Tags: Jim DeMint

Needed: Conservative Leaders in for the Long Haul


Sarah Palin chose to resign as governor of Alaska in 2009, and then declined to pursue a 2012 presidential bid.

After the 2012 election, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina stepped down as senator to head up the Heritage Foundation.

In Florida, Allen West lost his bid for reelection to Congress in 2012, and he now serves as “Director of Next Generation Programming” at PJ Media and is a contributor to Fox News.

Now Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has decided to retire from Congress.

Joe Scarborough cites Palin, West, Bachmann, and Hermain Cain and argues that their ascents and declines illustrate how “flamboyance” rarely translates into a lasting political impact.

Of course, flamboyance doesn’t necessarily mean political doom. Congress and the governors’ mansions still include plenty of Republicans who are hardly shrinking violets: Senators ;Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, and Tim Scott, Representatives Darrell Issa, Jason Chaffetz, and Steve King, Governors Nikki Haley, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal. Virginia’s attorney general and GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli might fit that bill.

But the conservative movement probably ought to examine why some of their most prominent leaders elected to high office voluntarily depart the scene when they would seem to still have a lot of metaphorical gas left in the tank. Running for reelection is difficult — particularly difficult, as West learned, when the district lines shift, or if one’s state or district isn’t as certain in its embrace of conservatism as you are. Being a leader outside of office, giving paid speeches, doing media appearances, writing books . . . that’s much easier on the officeholder, his or her personal finances, and their family.

It’s hard to blame someone for wanting the less difficult path. And yet, it’s much harder for the conservative movement to move the ball forward if its leaders depart after a while.

Tags: Michele Bachmann , Allen West , Sarah Palin , Jim DeMint , Herman Cain

Haley: I’m Not Appointing Myself to the U.S. Senate


Governor Nikki Haley today released the following statement regarding U.S. Senator Jim DeMint’s retirement and the process of filling the vacancy it creates:

Appointing a new member of the U.S. Senate is a solemn duty, and I take this responsibility with utmost seriousness. I will make this decision in a manner that is thoughtful and dignified, but also quickly.

I want to make two things clear from the outset. Number one, I will not take the appointment myself. Number two, I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share.

With all the challenges we face as a state and nation, it is essential that the next senator from South Carolina be dedicated to the principles that our state most values.

I am told that one of the names I mentioned yesterday, state senator Tom Davis, has indicated he is not interested in the appointment and has communicated that to Haley’s office. He is citing unfinished business in his work in the legislature.

Tags: Jim DeMint , Nikki Haley , Republican National Convention

The Grim Side of DeMint’s Move to Heritage


The final Morning Jolt of the week closes with some downbeat thoughts about Jim DeMint’s departure:

Wait, Where Are You Going, Senator DeMint? How Can You Go Now?

You’ll pardon me if I’m not relentlessly upbeat about Thursday’s big news:

South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina’s junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.

Sen. DeMint’s departure means that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, will name a successor, who will have to run in a special election in 2014. In that year, both Mr. DeMint’s replacement and Sen. Lindsey Graham will be running for reelection in South Carolina.

Mr. DeMint was reelected to a second term in 2010. The 61-year-old senator had announced earlier that he would not seek a third term.

It’s easy to see the appeal of this move to DeMint; as one fan of the senator put it to me Thursday, this is just about the most active role a senator can take after leaving office, short of the presidency or perhaps some of the bigger cabinet slots. And running the Heritage Foundation is, quite literally, a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

And this is just about the best possible news for Heritage; who better to replace Feulner than an extremely prominent lawmaker, with unparalleled admiration and trust from grassroots conservatives? I suspect the Heritage Foundation’s fundraising is going to be off-the-charts in the coming year.

But if the move is great for DeMint and Heritage, it may be not so great for you and me and the rest of the conservative movement.

The issue isn’t really who replaces DeMint; whoever South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley chooses, they’re going to be a reliable Republican and probably a reliable conservative (at least by national standards, if not by South Carolina standards). Of course, whoever the new guy is, he’ll be a rookie. DeMint had established himself as the guy willing to be the lightning rod, to be willing to back the Marco Rubios against the Charlie Crists and the Pat Toomeys against the Arlen Specters. He was willing to take the heat and the flak, and in the process provide some cover for some other lawmakers who might have been less politically secure, less able to take strong stands in less heavily-Republican states. DeMint’s replacement will have big shoes to fill.

The bigger problem is the signal this sends about the prospects for the conservative movement for the next four years or so.

Two years into a six year term, DeMint decided there was nothing going on in the Senate worth sticking around for, at least in the near future – another four years of President Obama, another two to four years of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. No conservative reform likely to be enacted, no likely prospect of constructive compromise, nothing likely to get done. That is some depressing stuff there, brother.

