Will the real John Thune please step forward?

Though I am a life long Republican, I’m not a big fan of John Thune.   I tend to prefer the more constitutionally aligned Republican’s such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul.  I think of Thune as a Surveillance State Republican.  He’s happy to give up our Fourth Amendment rights when anyone in an intelligence agency says it might help stop a terrorist.  I fear rattle snakes, mountain lions, and cows more than I fear terrorists, and I’d just as soon keep my constitutional rights.

Even so, sometimes Thune will do something that actually makes sense to me, and I’ll think, “maybe Thune is all right after all.”  But then he’ll go and seemingly reverse his position.  I’m left to conclude that Thune responds more to lobbyists and popular opinion than to principled ideology.  And as we’ve seen with Donald Trump and countless times throughout history,  popular opinion can be down right scary.  Here’s some examples of Sen. Thune in action:

  • Last year, Sen. Thune railed against the FCC’s network neutrality initiative claiming that “government regulation could delay the next big transformation of the internet.”   This year, Sen. Thune touted the new regulations in the FAA re-authorization bill  as, “one of the most passenger-friendly FAA re-authorization bills we’ve seen, literally, in a generation.”
  • Back in 2000, then Rep. Thune was in the minority when he voted against a five-year extension of a ban on Internet taxes. … “I think this is partly an attack on states’ rights.” [AP, 5/13/00].  This year Sen. Thune introduced the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act, to permanently ban internet taxation by the states.
  • Late last year Thune introduced the Consumer Review Freedom Act in order to protect the free speech of consumers on the internet.  Jump to this year, and Sen. Thune was launching a probe into editorial decisions for Facebook’s “trending topics” due to  rumors that topics of interest to conservatives may have been suppressed.  Just when did the Senate Commerce Committee get into the business of censoring private internet companies?

So it’s easy to understand how a South Dakotan might be confused about where Sen. Thune stands on the issues.  Be assured though, if you’re a well endowed lobbyist, or you’re in the majority of a Fox News opinion poll, Sen. Thune probably has you covered.

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