THE MISSING DEPTH OF THOUGHT…. I’ve long considered Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) the Republican version of John Edwards. After one largely underwhelming term, in which he didn’t tackle any noteworthy policy initiatives and failed to distinguished himself as an expert in an area, he starts believing the hype and sees himself as a presidential candidate. All the while, his most notable accomplishment appears to be an ability to impress people with his handsomeness.

That said, Edwards could at least answer relevant questions better than this.

In a brief interview [Wednesday], just above the Senate chamber, Sen. John Thune (R-SC) rejected President Obama’s State of the Union call for broad infrastructure upgrades, citing his opposition to new spending projects and claiming that existing mechanisms for funding current transportation infrastructure projects are basically adequate.

“I understand the goal, but right now this is going to be — anytime you talk about ‘investment’ it means new spending,” Thune told me.

Right. Our global competitors are investing in research and new technologies, superior roads and rail, and making considerable investments in innovative, modern methods of transportation. We could do that here and reap the rewards — job creation, economic development, cleaner air, less congested roads, better public safety, etc.

Thune “understands” all of this, but “investment” means “spending,” and “spending” means “bad.” He added today, “If he’s got ideas about massive new quote investments, that’s code for new spending.”

Yep, he’s quite the visionary.

The senator went on to say that the highway trust fund has “worked very well for a long time,” despite the fact that this really isn’t true.

Naturally, then, Thune may very well take his bold message onto the national stage.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.