I can’t think of any reason whatsoever why John Thune is considered a viable presidential candidate. There are literally dozens of other incumbent senate Republicans who, as best I can tell, are identical to Thune. Therefore, I take the fact that Thune is continually discussed as a potential presidential candidate to indicate that he has some crucial below the water line advantages in terms of support by shadowy elites. Under the circumstances, he ought to toss his hat in the ring and run.
But Manu Raju and Jonathan Martin suggest he’s leaning against a bid. Jon Chait notes that Barack Obama’s recent strong polling may be dissuading him: “Thune can pick when he wants to run for president, and running against a fairly popular incumbent president may not be the best time to pick.”
In case Thune happens to be a reader of this blog, let me throw out there that this idea of picking your year doesn’t make much sense. There’s a ton of uncertainty inherent in any presidential campaign because the dynamics of primaries are very hard to predict, and because the underlying economic trends that weigh so heavily on general elections are also hard to predict. The only thing we really know about John Thune’s prospects in 2012 is that for semi-mysterious reasons he’s currently considered a more plausible candidate than Jon Kyl or Jim Risch or Roger Wicker or John Barrasso or Mike Johanns or any number of other unremarkable conventional conservative Republicans. Will this still be true in 2016? Nobody knows. Will Obama be popular in the fall of 2012? Nobody knows. Have Republicans waged a primary campaign, then lost, and gone on to have successful future political careers? Yes. The conclusion is clear—he should get in. Unless the issue is that he doesn’t actually want to be president (understandable, in my view, though I would love the airplane) in which case he should shut the door on this.