Thune I.

It's time to start getting to know John Thune, the GOP Senator from South Dakota who says he is looking at a run for the White House. He should be an heroic figure to us all, as it was Thune who evicted Tom Daschle from the U.S Senate, and the Majoirty Leader position, back in 2004.

[H]e is an exceptionally skilled retail politician who can communicate a kind of midwestern, common sense conservatism that is ascendant in reaction to liberal profligacy,” Hayes writes. “It also helps that he’s cultivated the nationwide donor base that gave him $14.5 million to defeat Tom Daschle in 2004. And that South Dakota borders Iowa. And that he’s good on television. And that he’s a devout Christian who can quote Scripture without seeming to proselytize.”

Hayes adds that Thune faces “many obstacles”: “He has virtually no national profile. He worked briefly as a lobbyist. He voted for TARP. He is a defender of earmarks. He would be running against Washington from Washington. … Despite his proximity to those who craft the Republican agenda, Thune does not have a signature issue — something Thune skeptics point to as a liability for a potential presidential candidate.”

Iowa State University political science Professor Steffen Schmidt said that Thune has demonstrated the ability to defeat a powerful Democratic leader. He toppled Tom Daschle in the 2004 Senate race.

Schmidt also said Iowa caucusgoers like candidates from neighboring states, and Thune has the advantage of being conservative, serious and policy-oriented.

“He doesn’t come with any baggage, which is a great place to begin,” Schmidt said.

He's a good looking candidate, but his social conservatism and vote for TARP may taint as an old fashioned Republican in an environment in which rebels are the vogue.