Last week, Sen. John Thune, our “beloved” Republican South Dakotan Senator, announced that he would seek the post of Senate Republican Conference Chairman, a position that opened up when Lamar Alexander announced he was stepping down. I for one think Thune is PERFECT for the position. Especially as I have personal experience with the man, I can say he embodies everything the GOP stands for.
My wife, son, and I have met with Mr. Thune on multiple occasions. Our son was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes right after his first birthday. A few months after that, the Senate was voting on legislation to authorize federal spending on embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. There’s ongoing research and hope that ESCs or adult stem cells could someday be used to regenerate pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin, the very cells that Type-1 diabetes destroys. We thus met with Thune to talk about the stem cell bill, and the hope it offered for children like our son. The first time we met, we explained the hope the bill offered, how it could help our son, and explained that the cells the bill proposed using are just discarded if not used for research. We talked for 20-25 minutes, and when we were done, the first words out of Thune’s mouth were…
“I can’t be expected to vote for this. I’m a Republican”. That is a DIRECT, word-for-word quote. I was rather flabbergasted at his first response, but as he began to talk even more, what was ABUNDANTLY obvious was that Thune had NO FREAKIN’ CLUE about the contents of the bill, or about ANYTHING we had just talked about. But as “a Republican”, of course he simply out-of-hand dismissed the possibility of voting for the bill, despite not even knowing what he was voting against.
It was a lost cause, and I wasn’t about to belabor the point and talk more about the issue. We broke up the meeting, had some quick photo ops their people set up, and we left knowing we’d just wasted our afternoon. We now have a photo of Thune holding our 1-year old son, a photo that makes me think of the devil stealing my son’s soul every time I see it. We met with Thune about a year later for a small meeting with other Type-1 families, and I’ve also met with him as part of a small group of folks talking health issues. And every time I meet him, I get the same feeling…he’s one hell of a good little Republican!! Doesn’t have a single original thought in his little mind, but he is a good little Republican who can follow the party line on pretty much every issue!
There’s no doubt he’s just what Republicans are looking for as someone for a high-ranking Senate post. He’s a white male, will act as conservative as his party tells him to act, won’t EVER buck his party and vote against the party line…what more could they hope for? Considering that the only thing the Republican Party seems to stand for any more is opposing ANYTHING Democrats propose, I’d dare say he’s prime presidential material in the coming years. If there’s ANY issue that ANY Democrat supports, particularly any Obama initiative, you can bet Thune will be out there saying “I can’t be expected to vote for this…I’m a Republican!!!”