MIA in 2012 Race: Sitting Politicians
Thune's decision not to run creates a historical oddity
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2011 10:01 AM CST
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this photo taken Feb. 8, 2011. Thune has declined to pursue a bid for president next year.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – John Thune’s announcement that he’ll sit out the 2012 presidential race leaves the field bereft of a current sitting lawmaker—something that hasn’t happened since 1904. Typically some senator or other has his eyes on the prize, but right now the GOP’s frothing with so much anti-establishment hostility that anyone with a long track record looks doomed, Politico observes. Thune, for example, would have been dogged by his vote for TARP.

“Congress is a tough springboard for a presidential run under any circumstances,” says one Republican ad-maker, but it’s especially bad in the age of the Tea Party. “Spending a few decades in Washington is probably not the best resume builder to be an outsider presidential candidate.” Many conservatives, he notes, are plagued by Bush-era excesses and earmarks. “The political environment changed, but their voting records had an annoying habit of sticking around.”