Following the dismal results of Republicans in the last election, and amidst all the Republican infighting over the fiscal cliff comes startling news DeMint resigns from Senate to run Heritage Foundation.
Sen. Jim DeMint said Thursday he’ll resign from the Senate to go run the Heritage Foundation, the powerhouse conservative think tank that dominates Republican policy circles.
“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future,” Mr. DeMint said in a statement announcing the news.
He will step down from the Senate in January and will take over for Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner in April.
Mr. DeMint, a tea party favorite who became a major electoral force in the 2010 elections, helping promote tea party candidates in primaries against establishment GOP favorites, said he’s ready to shift to the policy arena.
He said he never intended for the Senate to be a career for him. He previously served six years in the House and won election to the Senate in 2004 and re-election in 2010.
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, a Republican will get to appoint a replacement so the seat will remain in Republican hands.
DeMint: “I’ve decided to join the Heritatage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas”
DeMint Seeks to “Harden the Jello”
The Financial Times has some interesting comments in DeMint resigns from US Senate.
Mr DeMint’s departure comes amid difficult budget negotiations over the US fiscal cliff, $600bn worth of tax increases and spending cuts that are triggered on January 1 unless the White House and Republicans can reach a deal.
Mr DeMint sharply criticised the Republican leadership in Congress this week for its budget proposal to Mr Obama offering extra tax revenues, even though they are gained through the close of loopholes rather than by lifting rates.
It is not the only reason why many Republicans may be happy to see the back of Mr DeMint, who angered colleagues in the last two elections by backing and funding extremely conservative candidates to run for the Senate, with disastrous results.
In both 2010 and 2012, Republicans failed to gain control of the Senate when they were well positioned to win, in large part because a number of DeMint-backed candidates were judged by voters to be outside the mainstream.
In an interview with the Financial Times last year, Mr DeMint said his main focus was getting more staunch conservatives into the Senate to harden the “jello” in the middle of Republican ranks.
Clearly Jim DeMint thinks he will have more influence heading up a special interest group rather than staying inside the US Senate.
I highly doubt that. More importantly, let’s hope not. A majority of US citizens favor reductions in military spending, and do not favor extreme stances on abortion.
Indeed, extreme positions of the Tea Party on military spending and abortion are two reasons Republicans lost the WhiteHouse and seats in the US Senate as well.
A genuinely moderate, non-wishy-washy Republican candidate might have won the election. More militant extremism is highly unlikely to do Republicans any good.
I would like to see Republicans take up a true fiscal-conservative cause (including reductions in military spending), while leaving the social issues aside.
Many independents are in the same camp, and ignoring independent voters is no way to win elections. Didn’t the last election just prove that?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock