Can we all stipulate that Senator Thune, Representative Noem, Governor Daugaard, and U.S, Senate candidate Mike Rounds are such plastic politicians that it's a miracle South Dakota Republicans haven't all mutated or died of leukemia from drinking the BPA laced Kool-Aid they dish out by the gallon?
In fact that miracle is so profound that were I advising Gordon Howie of God, Guns, and Gordon fame, I'd tell him to stop talking about God and focus solely on guns. (The only Gordon candidate Howie should talk about is the Barenaked Ladies album. Breathe deeply and return to the subject of the post.)
Thune looks like a movie director's ideal politician, a tall thin man with good hair and a smile ready made for a toothpaste commercial. Those physical features and a plastic nature may make him attractive to South Dakotans. Thune's plasticity does, however, make him cautions.
In a post on his New York Times blog, Ross Douthat, with only a bit of hyperbole, claims conservatives want a magic pill to have the Dow reach 35,000 and a federal budget that reduces spending to levels that existed before the New Deal. Thune may pay lip service to such bromides, but he is unlikely to feature them in a campaign. Nor is he likely to accept anything that Douthat calls "reform conservatism," especially if that reform leads to this result:
A dramatic de-cronyization and de-rentierization of public policy, extending across agriculture and food, energy and housing, higher education and high finance.A South Dakota Republican running against cronyism would likely be read out of the party.
In short, I don't see Thune running in 2016. That race will feature Republicans using Obama's name like chum to froth up the waters in a manner that makes Sharknado seem as calm as a tiny goldfish bowl. Thune will be too cautious to embrace any idea that will move him stand out of such a Republican presidential candidate pack.
Besides, I'm betting he has a staffer or two telling him that the map looks bad for Republicans in 2016 but that no party has held the White House for more than three terms since Roosevelt and Truman held office from 1933 until 1953. The smart move might be 2020. Even then, Thune will likely advocate an agenda that in Douthat's words "is too modest to matter" rather than one that's "too immodest to succeed."