contenders. Each month a formula that combines the ranking of each member of White House 2012’s contributing staff establishes the final results. And they are as folLows:
  1. Mitt Romney
  2. Mitch Daniels
  3. Tim Pawlenty
  4. Newt Gingrich
  5. Sarah Palin
  6. Rick Santorum
  7. Mike Huckabee
  8. Ron Paul
  9. Gary Johnson
  10. Donald Trump
  11. Jon Huntsman
  12. Michele Bachmann
  13. Herman Cain
  14. Rick Perry
  15. John Bolton
  16. General David Petraeus
  17. Jim DeMint
  18. Rudy Giuliani
  19. Chris Christie
  20. Buddy Roemer

During the month of April, therewere notruly dramatic shifts from the previous month. The top ten remains largely the same with a few moves up or down for some.

Although not an announced candidate, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels continues to hold on to the number two spot, while Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty switch places asNewt drops a notchto fourth place and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty moves up oneto third. Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin holds on to fifth place and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorummaintains sixth place.

The most significant jump up in the ranking for any candidate, comes from to self-describedLibertarian-Republican and former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. He moves up four slots to ninth place. Fairing the worst in the WH12ranking is conservative South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. DeMinthas repeatedly stated that he will not run for President, but with his intention to be a part of the process in order to shape the debate, there is still a perceived lingering chance for him to become a late entry in the race, especially if there does not rise to the surface a clear conservative choice in the field. But the chances of that are slipping as DeMintfallssix places, to 17th.

New to the WH12ranking this month is former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer. Out of twenty slots, he comes in 20th. He may begin to rise a littleafter Thursday’s presidential debate in South Carolina on Fox News. With only a few of the possible candidates attending, this will probablybe one of Roemer’s only chances of getting noticed and for people to learn that he is running.

If there is anything to berealized from this month’s WH12ranking, it is that there have been no events or movements by potential candidates that have swayed people one way or the other. Thus confirming that the 2012 election is running on a later schedule than it did in 2008. Aside from the confirmation that Haley Barbour is not running and that Donald Trump is looking like he may run, little has changed the conventionalthinking regarding Mitt Romney’s tentative frontrunner status which is a natural result of his 2008 campaign for President.And there is nothing that has changed the ability for Mitch Daniels to be a significantly competitiveforce if he decides to run. At the same time, according to WH12’sranking, based upon the current pool of possible candidates, names like Gingrich, Santorum, and Palin seem to show that they have a good chance of also being competetive, top-tier candidates.

In the end, at this point in time, it is anyone’s guess who Republicans will have opposing President Obama in 2012. That lack of a solid and obvious choice simply creates more and more doubt as many speculate that some yet unnamed, late entries in to the race will surface. With some names having announced that they will definitelynot run in 2012, we are left wondering who those late entrants might be. Could Texas Governor Rick Perry be pulled in to the race? Will one of the dynamic, but still untested, new governors be drawn in to the nomination contest? Is it possible that any number of them can enter the race, such as Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or even slightly more senior newbies like Virginia’s Bob McDonnell or New Jersey’s powerhouse, Chris Christie? It is possible but highly unlikely. Any one of them have a much better shot at ending up on the presidential nominee’s vice presidential short list.

Could a fed up Republican from the senate enter? That too is possible. Maybe someone like Wyoming’s Senator, Dr. John Barrasso, or Alabama’s Jeff Sessions decide there just isn’t a suitable candidate in the race and so they jump in themselves.While the chance is there, it is quite slim. If any name that has not yet been discussed becomes a surprise candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, expect it to come from somewhere outside of politics. Like from the ranks of successful entrepreneurs. Maybe some wealthy, virtually unknownname like that of former naval reserve intelligenceofficer John Crowley,will stepon to the stage and sucks the air out of the room. John Crowley is the highly successful owner of a biotech company. But his business was not based on money, it was based on love. Love for his children who had a disease so rare, that the biotech industry had no incentive to pursuea successful treatment for it. So against all odds, Crowley started his own biotech company. Not only did the risky move produce a succesful treatment that keeps his children alive, his company continues to make new breakthroughs within the industry.

