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The man who knew too much

I think John Thune's explanation of Bob Corker's occasional heterodoxies is what they call a "Kinsley gaffe":

"I think he’s a guy who’s willing to get down into the weeds," said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who is No. 4 in GOP leadership. "Because he immerses himself in that and understands it so well — the positions he adopts may not always be the ones that everyone else in our conference comes to."

It is true that if you understand policy, you'll frequently come to conclusions at odds with those of the Senate Republican Conference.

Update: Kyle Downey, Thune's press secretary, called to say that this is something of a cheap shot. "Senator Thune was simply being complimentary to Senator Corker," he said. "To interpret this as criticism of his colleagues is ridiculous." And there's something to his point: It's obviously not a bad thing that Thune is standing up for a more moderate member of his party. But I'd still stick with Thune's original comment, and it goes for both sides. If members of the Senate were more knowledgeable about, and more driven by, policy concerns, they'd end up in very different places than they actually do. Wyden-Bennett, for instance, would be the law of the land...

By Ezra Klein  |  May 5, 2010; 2:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

Zing!

Posted by: MosBen | May 5, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope someday honesty won't be a gaffe!

Posted by: jduptonma | May 5, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

look at Ezra being extra snarky today ;-)


actually many believe they understand it but your views of how it should be implemented differ with theirs. Of course it all depends on the specific issue!

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 5, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

there's this strange fixation in republican circles - so pregnant with possibility to speculate about the childhoods of those who hold the fixation - that will and belief are all that matter.

Posted by: howard16 | May 5, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Without video that statement will not get the widespread attention it deserves.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 5, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that Thune didn't mean to insult the rest of his colleges, but the point is that we all took it that way (even his secretary).

If we all understood what he meant, even if he didn't mean it to slip out, then I have to believe there is a far amount of truth to the comment intended or not.

Not a cheap shot at all. His denial of where his party stands is the cheap part.

Posted by: chrynoble | May 5, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

the point of a kinsley gaffe, as thune's press secretary seems not to know, is accidentally telling the truth.

it is the truth that john thune doesn't walk around all day looking for a basis upon which to insult his gop senate colleagues.

but it is also true that in complimenting corker, thune revealed the truth about his colleagues: they don't give a good god-damn about policy when there are propaganda points to be scored by posing as the aggrieved and angered upholder of principle.

Posted by: howard16 | May 5, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Thune's pretty dumb (at least he was when I interacted with him in high school), but I doubt even he would intentionally insult himself.

Posted by: williamcross1 | May 5, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

the problem is that not enough Dems either would sign off on Wyden Bennett either.

Remember in the SFC 1 am meeting it was Kerry and another Dem (i forget off the top of my head who) who shot it down because Raytheon informed Senator Kerry it was a bad idea. It was Senator Ensign that was intrigued by it.

Sad to say you're right about policy issues because Ensign should not be first intrigued by it at this point. He should have known all about it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 6, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

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