We have a movement full of people who love their country and who are terrified of the course that it continues to careen along. We go to them, and we ask them for their votes, for their time, and for their money. And they give all of those. One of the things we have asked them to do is help elect lawmakers like Jim DeMint . . .

. . . and then DeMint sees something he wants to do more than serve in the Senate and suddenly he leaves without warning. And he does it right after our movement feels like it’s been kicked in the teeth by the electorate.

I mean, if Jim DeMint doesn’t see any point to remaining in the Senate for the next few years . . . why should we be so focused on the Senate ourselves?

Because he’s not the only Republican lawmaker to follow his reelection with a sudden announcement of a departure to a high-paying private sector gig:

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) will retire from the House in February of next year, cutting her tenure short to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and setting off a Republican frenzy for her seat. Emerson will become CEO of the NRECA on March 1, according to a spokesman for the association, but she will join the staff and start transition activities on Feb. 11. The group is the trade organization for the nation’s nearly 1,000 mostly rural electric cooperative utilities.

The NRECA executive board voted to approve her for the post on Monday, and Emerson announced her resignation shortly after. She said that her compensation in the new position is “more generous than I’m making now.”

The range of salaries for vice presidents at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is $135,000 to $322,000, so we can take a guess at how well the CEO is paid.

Tags: Jim DeMint , The Senate

The Contenders to Replace DeMint


Jim DeMint’s sudden resignation from the Senate to head up the Heritage Foundation makes a lot of sense for him (the preeminent position at one of, if not the, most preeminent conservative think tanks, his to enjoy for perhaps decades) and a lot of sense for the organization.

But there’s reason for a lot of conservatives to feel disappointed. There’s been an accusation – sometimes fair, sometimes not – that some conservative lawmakers want to take a pure and uncompromising stance, but who prefer to do so safely from the metaphorical sidelines. Conservatives complain that they never get one of their own in leadership in the House or Senate, but any conservative who did would run the risk of acknowledging the hard truth of the job: sometimes the best deal you can get is half a loaf. And once you became the guy who negotiated the “half a loaf” deal, you lose your “true conservative” street cred.

I’m hearing some folks say DeMint will be able to fight for his causes better at Heritage than from within the U.S. Senate, and that strikes me as debatable. He’s going from a position where he can influence the writing of legislation to a position where he can influence the writing of white papers. Is he really going to have more success persuading lawmakers as a head of a think tank – even one as respected and well-regarded as Heritage – than as a colleague?

In the meantime, this sets up a free-for-all in the sharp-elbowed world of South Carolina Republican politics, and greatly lessens the chance of a serious conservative challenge to Lindsey Graham.

Governor Nikki Haley is going to have a lot of options to choose from in the coming days or weeks:

  • Congressman Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in Congress starting in January 2013. CNN is reporting that DeMint has indicated he would prefer Scott as his successor.
  • Congressman Mick Mulvaney, a Tea Party favorite who pulled off an upset victory over longtime incumbent Democrat John Spratt in 2010.
  • Congressman Trey Gowdy, who beat incumbent Bob Inglis in the 2010 primary in his district, who has proven a tenacious fighter on the Judiciary Committee and Government Reform Committee and sometimes feuded with the House Republican leadership.
  • Former State Attorney General Henry McMaster, a former U.S. Attorney under Ronald Reagan who ran for governor against Haley in 2010 and endorsed her in the runoff.
  • State Sen. Tom Davis, popular in his Low Country district and once frequently-mentioned as a possible challenger to Graham; surprised some Republicans by backing Ron Paul in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.
  • State Attorney General Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson. The younger Wilson was just elected in 2010 to a four-year term, and he may not be eager to leave so soon.

Rep. Joe Wilson has been asked about running for statewide office many times and indicated he’s happy with his role in the House.

Keep in mind that any of the above figured who are not picked as DeMint’s interim successor could very well challenge the picked successor or Graham in the 2014 primaries.

I can’t begrudge DeMint or Heritage this decision, but a lot of headaches are going to flow forth from this…

Tags: Henry McMaster , Jim DeMint , Lindsey Graham , Mick Mulvaney , Tim Scott , Republican National Convention , Trey Gowdy

Sen. Jim DeMint to Resign, Take Over Heritage Foundation



South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina’s junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.

Sen. DeMint’s departure means that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, will name a successor, who will have to run in a special election in 2014. In that year, both Mr. DeMint’s replacement and Sen. Lindsey Graham will be running for reelection in South Carolina.

That’s fantastic news for Lindsey Graham, as any conservative Republican who was contemplating challenging him in the primary may either be picked by Haley as the interim senator, and/or challenge the interim senator in the other primary instead.

Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, issued the following statement:

“Jim is not just a colleague; he is a friend and a mentor, and his departure will be a tremendous loss for the U.S. Senate and for the conservative movement. In eight years, he has personally led the effort to change the composition of the Senate for the better, and provided consistent and principled leadership in the fight for liberty and limited government. He will be missed. I’m confident he will continue to play an important role in the ongoing public debate about the future of this country, and I wish him the best in his new position.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund, which DeMint founded, responds:

Senator Jim DeMint has been one of the strongest voices in Congress for American taxpayers and we thank him for his outstanding service to this nation,” said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins. “Senator DeMint has consistently fought for conservative policies and he’s helped elect a new generation of conservatives who will continue this legacy.We fully support Senator DeMint’s decision to lead The Heritage Foundation. As a citizen legislator, he was set to leave the Senate at the end of this term, but this new role puts him in a powerful position to fight for conservative principles for many years to come. And we’re confident Governor Haley will select a good replacement who will continue DeMint’s principled leadership in the Senate. This is a win-win for the conservative movement.

Senator DeMint founded the Senate Conservatives Fund and helped it raise over $25 million to help elect eight outstanding candidates to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012. These leaders include Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) as well as Senators-elect Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

DeMint cut his formal ties to SCF earlier this year, making it a non-affiliated, multi-candidate PAC. SCF will carry on DeMint’s vision by working to elect even more principled leaders to the U.S. Senate in 2014 and beyond.

Tags: Jim DeMint , Lindsey Graham

Ted Cruz-es to Another Big Endorsement in Texas


Ted Cruz continues to rack up the endorsements in the Texas GOP Senate primary: Formal endorsements from FreedomWorks PAC, Red State, the Club for Growth PAC, a glowing column from George Will, and now, Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund:

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, chairman of the Senate Conservatives Fund, announced the endorsement of former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz for the open U.S. Senate seat in Texas.

“I am very proud to endorse Ted Cruz for the Senate seat in Texas,” said Senator DeMint. “He’s the strongest conservative in the race and he’s earned the support of the grassroots in Texas. Ted Cruz has a deep appreciation for the U.S. Constitution and he’s someone conservatives can count on to fight for the principles of freedom that make America great.”

“An establishment candidate with deep pockets will enter this race soon so it’s even more important now for freedom-loving Americans to unite behind Ted Cruz. He’s put together a very strong campaign but needs help from Texans and folks across the country to win.”

That “establishment candidate with deep pockets” that DeMint is referring to is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Cruz joins Josh Mandel in Ohio as DeMint-endorsed Republican candidates.

spoke to Cruz earlier this year; one of his comments included:

To my mind, what this primary is about in Texas is helping to provide real leadership to stand up and stop the Obama agenda. One thing that I have told Tea Party activists around the state is that if I simply go to Washington and serve in the U.S. Senate and vote correctly, 100 percent all the time, I will consider myself an abject failure. I’ve asked them to hold me accountable — if that’s all I do, hold me accountable for not doing my job. The reason I’m running is not merely to vote right. What we have a desperate need for is real leadership to stand up and defend free-market principles. And if I am not helping lead the fight, standing there with arrows in my torso, I will not be doing my job.

For too long, there have been a few lonely leaders in Washington, such as Jim DeMint in the Senate and Paul Ryan in the House. 2010 provided them with much-needed reinforcement — some very strong leaders such as Mike Lee and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. But what this election is all about is helping provide leadership to defend free-market principles and stop the Obama agenda.

Tags: David Dewhurst , Jim DeMint , Ted Cruz

Sen. Jim DeMint Endorses Josh Mandel for Senate in Ohio


Interesting, and somewhat surprising news about an early endorsement from Jim DeMint in Ohio:

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, chairman of the Senate Conservatives Fund, announced the endorsement of State Treasurer Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate in Ohio.

“Josh Mandel is a proven conservative leader who has the courage to stand up to the big spenders in both political parties,” said DeMint. “Having served two tours in Iraq and having been elected to local and state offices in Ohio, Josh Mandel has served his country and his state with distinction. This man is a leader and we need him in the United States Senate.”

Josh Mandel is the candidate supported by the grassroots,” said DeMint. “Our members in Ohio are very excited about his candidacy and they’ve urged us to support his Senate campaign. We’re answering the call today, and we’re pledging to do everything we can to help the people of Ohio elect a new senator who shares their values.”

He served 8 years in the Marine Corps Reserves, 3 years as a city councilman, 4 years as a state legislator, and is currently the state treasurer in Ohio. As city councilman, Josh Mandel led the fight for the first property tax rollback in his city’s history. In the state legislature, he stood up to the teacher’s unions to expand school choices for children with special needs. And as state treasurer, he has cut spending and is working to make state government more transparent.

“This is a remarkable young man who has accomplished more in then last 10 years than most senators accomplish in lifetime,” said DeMint. “His hard work and dedication to the principles of freedom make him the ideal candidate to take on Sherrod Brown next year.”

For more information about Josh Mandel and the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Ohio, visit

Probably disappointing news for Ken Blackwell. Blackwell announced he’s not running for Senate. Sigh. This is what happens when I don’t follow the news on my vacation.

Tags: Jim DeMint , Josh Mandell

DeMint Ally: No Endorsement of Romney Unless He Admits HC Mistake


Mitt Romney hears some kind words for the way he handled health care in Massachusetts from . . . Jim DeMint? (HT: Jen Rubin.)

“One of the reasons I endorsed Romney [in 2008] is his attempts to make private health insurance available at affordable prices,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), a GOP kingmaker.

DeMint blames Democrats in the Massachusetts State Legislature for adding many of the features to Romney’s plan that many on the right decry.

“It just depends on how he plays it. For me, I think he started with some good ideas that were essentially hijacked by the Democrat Legislature,” DeMint said.

A short while ago, I Tweeted, “Jim DeMint says nice things about Romney. “Of all the RINO sleeper agents, I never figured you, DeMint.”

It was enough to get a source close to DeMint to write in:

DeMint was probably trying to be nice about the Governor’s intentions years ago. But I can tell you this: he wouldn’t even consider endorsing Romney again unless he admitted what’s obvious to everyone, that his Massachusetts health care plan was a colossal mistake.

Lest anyone read into my Tweet too much, I think highly of DeMint and think highly of Romney and I think “RINO” is an increasingly elastic and unhelpful term in debating modern GOP politics. In fact, “RINO” is almost as worn-out an accusation as “racist.” For almost every presidential candidate or major GOP figure, you can find a grassroots conservative blogger or media figure calling him or her a RINO:

Mitt Romney? RINO.

Tim Pawlenty? RINO.

Mike Huckabee? RINO.

Mitch Daniels? RINO.

Haley Barbour? RINO.

Jon Huntsman? RINO.

Newt Gingrich? RINO.

Chris Christie? RINO.

Michele Bachmann? RINO. Really.

Ron Paul? RINO.

Sarah Palin? On probation for her endorsement of Carly Fiorina.

Okay. I have yet to find anyone calling Herman Cain a RINO. And while Rick Santorum caught some flak for an off-the-cuff comment about Sarah Palin and balancing family and a campaign, I have yet to see someone labeling him “RINO.”

RINOhood, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

UPDATE: Spoke too soon on Santorum!

Tags: 2012 , Jim DeMint , Mitt Romney

From Nir Rosen to the Muppet Lobby


Some nights and early mornings, the Jolt almost writes itself . . .

As OneRepublic Said, ‘It’s Too Late to Apologize.’

Well, that’s resolved. In part.

Should we feel good that Nir Rosen has resigned from NYU’s Center on Law and Security? I’m sure many will. I’m somewhat relieved that NYU didn’t confirm my worst suspicions and respond with a pro forma, ‘I’m sorry if anyone is offended, now let’s sing kumbaya’ that we’ve seen academic administrators deploy in previous egregious controversies.

Rosen’s apology can be found here.

I remain close to my sense that this kind of a reaction goes beyond political incorrectness or controversy to suggest a lack of empathy that offers a profoundly disturbing suggestion about Rosen’s psychology. Apologize? Resign? In a way those are almost beside the point, presuming the fallout from this doesn’t trigger some sort of wholesale reevaluation of the way he sees the world. In short, he needs to start seeing people as people and not abstract representations of good and bad political figures.

To hear this awful, awful news about Logan and decide that right then and there, you have to express your grievances about her coverage of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, or her war coverage, or to declare that you’re out of sympathy here? Or the idea that a sexual assault against Anderson Cooper would have been funny?

Who needs to do this? Who needs to take every little bit of information, even the shocking and stomach-turning, and say, “See, this proves I was right?” Is it driven by insecurity? Are figures like this so terrified of having their beliefs challenged that they can’t see it as a human tragedy beyond the realm of our ordinary political debates? Must every new development of the day be processed and categorized as a new variety of supporting evidence proving argument X or point Y?

(A couple of folks have written in, in a frustratingly nagging tone, saying, “Well, what about Debbie Schlussel and Jim Hoft? Huh? Huh? What about them?” I tuned Schussel out back when she wrote that I was writing in captivity over in Turkey and that I must be “Jimmy Carter Geraghty.” Get it? Get it? You see, because I have the same first name as a former president, she’s creatively and wittily putting the two names together, suggesting that I’m on the same page as him! Hooboy! Hilarity! Touché, Ms. Schlussel. Clearly, your all-nighter thinking that one up that proved worthwhile.)

