So little enthusiasm is there among the grassroots for his candidacy that only now, a good eight hours after the announcement, are we actually getting around to blogging it. Lots of reasons why he’d pass — he’s enjoying the Senate (especially the prospect of a majority in 2012), he’s got plenty of time to reconsider in 2016 or 2020 and beyond, and he’s a D.C. establishment figure — who voted for TARP — at a moment when the base is looking outside the Beltway for leadership. Why bother?

As an old in-joke among Hot Air veterans goes: You know who this benefits? Mitt Romney.

During this time, Kimberley and I and our two daughters have given a great deal of thought to how we might best serve South Dakota and our nation. That process has involved lots of prayer.

Along the way, we have been reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight. And make no mistake that during this period of fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty there is a fight for the future direction of America. There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now. So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.

Is Romney the big winner here, actually? Beside the fact that he’s telegenic, the only rationale for a Thune candidacy that I’ve ever been able to come up with is that he’s almost immaculately generic. No scandals, no paper trail, no baggage of any kind. He’s the human incarnation of the “electability” argument: If you want to make the campaign all about Obama’s record, nominate the most inoffensive, inscrutable, Not-Obama candidate possible. That doesn’t describe Mitt, though, who has RomneyCare and his abortion flip-flop and his record of job “creation” as a business guru to deal with. It’s a more apt description of Pawlenty, whose niche in the primaries will be among voters who don’t want either Palin or Romney. He’s the major beneficiary, I think, especially now that Mitch Daniels’s candidacy is also pretty much over before it began.

Keep him in mind, though, for the bottom of the ticket, for which there must now be a good three dozen names in circulation. Exit question: Dude, seriously — Obama 43, Trump 41?