If the Suit Fits
With two years still to go before the earliest contests of the 2012 presidential election cycle, there is only so much talking you can do about presidential hopefuls like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, which is why we get stuck talking about others like Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour, and Rick Santorum, who have no chance of winning the Republican nomination. Maybe Bobby Jindal will come back around at some point, but he still seems to be doing penance for his now infamous primetime debut as a spokesman for the Republican Party.
So, I was eager to see South Dakota Senator John Thune get the full speculative profile treatment in a piece today at Politico. Best known for unseating Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004, Thune is someone whose name is occasionally on the tip of various well-respected tongues as an individual who could potentially change the party’s internal leadership dynamic in the next two years.
At this early stage in the process, however, Thune’s name pops up largely because he fits the suit. To be clear, I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way. If the Republican Party’s goal for 2012 is to find a conservative version of President Obama, in terms of physicality, demeanor, and generational appeal, then at least on the surface Thune seems like he could be that guy.
I have seen Senator Thune on television on a number of occasions, and my initial gut-level reaction is that he is a definite maybe as a candidate. The Politico profile is correct in pointing out that perhaps the biggest drawback to a Thune candidacy is that he doesn’t appear to have an angle on the presidency. Even if he looks like he is right out of conservative central casting, Thune will need an angle (or a theory, as Politico says), in order to propel his candidacy forward. I will certainly be watching to see if one starts to take shape in the coming months.

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