You’ve seen Hoft in this newsletter before, and you’ll see this again. The only thing I’d say to him is that when you’re writing with strong emotions, you can end up writing things you regret. I’ve met Hoft, he seems like a reasonable guy with a good head on his shoulders, so I have a hard time believing that he really thinks that Logan believed that she would be treated differently than other Western reporters. I’ll let him speak for himself regarding this post; I’d note that even if one doesn’t intend to blame the victim, a poorly chosen word or two can inadvertently leave that impression.

I also discuss Sen. Jim DeMint’s mockery of Democrats defending PBS by holding publicity stunts with “The Muppet Lobby.” A key point: “When reached for comment, Cookie Monster responded to DeMint’s argument by declaring, ‘NOM NOM NOM COO-KIE NOM NOM NOM.’”

Tags: Jim DeMint , Nir Rosen , PBS

South Carolina’s Professional Political Class Won’t Want a DeMint Bid


Over the weekend, one of the big rumors is the possibility of a 2012 bid from Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican:

Aides to U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said last week that DeMint will attend a March conference in Des Moines.

Ann Trimble-Ray, a spokeswoman for the conservative western Iowa congressman, called the event a “daylong conference for Iowa conservatives.” It will be held March 26.

DeMint — a leading voice for conservatives, especially those in the Tea Party movement — has been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, interest he has disclaimed.

But his visit to Iowa likely will re-spark speculation about his possible presidential plans, thanks to Iowa’s role as the first state to hold presidential caucuses. The event is also unusual for King, because it is being held in Des Moines rather than his western Iowa district.

However, it’s worth considering this cautionary note from one of my regulars, a GOP consultant who works in a key primary state:

Does Jim DeMint really understand what he’s stepping into? A few people have tweeted about how some South Carolina folk might oppose the idea of him running for president because it might “diminish” South Carolina’s “importance” in the nominating process. “Importance” isn’t what it’s about. It’s about money. If Jim DeMint runs, nobody in South Carolina makes any money off the Presidential campaign. The state’s campaign would be like when Tom Harkin ran for president in Iowa…dullsville [and a foregone conclusion]. Nobody makes money. If DeMint goes too far with this, expect some “scandal” to crop up. It won’t involve hiking the Appalachian Trail, but they’ll find something…

The South Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary experience of Nikki Haley demonstrated that vicious, unverified allegations against front-running Republicans are an unfortunate fact of political life in the Palmetto State…

UPDATE: Jeff Dobbs writes in with a grand compromise: “Run, Jim, Run! But only on one, very specific and critical condition: DeMint must resign his Senate seat, and Governor Haley must commit to appointing Alvin Greene as his replacement. Otherwise, I’m not interested.”

Tags: Jim DeMint

The Democratic Congress, Determined to Go Out With a Bang


From Wednesday’s edition of the Morning Jolt . . .

An Abominable Obamnibus

Boy, it wouldn’t be the last gasps of the Democrat-run Congress without one more last-minute avalanche of runaway spending, huh? The Hill sets the stage: “Senate Democrats have filed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through fiscal year 2011, according to Senate GOP sources. The 1,924-page bill includes funding to implement the sweeping healthcare reform bill Congress passed earlier this year as well as additional funds for Internal Revenue Service agents, according to a senior GOP aide familiar with the legislation. The package drew a swift rebuke from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. ‘The attempt by Democrat leadership to rush through a nearly 2,000-page spending bill in the final days of the lame-duck session ignores the clear will expressed by the voters this past election,’ Thune said in a statement. ‘This bill is loaded up with pork projects and should not get a vote. Congress should listen to the American people and stop this reckless spending.’”

Late last night, our own Robert Costa talked to Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who “warned National Review Online on Monday about Reid’s potential maneuver. ‘Sounds like they want to dual-track [the START treaty] with the terrible omnibus bill,’ he said. ‘I’m really concerned . . . . I’m not going to be sleeping very well this week.’ Wesley Denton, a DeMint spokesman, tells NRO that despite pressure from Reid, the South Carolinian plans to read aloud the omnibus bill, for as long as it takes. He will point out that the Senate could easily pass a continuing resolution sans pork-laden projects.”

There are no really bad four letter words in this post from Pat Austin, blogging at And So It Goes in Shreveport; but you can tell she’s* a little hot under the collar. Eh, make that supernova under the collar: “You should never, EVER blog when drunk or furious. Ever. Considering that my head is about to explode and that I should definitely be drinking, I probably shouldn’t even be typing my name right now, much less attempting to read the Proof-That-Harry-Reid-Has-Lost-His-Mind Crap-Laden-One-Way-Ticket-To-The-Loony-Bin-For-Life Omnibus bill. No, I’m not drunk, but I oughta be to get through this piece of bovine excrement spending bill. Is he freakin’ CRAZY? Don’t answer that. Is he KIDDING here? Don’t answer that, either. And what in the HELL is wrong with these ‘Republicans’ who are thinking about going along with this crap-sandwich? Did they learn NOTHING from the November election? Let me suggest that this is way, WAY out of the scope and function of a lame duck Congress. Way way. There is no freakin’ way that this thing should go through as is. Who in the hell is going to read a 2,000 page piece of crap like this ever, much less right now when they’re all trying to get out of there for Christmas?”

