Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thune Decides Against Presidential Run

Today Sen. Thune released a statement indicating that he has decided against a 2012 run. Thune said he reached his decision through much prayer and discussion with his family, a process that I believe reflects the high caliber of John Thune and his family.

While this might be disappointing for those of us who were hoping he would seek the Republican nomination, there is a silver lining. In the statement, Thune renewed his vow to fight the Conservative cause in the Senate - one of the places that we need to reclaim control of in 2012. He will no doubt continue to be a great defender of American principles in the upper chamber.

Statement from Thune

"For months now, my wife Kimberley and I have received encouragement from family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across South Dakota and the country to run for the presidency of the United States. We have appreciated hearing their concerns about where the country is headed and their hopes for a new direction.

During this time, Kimberley and I and our two daughters have given a great deal of thought to how we might best serve South Dakota and our nation. That process has involved lots of prayer.

Along the way, we have been reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight. And make no mistake that during this period of fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty there is a fight for the future direction of America. 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.

I want to thank those who have encouraged us and prayed for us during the past several months. We are forever grateful for all the support."

-John and Kimberley Thune

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thune Defends Social Conservatism

"...There are important issues that impact the basic glue, the foundation that holds our country together, and that comes down to the family unit. And we can't ignore those." -John Thune

Recently in an interview with CBN, Sen. Thune spoke in defense of social conservatism amid a notion circulated by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels that America needs to call a "truce" on social issues in order to face fiscal threats. 

While I commend the Governor Daniels for the common-sense Conservative solutions he has brought to Indiana, (and personally I think his "truce" comments need to be contextualized), John Thune is right in his defense of social conservatism.

Much has been made about the boost "values voters" can give a candidate at the ballot box. But I think Thune knows there are more advantages to defending social conservatism than merely gaining votes. For instance, it is only common sense that any good government would protect an infant's right to life. When faced with the truth, protecting life clearly supersedes the Democratic notion of the right to choice, and social conservatives of all creeds - Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, etc. - should join together on this common ground.

By speaking out in defense of social values among fiscal and national security issues of the day, Sen. Thune can position himself to unify conservatives and be a formidable opponent to President Obama in 2012.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Video: Thune on the Budget

Last night Sen. Thune was on Greta commenting on President Obama's recently released budget. He discussed how Obama's new budget "spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much".

Saturday, February 12, 2011

If You Read Anything... (The Buckley Rule)

“The wisest choice would be the one who would win. No sense running Mona Lisa in a beauty contest. I’d be for the most right, viable candidate who could win. If you could convince me that Barry Goldwater could win, I’d vote for him.” -William F. Buckley (1925-2008)

Conservatives should nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable - The Buckley Rule

The speeches from CPAC this week have been great, but perhaps the most prescient words spoken came from James Higgins, the conservative activist who introduced John Thune. In his eloquent introduction, he reminded us of what has become "The Buckley Rule" -- the principle that conservatives nominate candidates who can win.

There is perhaps no better race to apply the Buckley rule than to the Republican 2012 nomination. As a young Conservative student, I am greatly inspired by (and indebted to) Conservative leaders from all across the nation. However, I realize in 2012 we need an electable candidate who encompasses everything we stand for. 

Most are not familiar with John Thune. I wasn't either until a good friend told me about him.  After some research, I've concluded that there would be no better candidate to beat President Obama in 2012 than the Senator from South Dakota.

"Can he win?" you are asking. He is no doubt a formidable political force as he beat the incumbent Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle in 2004. He has become so strong in his home state the other Party didn't even field a candidate against him in 2010. Because of this, he's now sitting on campaign funds of over $7 million - a war chest that could really jumpstart a presidential campaign.

"How are his conservative principles?" you might say. When it comes to social, fiscal, and foreign policy issues there is no better candidate than John Thune. With a 100 American Conservative Union rating and a solid voting record, I would trust a President Thune to hold fast to his values and get this country back on track.

In short, Thune's the complete package. If we follow the advice of William Buckley, we won't be disappointed in electing John Thune in 2012.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Run, John, Run! - The CPAC Speech

Thune's CPAC speech sounded very presidential today.

      A few observations...
  • His inspirational speech highlighted his Midwestern values - "living in your means even if it means going without".
  • He rebuked legislators who talk about values and become D.C. sellouts - "Our actions must match our words".
  • He touched on a possible campaign message that he has been on the frontline fighting the Obama agenda while the other candidates have been on book tours and reality TV.
The full speech here...