In 2010, because the Crowley story was so powerful, it was made into a movie, “Extraordinay Measures” starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser.

A person like Crowley has the type of intelligence, personal fortitude and can-do spirit that is truly American and that American’s can truly appreciate. And Crowley’s ability to translatethat into political success can not be underestimated.

fortunatelyfor President Obama, Crowley is not likely to run for President. Instead, to the fortune of the state of New Jersey, John Crowley may be running for the United States Senate against Bob Menendez. But there are many other compelling success stories andexamples of true leadership that exist outside of the halls of Congress or governor mansions. So there could still be a surprise candidate who could shake things up, but the clock is ticking and the opportunity to be a viable candidate is dwindling. Short of that, this month’s White House 2012 ranking is the way we see the nomination going so far.

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Jim DeMint & the Potential “the Less We Do, the Better” Presidency

Jim DeMint

Senator DeMint

Bookmark and Share    Jim DeMint recently brought the Senate to a halt after threatening to hold all legislation unless it was pre-approved by his office. Initially, he claimed that his reasoning for the unprecedented maneuver was strictly for the purpose of insuring that he and his staff had the chance to fully read through proposed bills before voting on them —- a technicality that seems to be lost on people like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who not long ago told the people that we needed to pass the healthcare bill so that we can see what was in it.

The move was one that did not help to counter the propaganda of Democrats who paint Republicans as “the Party no”. But in many ways Jim DeMint is on to something here.

While Democrats try to gain traction out of calling the G.O.P. “obstructionists”, DeMint takes a head on approach when addressing the word and description by explaining that there is a lot of liberal legislation that needs to be responded in the negative and that obstructing detrimental legislation is a positive thing.

But as it turns out Senator DeMint, in an interview on the daily Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association, revealed that there was more behind his reason for preventing the Senate to forge ahead with business as usual.

While talking about the move with host Bryan Fischer, the Senator stated “this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea.” He went on to say “the less we do, the better”.

The sentiment was further expressed in the following exchange:

FISCHER: “Do you think some kind of gridlock is possible and what do you think will happen if that ensues?”

DEMINT: “Well I had a group of businessmen tell me the other day “if you can just stop the tax increases on us and then have two years of gridlock, that would be the best thing that could happen for business because at least we would know what to expect.” Right now they don’t know what the government is going to do to them next. So this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea. So I think the less we do, the better except maybe to dismantle some of the federal programs that are making it harder for America to be competitive”.

 

In a different interview, when DeMint was asked about the issue of obstructionism he responded;

DEMINT: “The problem is secretly passing bills without reading them, without debating them, and without voting on them. Over 90% of the bills that come through the Senate are never voted on, never debated, they pass by unanimous consent. I’ve never heard one person across America want more bills to pass more quickly.”

Senator DeMint’s position may seem harsh to those who believe that the government, especially the federal government, must do more….regulate more, control more and tax and spend more, but an increasing number of Americans are coming to see that the less the federal government does, the less things get screwed up. And the fact that Jim DeMint is willing to come out of the political closet and essentially say so, is not only brave, it is commendable.

But Jim DeMint goes beyond just talking the talk. His recent efforts to stop action in the Senate demonstrate that, ironically,  he is a man of action.

As indicated by the trends being seen as we head into the homestretch of the 2010 midterm elections, most Americans might actually appreciate a government shutdown. Under the current makeup of the House, Senate and Obama Administration, it might be the only way to save some money and put an end to reckless spending and the fact that Jim DeMint seems willing to go to such lengths is encouraging.

Doing nothing may not exactly make for a very successful platform for a presidential candidate to run on but if Jim DeMint is willing to keep addressing the issue he, will certainly continue to gain favor with the conservative base of the Party and help force whomever the eventual Republican nominee for President is to at least adopt a minimalists federal platform that will give states more rights and help keep the federal government slim, trim and out the way.

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Thune Admits He’s Looking To Run For President in 2012

Official photograph of John Thune, U.S. Senator.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Senator Thune admits he is seriously considering a run.