Hugh Hewitt wants to see the Republicans make an all-out stand: “The House and Senate GOP have to gum up the entire works until the Senate Democrats agree to stop the bum’s rush of bad legislation. Where are the conservative Bernie Sanders? The public also has to use the time to let the 23 Democrats on the ballot in 2012 know that a vote for lame duck spending won’t be forgotten over the next two years. I wish the Senate GOP would have seen this coming when they quickly agreed to the absurd deal that has become a Christmas Tree of special interest giveaways.”

* Originally referred to Pat Austin as a “he.” My apologies.

Tags: Harry Reid , Jim DeMint

Did the GOP Compromise Too Early?


In today’s Morning Jolt, equal time for an argument contrary to my own views:

Did the GOP Concede Too Early?

A few moments of equal time here, for a theory that I’m not quite on board with, but is worth hearing nonetheless. Hugh Hewitt is convinced the GOP erred greatly by agreeing to this deal at this point. His argument is twofold: First, the GOP shouldn’t be cutting deals with Obama behind closed doors less than a month after winning great victories by pledging better openness and accountability in Washington. Second, he suspects that even a week later, the GOP would have been able to force Obama to even greater concessions, including potentially a permanent extension of all of the Bush-era tax rates.

Hugh makes his case: “As Rush pointed out on his show this past hour, the GOP could have gotten so much more. President Obama would never have allowed taxes to go up on the middle class. Never. What the D.C. GOP failed to grasp and what is now the source of anger among its supporters beyond the terms themselves is that for the past two years the D.C. GOP has been complaining bitterly and appropriately about being excluded from the process of governing. No sooner does the D.C. GOP get welcomed into the governing councils of the Beltway but they in turn exclude the people who sent them there, and not just the scores of newly elected representatives and senators who were not consulted on this “deal,” but the millions of people who worked and contributed to the victory of November 2. All it would have taken was a a request for input on various terms from the Republican negotiators to the new members of Congress and an invitation to the public to weigh in. But the old guard took it upon themselves to decide for the rest of the country what should be in the deal, and in so doing reverted to the form that brought about the Gang of 14 and immigration fiasco.”

Last night on Hugh’s program, South Carolina Jim DeMint sounded like he was inclined to agree with that position: “You know, I hesitate to pounce right on them and criticize them, because I wasn’t in the room doing the negotiation. And they may have felt after being there that this was the best we can do. Frankly, I don’t think the President is going to let us leave town without extending tax rates for at least the middle class. So I think we had a lot of leverage. I don’t want to second-guess my leadership, but frankly, I think we need to come away with a lot better than this. We cannot increase the deficit, or keep increasing deficit spending. So again, I’m trying not to be too hard on the people who’ve done this, but we’ve worked too hard, and Americans worked too hard to elect us. And like you said, I think our new members should have a say in what we’re doing here. So it wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all if we pushed this whole things into next year.”

I also was on Hugh’s show last night, and my counter-query to Hugh was what he thought the GOP’s highest priority in the negotiations should have been. I’d submit that preventing the higher tax rates from taking effect January 1 was near the top, if not at the top. Sure, eventually some sort of full or partial tax cut plan would go into place later in the year, but the New Year’s Day tax hike would have been a serious kick in the ribs for an economy that’s already on all fours and coughing. Sure, the resulting economic pain would have probably hurt Obama, but the partisan benefit would have come at great cost to the national interest. Besides, having this whole debate again the fall of 2012 seems pretty appealing right now.

Tags: 2012 , Barack Obama , Congressional Republicans , Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint, Determining Who’s Naughty and Nice


Jim DeMint’s making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s gonna pay a price . . .

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) is turning his attention to 2012 and using the vote this week on an earmark moratorium to pick his Democratic targets.

DeMint sent an email to the supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund early Wednesday highlighting four Democrats who voted against the earmark ban, are up for re-election in 2012 and sit in states that John McCain (R) carried in 2008: Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).

I would not be surprised to see DeMint-backed GOP challengers to Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jim Webb in Virginia, and Bill Nelson of Florida, as those are electorates that have swung rather heavily towards Republicans in recent years, and appear to be ripe territory for an aspiring conservative senator.

Any state that elects Roy Blunt by a healthy margin and rejects Obamacare by a wide margin (Missouri), elects Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli (Virginia), or elects Marco Rubio and Rick Scott (Florida) has at least potential to elect a DeMint-esque senator.

