Who is John Galt…I Mean John Thune?

I was over the sister’s house celebrating the fact that she was two years older than her husband last night, and because everyone knows I follow the politics, I usually wind up fielding between one to three questions on vital political issues n’ stuff. The most common question is who I think is going to run against President Hopeandchange in 2012. My most common response is ::shrugs shoulders::

None of the people in 2005 who were supposed to be the nominee in 2008 were, and the guy who won nobody really heard of in 2005. So while you have your usual names thrown around (Romney, Palin, Huckabee), lesser known names (Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels), and names thrown out there by people who it makes you wonder how seriously they take it (Joe Scarborough, General Petraeus), shrugging you shoulders is really the only way to answer the question.

One name that constantly gets thrown around conservative circles is a cat named Sen. John Thune (R-SD), best known for knocking off former Democrat minority leader Tom Daschle in 2004. He was recently the subject of a profile piece on Politics Daily. So sayeth Matt Lewis…

South Dakota Sen. John Thune has $5.5 million in the bank, a handsome face, hoop skills that rival the president’s and an upward trajectory in the U.S. Senate. Despite failing at a 2008 bid to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Thune was able to take control of the Republican Policy Committee after Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) fell from grace…

He’s not widely known nationally, which is both an obvious obstacle and perhaps a blessing in disguise: The national media has not turned him into a caricature. That may change in the future. Thune is beginning to generate buzz as a potential 2012 presidential candidate. For example, New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote a glowing puff piece on him, going so far as to say of Thune, “He is a gracious and ecumenical legislator, not a combative one. When you ask him to mention authors he likes, he mentions C.S. Lewis and Jeff Shaara, not political polemicists. The first person who told me I had to write a column about Thune was a liberal Democratic senator who really likes the guy…”

On a conference call this Tuesday, however, I found Thune to be passionate — and quotable. For example, he dismissed the notion that Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine might vote for health care reform, bluntly telling me he expects Republicans “will be united in opposition” to the Senate health care bill. “This will be and is a Democrat bill,” he predicted. Thune then went on to compare the Obama administration’s regulatory and climate change policies to “a war on the West.”

Read the whole article, and add Sen. Thune to the growing list of contenders to look out for.

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