Also admits that Palin will be a factor in his decision.

Bookmark and Share   While the 49 year old Senator from South Dakota is barnstorming the nation to help get a new generation of Republicans elected in 2010, and running in his own reelection campaign, he recently admitted to reporters that he has been discussing the matter of running for President in 2012 with his wife and is seriously considering it.

According to Thune;

“I’d be less than honest if I said I hadn’t thought about it, based upon the amount of encouragement that I’ve received from people across South Dakota and my colleagues here in the Senate and people across the country,” Thune said during a conference call with reporters.

The Senator added;

“It’s something obviously, if you’re interested in maximizing your opportunities to make a difference and to serve, you take a look at,”

Thune stated that he will make a final decision sometime in 2011.

In separate interview, he also made it clear that if Sarah Palin were to run, her entry into the nomination battle would definitely influence his decision.   Thune told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer;

“She is someone who has a tremendous following out there, particularly in some of the early states,”

Thune made it clear that either way,  he will  not be making his decision to run until sometime early next year, but he conceded that the possibility of a Palin run will be a major factor in that decision.  “I think that if she were to get into the race, it would clearly change the equation for a lot of people,” he said.

In the meantime though, Thune is certainly beginning to fulfill the prerequisites for a run.

While not focusing in on Iowa and New Hampshire, in his quest to help congressional candidates get elected this November, he has so far traveled to Ohio, California, Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kansas and in the closing weeks of the campaign cycle, will be visiting several more states.

Thune’s ability to busily campaign for others and step up his name ID outside of South Dakota, while he is up for reelection in South Dakota, is a but unusual but in his case, very understandable.

Due to his popularity back home, John Thune finds himself in the unique position of being only the third Republican to run unopposed for the body since the establishment of direct elections for Senators in 1913.  But the lack of any opposition has not prevented Thune from campaigning for himself in South Dakota, extensively and aggressively.

He has been making his rounds, speaking to voters and spreading his free market, limited government, fiscal responsibility and family values messages. And to help get his message out further, he has punctuated it by spending more than $4.4 million in his opponent less race.  And as of his last financial report, he still has more than $6.9 million in cash on hand to spend however he sees fit.

If Thune is truly considering a run in 2012, he will have to start making moves in that direction well before he announces his decision to do so. Among those moves will be the need to start looking and sounding more Presidential. That will require his getting in the forefront of some of the hot button issues of the day, like spending and the deficit. In August, Thune began to move in that direction when he publicized his own commonsense deficit reduction plan . (See the video below to hear that plan in Thune’s own words). But that will not be enough to make it in what will be a crowded early field of Republican contenders. To survive any early primaries and caucuses, the Senator must carve out his own unique theme and national message, one that presents fresh ideas to old problems and does so in a way that the electorate will see as more appealing than the solutions that frontrunners like Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour will be offering.

In some ways Thune could have a leg up on in the contest for the Republican nomination. His positions on issues like gay marriage and abortione have built him a solid base within the evangelical community, and he is appealing to TEA Party and Libertarians who appreciate his free market values, pro-gun rights, anti-tax message. Yet Thune hardly comes off as an extremist and with his friendly demeanor, small town-America, Mid-West charm and appeal, the right message could just make him a top tier candidate. But for that to be possible, John Thune will have to make the decision to run, sooner rather than later. He won’t have to make that decision public right away, but he has a lot of work to do in distinguishing himself and maneuvering for the race, long before he announces.

 

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Marco Rubio Gets the National Spotlight

Bookmark and Share         This past Saturday, Republicans used Marco Rubio to respond to the President’s weekly radio address. The move was one  which took advantage of gaining some earned of “free” media for what is one of the mosthotly contested Senate races in 2010, while at the same time providing the opposing opinion to the one offered by President Obama.