Tags: 2012 , Jim DeMint

I Think Jim DeMint Will Be Okay


Rasmussen suggests that Jim DeMint, Republican senator of South Carolina, might be able to hold on to his seat:


Republican Senator Jim DeMint earns his highest level of support yet in his bid for reelection in South Carolina.  

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely South Carolina Voters finds DeMint, who is seeking a second six-year term, earning 64% of the vote, while Democrat Alvin Greene earns 21% support.  Ten percent (10%) prefer another candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

Man, poll results like this are enough to make a man howl at the moon.

Elsewhere in South Carolina, Nikki Haley’s ascension continues:


Republican Nikki Haley continues to hold a comfortable lead over Democrat Vincent Sheheen in South Carolina’s gubernatorial race.

The latest Ramussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in South Carolina shows Haley with 50% support to Sheheen’s 33%. Four percent (4%) like some other candidate in the race, and 13% remain undecided.

Tags: Alvin Greene , Jim DeMint

Just Win, Baby, and Be Careful With Your Draft Picks


I chatted with Will Cain of “Off the Page” this morning about the National Republican Senatorial Committee and its recent troubles — Murkowski, Specter, Crist.

He offered the question of whether you would rather have 60 Lindsey Grahams or 40 Jim DeMints. That’s a pretty stark difference, and thankfully life rarely gives us such wildly disparate options. Any GOP Senate caucus is going to have some moderates, some conservative stalwarts, and some lawmakers who fall somewhere in between.

Will lays out his love for ideologues here. As I tried to say, and I’m not sure how well it came across, I want the most conservative electable official I can get in every district and in every state. If Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are about as far right as you can get and still win a statewide race in Maine, then I want the two of them. If Scott Brown deviating from his party on every third vote is what it takes for him to win reelection in Massachuetts, so be it; Martha Coakley would be voting against the GOP position three out of three times.

A guy who checks all the boxes and holds all the right positions but who can’t win is good for some debate entertainment and not much else. That kind of a candidate is Alan Keyes. That kind of a candidate lets the other side not even have to sweat winning the election. It’s odd; the people who talk the most about how they want to stand for principle, and how they oppose conceding any ideological positions find themselves conceding many winnable House and Senate seats.

If you want to influence policy, you need the votes in the legislature to do it. If you want that, 99 times out of 100 you’re going to need a coalition, and that means having some folks who aren’t with you 100 percent of the time on every issue. If we get big Republican majorities in the House and Senate, we’ll find ways to get conservative ideas enacted into law. If we have big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, our ideas are effectively dead.

Interestingly, both Will and I referred to the “just win, baby” slogan attributed to Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, a now-ironic comment considering how terrible the Raiders have been for so long.

Show me a principled, dedicated, and noble loser and you know what you have? A loser.

UPDATE: Our chat is up:

Tags: Jim DeMint , Lindsey Graham , Scott Brown

Action Figure Hits 20 Percent


For those of you who have wondered how the man calling for economic prosperity through action figures was doing in South Carolina, Rasmussen offers some insight:

Mystery man Alvin Greene has been the subject of more media coverage this election cycle than any other political candidate, but right now he trails incumbent Republican Jim DeMint by over 40 points in South Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely South Carolina Voters finds DeMint earning 62% support, while Greene, his Democratic challenger, picks up 20% of the vote.

Put another way, South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen is only 15 percentage points ahead of Greene.

Tags: Alvin Greene , Jim DeMint , Vincent Sheheen

Alvin Greene, Proving American Politics Is Never Predictable


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It’s Not Easy Being Greene, but Apparently He Wins Easily

So let’s dissect what we know about Alvin Greene, the Democrats’ choice to run against incumbent Republican Jim DeMint. The Island Packet summarizes: “Greene, an unemployed 32-year-old who lives with his parents in Manning, was hardly visible on the campaign trail, even ignoring a stump rally in his hometown. Still, he trounced rival Democrat Vic Rawl, a former judge and state lawmaker who serves on Charleston County Council. Greene spent no money campaigning and did not have a website, but improbably captured 59 percent of the vote and won all but four counties. Rawl campaigned across the state, raised about $250,000, sent out about 260,000 e-mails, and was left scratching his head Tuesday night as results came in. The day after the election, Rawl canceled a fundraising event he had scheduled for today for his expected November campaign and kicked himself for not investigating his opponent’s background. ‘I feel kind of silly that we didn’t check all of that, but then again, why would we?’ he said. ‘I never met him, never saw a sign, never saw a bumper sticker.’”

The Washington Post adds, “in a three-hour interview, the unemployed military veteran could not name a single specific thing he’d done to campaign . . . He faces felony obscenity charges for allegedly showing pornography to a University of South Carolina student last November.”

