The appointment of Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint as South Carolina’s new senator is both history-making and good news for conservatives. Senator DeMint, who is leaving Congress to run the Heritage Foundation, is certainly pleased. At a Heritage dinner last week he made little secret of the fact that he wanted Scott to replace him. “He’s a good and decent man with firm convictions,” he told me.
This is the second time that Scott has made history. He becomes the first black senator from the Old Confederacy since Reconstruction. In 2010, he became the first black Republican elected to the House from the South since the 1890s.
His House race that year was drenched in symbolism. Scott ran in the GOP primary for the seat around Charleston against Paul Thurmond, an attorney and the son of one-time segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond. After having dispatched Thurmond easily, Scott won the general election. He took office in time to attend ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the attack on Charleston’s Fort Sumter, which touched off the Civil War.
Scott is an American success story. He grew up poor, his parents divorcing when he was age seven. His mother worked 16 hours a day to provide for two children. Scott was in danger of dropping out of high school when a conservative businessman who ran a Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant inspired him to keep going. After graduating from college, he went into the insurance business and won election to the state legislature in 2008.
You can count on Scott to be a stalwart conservative. He backs the full repeal of Obamacare, has signed the no-new-taxes pledge, and is a major proponent of a simplified tax code.