    Thune to Speak at CPAC Today!

    The day has arrived!

    Senator Thune will be giving his much anticipated CPAC address today at 1:30 ET. If you would like to watch live, register here for streaming.

    I'll post the video of his speech as soon as it becomes available.

    UPDATE: Awesome speech! At the beginning the crowd kept chanting "Run, John, Run" ... will post the video ASAP.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    The Wadhams Effect

    A friend brought to my attention this morning that Dick Wadhams is not going to seek reelection as Colorado GOP chairman. This is positive news for anyone betting on John Thune running (and winning) in 2012.

    Wadhams was instrumental in John Thune's historic 2004 defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. He has previously worked on campaigns in South Dakota, Colorado, Montana, and Virginia.

    This news is so unexpected the Colorado Democratic Speaker of the House tweeted that he was "speechless".

    Maybe Mr. Wadhams is resigning to work on one more campaign: John Thune for President.

    Video: Thune Decision in Weeks

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Thune Faring Well in SD

    Public Policy Polling is out with some new numbers showing Sen. Thune doing well in his home state of South Dakota. He leads the rest of the prospective 2012 pack by a 25% margin.

    At face value, this seems expected coming from his "stomping grounds". However, when you look at the other contender's home state numbers, you see that Thune stands out.

    For example, Sarah Palin only received 15% in Alaska, and Tim Pawlenty checked in at 24% in Minnesota.

    The overall trend among the Republican candidates is that their home state electorates are unimpressed with them. Only Thune and Mitt Romney managed to break the 30% mark (37% and 47% respectively).

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Video: Thune on Healthcare Repeal

    Last night John Thune went On the Record about the Senate's Obamacare repeal vote.

    UPDATE: Thune has also written an op-ed about healthcare repeal for Real Clear Politics.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Money Talks

    We all know how big a factor money plays in Presidential elections - one of the biggest reasons Obama won in '08 was his ability to shatter fundraising records. So, it's no surprise that one of Candidate Thune's strengths is the deep pockets he already has.

    The Politico Morning Score is predicting (as the FEC numbers roll in) that Thune will hold his title as the 2012 contender with the most money in the bank. They are betting that he will have around $7 million when his reports are disclosed. For comparison, the nearest candidate to him is Michelle Bachmann with $2 million.

     In order to face Obama in 2012, the Republican nominee will need to have the leadership, funds, and personality to beat him - things that Thune certainly brings to the table.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    The Case for John

    Jill Lawrence from Politics Daily is outlining what a lot of us have been thinking lately: John Thune is the best candidate to beat Obama in 2012. In her story, she quoted a few of the advantages Thune would bring to the table as a nominee:

    "Thune's real strengths ... (may be) in his political savvy, his communication skills and his lack of baggage."

    She goes on to contrast him with the other candidates: 

    "Thune's generic conservative views, congressional career and intact marriage have kept him out of controversial territory. He wasn't once a tobacco lobbyist (Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour). He isn't a former governor who raised taxes (Mike Huckabee of Arkansas) or signed a health law similar to "Obamacare" (Mitt Romney of Massachusetts) or quit halfway through (Sarah Palin of Alaska) or seems boring (Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota). He hasn't had three wives and a widely publicized extramarital affair (former House speaker Newt Gingrich)." (emphasis mine)

    As she points out, the case for Thune is very compelling.

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Video: Thune's State of the Union Response

    Video: Thune on Spending

    Recently Sen. Thune was on CNBC with Larry Kudlow discussing federal spending and the President's State of the Union speech.

    Decision Time

    Alexander Mooney at the CNN Political Ticker is reporting Sen. Thune told a radio audience yesterday that he will have made a presidential decision by the end of February. While on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he would have to "work a lot harder to get known". One of the distinct qualities Thune has is a lack of name recognition - yes, the downside is doesn't have as much time to decide, but an advantage is that with the right strategy he can craft a public image of a common sense Conservative without the baggage other candidates such as Palin or Romney might have.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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    McConnell Boosts Thune

    Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell encouraged Sen. Thune to make a Presidential run. In his remarks at a Politico Playbook Breakfast, he touted Thune's accomplishments in beating Tom Daschle, then the Senate Democratic Leader, and also mentioned Thune's home state strength in that South Dakota Democrats didn't even field a candidate against him in 2010. He also cited leadership and oratory skills as some of Thune's greatest strengths. You can read the Politico Morning Score report with the info here (this piece of info is towards the bottom of the page under "Swoon for Thune").

