Our Senator Thune's commitment to common sense will soon be tested as a vote on the increase in the federal debt ceiling is about to take place in the Senate. It already comfortably passed the House, where a sizable number of common sense Republicans voted for the increase. Thune told Denise Ross at the Mitchell Daily Republic yesterday (and I thank Cory Heidelberger over at South Dakota's best political blog The Madville Times for calling my attention to it) that he might try to get a commitment favoring construction of the Keystone XL pipeline before voting in favor of the debt ceiling. I think this is political bluff-ola and that Thune will vote for the debt ceiling increase even without a clear commitment from the White House on the pipeline.
Why do I think so? Because as a card-carrying member of South Dakota's business community (yep, I'm a fully paid up member of the South Dakota Retailers Association and my local Chamber of Commerce) I believe that most of my peers in this business-clique would be outraged by a replay of last October's economic turbulence caused by Republican stubborness over the budget resolution and debt-ceiling increase.
I'm certain that my counterparts around the United States are of the same mindset. Consider that national associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are successfully throwing money and support behind anti-Tea Party candidates (see recent races in Mobile, AL, and northeast LA, which I have no doubt will be templates for races yet to come).
As to templates, the benign resolution of the compromise budget talks of a few days ago even got a "yes" vote from South Dakota's Republican U.S. Rep Kristi Noem. She was part of the cabal that shut down the federal government last October, and will probably be the model for of the way South Dakota reps should vote on the debt ceiling talks. That means the ceiling will be raised and we can all go about our business without a replay of the frenzied atmosphere that blew a sizable hole in the U.S. economy last October. I experienced firsthand (via my tourism industry interests) what shutting down Mt. Rushmore did to South Dakota's economy and would rather not experience that again.
Senator Thune, I expect you to understand that many of us who supported you over the years will be looking forward to your generally common-sense approach to these things. As Paul Ryan noted a few days ago when announcing the budget compromise, "in a divided government you can't always get what you want." You can try sometimes, but you just might find--you'll get what you need. Anarchy is no substitute for getting the business of government done.