Heading into the Fourth of July holiday, Tom Lawrence tapped out an amusing musing on whether the Democrats will give Senator John Thune his second free pass in a row.
Democrats, don’t you dare.
Lawrence’s challenger-for-Thune essay is now making the back-to-work rounds in edited form in the print media this week, gracing my current local paper and my previous local paper. Lawrence’s enhanced e-version offers readers the conventional narrative of Thune as Goliath:
Knocking off Thune would be a tall order, and not just because the man from Murdo is a lanky 6-4. He has millions in the bank, a national profile as the chairman of the influential Senate Commerce Committee and the leader of the Senate GOP Conference, and Thune gets a lot of face time on Fox and in the ever-compliant South Dakota media [Tom Lawrence, “Will Anyone Take on Thune in 2016?” Prairie Perspective, 2015.07.01].
That last bit about Fox and the “ever-compliant” media isn’t in the papers.
But even more importantly absent from Lawrence’s e- and p-versions is any mention of the policy achievements that make Thune so unbeatable.
Don’t reach for your Google. Don’t pull up the press release archive. Just think for a moment: off the top of your head, what big policies can you think of that John Thune has passed? Or be conservative: what onerous laws has Thune stricken from the books? In six years as Representative and now eleven years as Senator, what has John Thune done for you? Aside from winning elections and looking good doing it, what Goliath record David-proofs our senior Senator?
I’m sure some deeply attentive Republican boosters can get some talking points from senior Tweet-visor Jon Lauck, and I welcome their additions to the comment section below. But how many voters carry any notion of John Thune beyond his cultivated image? How many voters could say without prompting, “John Thune made South Dakota and our country better by passing [insert real legislation, not Fox confabulation, here]”?
Democrats, that’s why you don’t dare let Thune go without a serious challenger. It doesn’t take $11 million to ask, “Where’s the beef?” and get South Dakota voters asking the same thing.
Challenging Thune in 2016, a presidential election year, when Dems can boost registration and turnout and ride referendum-stoked voter discontent with tone-deaf incumbents, is not suicide. Challenging Thune is an opportunity for the right balls-to-the-wall candidate who’s ready to say that what’s really wrong with the country isn’t President Obama’s list of achievements (ejemplo reciente: ¡Cuba abierta!) but all the do-nothing obstructionism by which John Thune has denied the country even more success.
Democrats, you only get one chance every six years to beat John Thune. You wasted your last shot. Don’t wait until John Thune actually does something in Washington. Carpe diem… et carpe Senatum!
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p.s.: Tom called me a “wild card,” which I think is a step up from “joker.” In a line that hasn’t made the print editions, Tom also called me “smart, media-friendly and quick on his feet.” Thank you, Tom. You’re very kind. And he’s right on “media-friendly”: I look great on radio.