Marco Rubio

The Party that responds to the President’s message normally tries to do whatever they can to make their rebuttal as newsworthy and powerful as possible. This is hard to do since most Americans pay little attention to this weekly tradition. Most of the time, Americans only hear a snippet of the President’s address and the opposing Party’s response, when they contain something controversial enough for the major news outlets to carry. So what is the Parties normally do is incorporate some local color that gives reason for regional and local news carriers to mention the address and response.

In this case, Republicans used Marco Rubio.

The move successfully helped Rubio to capture some brief headlines in the South and Florida specifically. That in and of itself made this week’s Republican response to President Obama, all the more worth while. It earned Rubio some free publicity and helped people get familiar with his name as well as is helped to create an impression of Rubio as a figure of national stature.

But beyond perceptions, were the content of Rubio’s response to the President’s address.

While the address is far from being an example of legendary oratorical skill, it hit the nail on the head when it comes to the catastrophic handling of America’s economy by the current ruling Democrat regime in Washington, D.C..

Rubio’s response to the President spoke of American exceptionalism and the potential for its demise in the face of an Administration and Congress that has turned its back on the free market and relies on selling our children’s futures to make up for the past and get through today.

The address also gave a glimpse into the style and substance of Marco Rubio himself. This is something that is quite important in one of the most closely watched races in the nation and will be an important factor in helping to determine who wins that election in Florida.

Rubio’s senate race has many ramifications. If he can hold on to it for Republicans, it could throw control of the US Senate into Republican hands. If he fails to win it, there is no chance of that happening .

But in addition to that, it is my contention that if Marco Rubio wins his race for the U.S. Senate, he will automatically become a potential candidate for President. Maybe not in 2012. But anytime after that.

Don’t believe me? Well how many of you thought in 2006 that Senator Barack Obama would be President by 2008? The answer to that is, at least, most of you.

In the case of Marco Rubio though, there are many underlying, politically strastegic similarities between him and Barack Obama. Both men are young, energetic, forward thinking and ideological rocks. Both men have compelling personal stories.  And  both men have demonstrated a tendency to grab opportunities when ever they can instead of waiting for them to be offered to them.

While Barack Obama has demonstrated his deep conviction to liberal values, Marco Rubio has shown his deep sense of faith in conservative values. While Barack Obama was the son of an Ethiopian whom abandoned him to his American mother who passed away and left him to be raised by his Hawaiian grandparents, Marco Rubio was raised in a stable family environment but born to Cuban exiles who fled to America to create a better life for their children. And while Barack Obama knocked his opponent off the ballot to get a seat in the state senate and then grabbed a vacant and virtually vacant seat in the U.S. Senate to then oppose the likely candidacy of Hillary Clinton for President, Marco Rubio demonstrated a similar impatience for positions of influence but achieved them through more ethical and traditional means.

Rubio was a member of his local Miami council, then ran for the state assembly and eventually became the Speaker of the Florida State Assembly, the youngest one ever. After being term limited, he soon decided to run for the United States Senate by opposing the popular Governor and establishment’s choice for the Republican nomination. Rubio was running such a great race that the Governor dropped out of the primary race and switched Parties in order to survive till Election Day.

In addition to those similarities, like Obama, Rubio can be an eloquent and powerful speaker and like Obama, Rubio has the ability to attract minority votes, Hispanic votes, the largest growing segment of the population in America.

For all those reason alone, Rubio can easily be seen as a future option for Republicans. But the other reasons for his viability as a contender begin where the similarities between Rubio and Obama end.

Unlike Obama, Rubio is a fiscal conservative who believes in less government and less taxes. Unlike Obama, Rubio does not believe it is America’s place to apologize for our exceptionalism and unlike President Obama, Marco Rubio believes in the free market, has a plan to cut federal spending and the national debt and unlike President Obama, Marco Rubio believes in personal responsibility, not federal control.

In essence Rubio has the perfect mix of similarities with and differences from President Obama…… a mix that could make him the right President at the right time.

Does this mean we will be saying President Rubio anytime soon? Probably not within the next 6 years. But you never know.

If Rubio does win his race for the United States Senate, he certainly could make a realistic run for the Republican Presidential nomination and he could use the Obama model to do so.

