Thune in 2012?

Posted: Jan 31, 2010 12:00 AM

If someone asks me to briefly describe the philosophical difference between the liberal-left Democrats and the conservative Republicans, I simply point out that the Dems believe in the politics of envy while the GOP believes in the politics of true hope.

A conservative and liberal are standing on the street corner and they both see driving by them a chauffeured limo with an obviously wealthy man sitting in the backseat reading the Wall Street Journal. The liberal will comment, "Why should that man have a chauffeured limousine? Who does he think he is? Does he think he's better than me?" That is an example of the politics of envy.

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Meanwhile, the conservative will comment, "Someday, God willing, I will have a chauffeured limo and an important job." That's an example of the politics of true hope.

And that's what many Americans seek in a leader, as well. Someone who believes in the politics of true hope. With many comparing the late President Ronald Reagan with our current White House occupant, President Barack Obama, there really is no comparison. I cannot recall President Reagan ever denigrating an American, even one with whom he disagreed. Whereas, President Obama attempts to demonize people whenever he wishes to sway people to his way of thinking.

Which brings me to South Dakota's Senator John Thune, the young and energetic Republican who defeated the deeply entrenched Senate Majority Leader and liberal-left stalwart Tom Daschle. While the next presidential election cycle may seem a distant event, Thune's name is already being bandied about as a potential 2012 presidential contender.

Just this past week, Senator Thune garnered national attention when he introduced an amendment that would end the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which was passed to bailout banks, automobile manufacturers and financial firms.

Thune's amendment would stop the government handouts while using the money paid-back by the banks and other recipients to help reduce the national debt.

While the Thune's bill was defeated, his defeat showed he possessed the leadership to garner a majority of Senate votes. His amendment failed, but it received a majority of the votes. With 60 votes needed for passage, only 53 voted Thursday in favor of the bill, while 45 voted against it.

The 48-year old Republican senator said that Congress needs to start taking on the issue of spending and debt, and ending TARP would be a significant step forward. He lamented the fact that the Senate "missed a golden opportunity."

Senator Thune also voiced his disgust with what he saw during the health care debacle before it became fashionable in the Senate. He wrote a biting letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) calling for transparency in the health care negotiations. Thune's letter was signed by all 40 Republican Senators.

"Closed door negotiations and unprecedented special provisions in exchange for votes do not meet the expectations of the American people," wrote Thune.

"To ensure that the American people have the ability to witness the on-going negotiations between the House and Senate, we ask that any negotiations regarding a final health care reform bill be conducted in the light of day."

Thune rejects the politics of envy and adheres to a politics of TRUE hope.