Unassuming Thune Could Be GOP's Future
Nice-guy populist eyed as 2012 contender
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2009 8:06 AM CST
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks after leaving a meeting of Senate Republicans in Washington.    (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, file)

(Newser) – The junior senator from South Dakota is starting to get a lot of attention from the less hysterical sections of the GOP as the party seeks to build on recent successes, writes David Brooks. John Thune never sounds like he's auditioning for a spot on talk radio, but instead puts his pragmatically conservative position forward in a straightforward and gracious style, Brooks writes in the New York Times.

Thune's positions are "straight-down-the-line conservative" but he doesn't approach them in a way that'll scare off moderates, Brooks writes. He wants to scale down government, but not radically overhaul it. Thune and others like him give the GOP "a way to connect fiscal discipline with traditional small-town values," Brooks concludes. "A way to tap into rising populism in a manner that is optimistic, uplifting and nice."