He is fresh, young and new. He can’t be tarred with the transgressions of poorly constructed past legislation and he can energize and appeal to a coalition of minority voters that may not otherwise be inclined to support a Republican. Rubio also comes from an important state in President elections. It possesses one of the highest electoral votes in the nation and is often considered a swing state.

All of these factors must be considered when contemplating the viability of possible candidates for President and all of these considerations work in Marco’s favor.

Which brings us to another option……..Vice President.

There is a reason why it is typical for a presidential nomineeto have first a long list and then a short list for Vice President. The long list includes all realistic possibilities in an attempt to insure that no truly good choice is overlooked. The short list is the one that has narrowed down those choices to the ones who best fit all of the following general prerequisites:

  • Competency
  • Level of confidence voters have in candidates abilities
  • Ideology
  • Regional & Electoral College influence
  • Ability to energize your base
  • Appeal to Independents

Of all these considerations, depending on who the presidentially actually is, Marco Rubio has more potential than many others. So much so that I would have to say that Rubio at least makes it to the nominees “short list”.  But it all comes down to the biggest word of all…… “If.”

“If” Marco Rubio is elected to the U.S. Senate November, both his potential presidential candidacy and his potential vice presidential candidacy will become very possible in 2012 and beyond.

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Is John Thune Running for Reelection or the White House?

Official photograph of John Thune, U.S. Senator.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Bookmark and Share  In 2004, John Thune ran for the United States Senate and defeated the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Tom Daschle. It was his second run for the office. In 2002, he graciously conceded that election to incumbent Tim Johnson after Democrats involved themselves in a cash for votes scandal on South Dakota Indian reservations. Out of a total of 337,501 votes cast in that race, the illegally purchased votes helped to account for what was an ever so slight lead for Johnson of 524 votes or 0.15%. But two years later, Thune’s political campaigning turned those results around as he beat the powerful Senate Minority Leader. In that election, with 391,118 votes cast, 53,687 more votes than in 2002, Thune won a decisive plurality, besting Daschle by 4,508 votes or 51% of the vote.

Now, six years later, Thune is up for reelection and his opponent is no one.

After six years in the Senate and a conservative record that often receives a 100% ACU rating, Thune has become an impressive figure. And in a state where voters are far from trending Democrat during these Obama years, Democrats have failed to find anyone who is willing to oppose Thune andhave failed successfully  to urge anyone to even wage a token challenge to Thune,

That  lack of Democrat Party leadership and ideological strength has made it possible for Thune to be one of those rare candidates who can take time campaigning for others in not only his own state, but in other states as well. He most recently spent time in Arkansas campaigning and raising money in Arkansas for Republican senate candidate John Boozman who is running against politically wounded, incumbent Democrat, Blanche Lincoln.

But while John Thune’s own reelection remains uncontested, he is certainly not ignoring his place on the ballot this November. To date he has spent over $4.6 million in his opponentless race for reelection. Given the relatively small population of South Dakota and the fact that there is no real race, this is a pretty significant amount of money to spend, especially when you consider that there is still little more than 2 months to go till Election Day. So far, of the expected turnout, John Thune’s campaign expenditures it amounts to about $13.65 per voter.

Of course, this spending and out of state campaigning could be more for 2012 than 2010.

Thune could be actually trying to kill two birds with one stone as he uses his senate reeelction bid to  prepare for a run at the White House or for the number two spot on a Republican presidential ticket. The only hint that could contradict this conclusion is the level of activity in John Thune’s leadership PAC, the Heartland Values PAC. In this election cycle, the last reported total amount of contributions it has made to other candidates totals $185,500, a number which pales in comparison to other Republican presidential contenders like Palin, Romney and Pawlenty.

In general though, John Thune must be watched. Depending on who runs and the combination of those running in 2012, John Thune could be a very viable candidate for the Republican nomination and he is certainly playing his cards right. With relative youth providing some wind at his back, if he does not go for the nomination in 2012, his potential success at a run for the White House in in 2016 or 2020, could rely heavily on what he does in 2012 and how he handles the race.

 

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