The Hill stands by it's Thune Story. And it gives him an "atta boy" for his stance.

One of my favorite chronicles of the goings on in Washington, The Hill, editorialized a bit recently on remarks attributed to Senator Thune on distancing himself from the president. The point they're making is that since taking office, John has been his own man, and made no apologies for it.:

Upset with the Pentagon’s initial decision to shut down Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Thune threatened to oppose the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.

At the time, Thune said, “I’m going to do what is in the best interest of South Dakota — always, first and absolutely. If I disagree with the president, I’m going to let him know that.”

Thune did just that last week by saying that Republican candidates should distance themselves from President Bush on the Iraq war. After the Associated Press and The Hill’s Jonathan Allen reported on Thune’s remarks, the senator quickly said his comments had been mischaracterized.

On “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten said Thune had told him that the press had taken his comments out of context.

Like the AP, The Hill is standing by our story.

But the intriguing aspect to Thune’s comments is that he regularly has bucked his party, and made no apologies for it.

He has backed a drug reimportation bill that is strongly opposed by the White House. He also voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement — which was the administration’s top trade priority last year.

Thune, who is likely the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has shown himself to be an effective legislator. His most significant accomplishment was getting Ellsworth off the Pentagon’s chopping block during its base-realignment process.

So, clearly, Thune is no rookie when it comes to politics.

Still, when lawmakers talk about Iraq so close to the midterms, their comments are going to be scrutinized.

Thune is an independent-minded senator who will likely be in the Senate for some time. Because he has previously made frank comments about the administration, Thune’s opinions carry more weight than senators who repeat the party mantra again and again.

Read it all here.

Coincidentally, they bring up the NRSC thing with Thune. If just so happens I've had conversations with two people regarding their interest in the 2008 US Senate Race. One who had previously mentioned it to me noted to me that it's still a thought in the back of his mind, and fresh candidate who I hadn't imagined would be looking at it expressed an interest in exploring a possible run. (and Dems, neither one was the Gov before you start on that one.)

It sounds as if there's a fire starting to smolder for the 2008 election within the GOP. And if Thune takes the NRSC position, I imagine that flame is going to be fanned even more.

(and no, I'm not going to tell you who they are)

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hilarious. Somehow, the Hill (which is the biggest DC Rag, seldom read and never taken seriously) manages to give a backhanded compliment to Thune for what he said the first time even though he later said he was misquoted. That's a new one. I didn't know you could get credit for something you are completely disavowing.

If Thune's skills as the top Republican in charge of recruiting and stragegizing for Senate races in 2008 would be anything like the bumbling amateur hour stuff he's exhibited over the last few days...well...John Thune for NRSC Chair in 2008!!!
Anonymous said…
I'll vote for anyone who thinks the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
Greg said…
good for Thune....he'll never get credit for it in South Dakota, but he's proving to an independent force in DC...i wish i had voted for him in 2004...i will next time.
Leland said…
i don't what "The Hill" is but i can't agree more with what is has to say...Thune is doing good work out there...i wish some of nutty Daschle hacks would give him some credit, but i suppose that is asking way to much
Lyle said…
The odd thing about this is the complete obscurity of Tim Johnson in DC...nobody is lining up to ask Tim to head up any big committees or to have him speak on anything...he must be the least known/least effective person in DC...at least Daschle got into the mix of things
Matt said…
You're right, PP, John Thune will surely stand up to the President and tell it like it is. He has a huge spine. He's tougher than Chuck Norris... Except he says he was misquoted. And he called everyone in town to say he didn't say what he said.

As Jer Bear noted at dontworryaboutthegovernment, Roll Call reported, "In an interview Friday, Thune said he feels it is important that his colleagues hear directly from him that the published reports were off base. Thune said he 'was shocked' by what he read in print."

and

"'I thought it was very much a ‘gotcha’ story where they cherry-picked or plucked out some controversy and took it out of context,' Thune said."

and

Thune "reiterated Friday that he firmly is behind the president’s war policy."

and, finally, Thune shows why the Hill gave him such a big atta boy for his independence --

"'I have been conveying that to my colleagues,' Thune said. 'I am very much a team player.'”

What a tough guy with a huge spine who tells it like it is. Atta boy, John! Way to stand up to the President!

Of course, he's gaining tons of respect from his Republican colleagues in the Senate --

Roll Call also noted --

“That was not a ‘team player’ kind of answer,” said one senior Republican Senate aide. “I’m not sure I would want to be in the foxhole with him right about now.”

and

"Said another well-placed GOP aide, 'I am sure it wasn’t his intent to say to candidates, ‘Run away from the president.’ But the fact is, that’s the story that was written.
'It doesn’t help him any,' this staffer added."

and

"GOP Senators and aides said Thune needs to be extra careful in the coming weeks and months to demonstrate his loyalty to the party and to the Bush White House, which convinced him to enter the race that helped catapult him to the Senate and national fame. Thune needs to reinforce that he will put the party first, they argued."




So, Thune has a choice -- he can either "be a team player," "demonstrate his loyalty to he party and to the Bush White House," and "reinforce that he will put the party first" as the party leaders in Washington argue, or he can actually earn the "atta boy" PP says he deserves by continuing to stand up to DC insiders and call 'em like he sees them.

I wonder what he'll do...
Phil said…
Johnson just voted FOR this new abortion law in the Senate this week...he's unbelievable...he voted for the war and for bush spending insanity...and Alito and Roberts!! He's a traitor to progressives and i'll never vote for him again since he always spits in our faces

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