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Video: Presidential Decision in Two Months

    Here's video provided by Keloland TV in South Dakota in which Sen. Thune says he'll probably make a presidential decision within 30-60 days.

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Weekend Update

    • Yesterday Thune acknowledged that a Presidential decision will probably be made with in the next 30-60 days. This timeline falls into late February or early March. Thune cites fear of becoming an early target as to the reason why the possible 2012 candidates haven't announced yet. You can read the news story from Keloland TV here.

    • KSFY in Sioux Falls is reporting that South Dakota Democrat George McGovern would support a Thune decision to run for president. McGovern, whom the history buffs will remember ran against Nixon in 1972, says "if he thinks he's prepared for it and wants to run I think that's what he should do."

    • The Adriondack Daily Enterprise is reporting New York Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (a Democrat) plans to sit my Sen. Thune during the State of the Union. Look for lots of Democrats and Republicans crossing the aisle and sitting next on each other during this years speech.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Early State Activity

    • The Argus Leader is reporting "increased activity" among John Thune fundraisers in New Hampshire as they have been making a number of calls on his behalf. When interviewed, New Hampshire investor and Dartmouth professor Gregory Slayton acknowledged that he has been making calls on Thune's behalf and is in discussion with the Senator about a possible campaign.
    • Thune has also been invited to a conservative lecture series being held in Iowa, according to TPM. Other probable 2012 candidates such as Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain have submitted their RSVP, while Sen. Thune has yet to make his. If he agrees to speak, it will only serve as yet another indicator that he is running.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Thune Speaks on Obamacare Repeal, Controlling Spending

    The Yanktown Press & Dakotan is reporting that Senator Thune spoke Tuesday on the need for reigning in government spending and repealing Obamacare. He predicts the repeal effort will pass the House and die in the Senate, forcing Republicans to focus on repealing individual parts of the legislation like the unconstitutional mandate for insurance. Although he was speaking in his own state, both of these items will certainly be the major issues shaping the 2012 presidential campaign. As I noted earlier, if Senator Thune is outspoken for the repeal effort in the Senate, that exposure would help position him for a presidential run.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Monday Notes

    • The Boston Herald's Morning Briefing is highlighting Sen. Thune's meetings with New Hampshire political operatives as he considers a run in 2012. You can read this information in full here.
    •  Also from the Herald is an opinion piece on the factor Obamacare will play in the next election and how it is likely to "trip-up" both President Obama and Mitt Romney, who instituted a similar program while he was governor of Massachusetts. Holly Robichaud also mentions the role Sen. Thune will play if the House repeals Obamacare and sends the bill to the Senate. If he is running in 2012, look for him to be very vocal in support of repeal. You can read the article here.

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Thune to Speak at CPAC

    The CNN Political Ticker is reporting Sen. Thune still plans to visit the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. 

    This event will certainly help boost Thune's national profile and bolster support among conservatives.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Thune to Address Missouri GOP

    The Missouri news blog PoliticMo is reporting that Sen. Thune will be addressing the Republican state annual meeting in late February. It is also noted that another potential 2012 candidate may be speaking, although the state GOP has yet to release a name.

    You can read the article outlining this news here.

    Thune Makes Statement on Giffords Tragedy

    According to the Daily Republic, Sen. Thune expressed his sympathy to Rep. Giffords and other victims of the Arizona shooting by saying “Kimberley and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims of this horrific act and their families. This kind of violence has no place in our society. Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, her Arizona constituents, and their families and loved ones are on our minds and in our hearts at this difficult time.”

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Thune Invited to Iowa Forum

    The Des Moines Register is reporting Sen. Thune, along with 11 other possible 2012 candidates, is being invited to an event sponsored by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition on March 7th.

    This event and the group sponsoring it will certainly play a major role in giving Sen. Thune momentum among social conservatives in the early primary state of Iowa.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    "This Week" Roundtable

    Today Sen. Thune was mentioned on a short-list of 2012 contenders on the Roundtable segment of ABC's This Week. From a list of ten possible names, Thune was narrowed down by panelist George Will into a list of the top 5 strongest candidates who could perform in key areas of the country.

    Additionally, Will discounted Sarah Palin's electability by saying "she cannot compete where elections are decided".

    Also there's a link here to an article summarizing this piece of news and here for one outlining the facts surrounding a Thune candidacy.