I like the Al Green theory; Don Surber offers one that works if the voters had seen both candidates, which at this point doesn’t seem to have been the case: “Greene is black, Rawl is white. In identity politics, maybe the overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters decided that they could beat incumbent Republican Senator Jim DeMint (who was re-nominated) with a black man. It may just be identity politics.”

In Rightworld, there’s skepticism of the popular theory that somehow he’s a pawn of the South Carolina Republicans. Allahpundit, writing at Hot Air: “To answer Olby’s question about whether Greene’s a GOP plant, the more I think about it, the more implausible it seems. If you were a Republican strategist desperate to clear a path to victory for your party’s nominee, why would you bother with shenanigans in a state like South Carolina, where DeMint’s a mortal lock to be re-elected? And if you’re going to go to the trouble of choosing a plant and risking all the bad publicity and possible criminal repercussions that come with that, wouldn’t you plant someone who’s a tad more compelling? The goal would be to lose the general election to DeMint but to win the primary, and to do that most strategists would assume they needed a plant with some minimal degree of competence. As it turns out, they would have been dead wrong — but not until the votes were tallied could anyone have known that. Plus, like DrewM says, this is the South Carolina GOP we’re talking about. At this point, does anyone think that crew could pull this off?”

Would you entrust Alvin Greene with a grand conspiracy to pull a massive con on the voters of South Carolina? Let’s start smaller: would you trust Alvin Greene to water your plants while you’re away?

Keep in mind that even if the $10,000 check that got Greene into the race originated from a joint PAC operated by the Illuminati, the Bilderbergs, NBA referees and the Stonecutters, you still can’t get around the wonderfully weird fact that roughly 99,000 South Carolina Democrats voted for him knowing almost nothing about him, twenty percentage points over a standard issue local-official/sacrificial lamb.

Frank J: “Alvin Greene is [so] horrible as a candidate I can’t bring myself to make fun of him. It just seems cruel.”

Then again, he suddenly appeared out of nowhere, disappeared just as fast, and then with no discernable effort cleaned the clock of all his foes. Who is Alvin Greene? Based on available evidence, just the flippin-flappin’ Kaiser Soze of American politics. Senator DeMint, don’t underestimate this guy!

Tags: Alvin Greene , Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint, With a Kind Word or Two About Tim Scott


South Carolina senator Jim DeMint — you know, General Wellington, who’s taking on the weirdo who won the Democratic primary — is praising Tim Scott, one of the Republicans in a runoff in the Palmetto State’s 1st congressional district. (This praise is not an endorsement, I’m told.)

DeMint said:

Tim is making a strong statement against wasteful Washington spending. It takes courage to fight the culture of earmarks and I commend him for it. Those who come to Washington believing it’s their job to bring home the bacon become part of the problem the moment they take the oath of office.

Tim Scott’s first ad of the runoff:

Tags: Jim DeMint , Tim Scott

Everyone Who Argued Jim DeMint Is Vulnerable, Go Sit in the Corner


Perhaps the South Carolina Republicans I hang around with are too cocky, but I have a tough time seeing any of their conservative congressional incumbents getting in trouble this year*. Yes, I know the guy who is running against Rep. Joe Wilson raised a ton of money.  But Joe Wilson had more primary votes yesterday than any other House member in the state, including House majority whip Jim Clyburn.

For example, I find it almost impossible to imagine a scenario where Jim DeMint loses this year. Some local pollsters recently contended otherwise:

According to our May 18th telephone survey DeMint’s job approval and re-elect numbers are well below the marks of a strong incumbent. Only 53% of all voters currently approve of his job performance while only 48% of all voters are likely to support his re-election. In a head to head question with Democratic challenger Vic Rawl, DeMint gets 50% of the vote to Rawl’s 43%. It is important to note that Rawl has never run for statewide office and has not aired any TV ads during this primary season.

Yeah, well, that Democratic challenger who was supposed to get 43 percent against DeMint just got 41 percent in a two-man primary against a candidate who has raised so little money, he hasn’t filed any papers with the Federal Election Commission. The winner, Alvin Greene, has served honorably, so our hats ought to be tipped to him for that, but it’s rare you see a candidate so dedicated to dealing with the issue of unemployment because he’s currently unemployed. Dave Weigel characterized him as “the kind of opponent candidates dream about . . . a wholly unserious candidate.”

* Yes, in the 4th district, incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis is going to a runoff. But I would note that you don’t trail a primary badly in an R+15 district by being too conservative.

UPDATE: Alvin Greene may have serious criminal charges pending. If you read this in a novel, you would dismiss it as too outlandish.

Tags: Alvin Greene , Jim DeMint , Vic Rawl

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