Jim DeMint, Failure
I couldn’t agree with Joan more. Jim tried to sell a paranoid divisive vision for America and failed just as almost all populist fear mongers eventually do here in the US.
Putting people like Demint and other high profile demagogues into Heritage is also a failure on the right - Weyrich and Coor’s skunk works actually worked best when nobody but wonks knew about Heritage, Free Congress Foundation, and all the other wedge driving false front spin offs. The days of low profile and high influence are now over, and their crap will be called for what it is as soon as it leaves the grounds.
But somebody has to say it: DeMint isn’t leaving the Senate in glory; he’s leaving with his most fervent goals unfulfilled. He dedicated himself to making Barack Obama a one-term president - remember, healthcare reform was going to be his “Waterloo?” - and ending Democratic dominance in the Senate with his Senate Conservatives Fund. Instead, Obama is getting ready for his second Inauguration Day while DeMint packs up his Capitol office. The Senate, meanwhile, is more Democratic than before the election, and Harry Reid can thank DeMint for the fact that he held on as Senate Majority Leader - and even that he held on to his own seat. Of the 15 far-right Senate candidates DeMint backed in 2010 and 2012, eight lost, and five of them lost to Democrats who’d been given up for dead, including Reid. So I hope DeMint doesn’t let the door hit him in the behind when he carries his boxes out of the Senate.
Of course, conservatives are kvelling about DeMint’s move. “What you’ve got is a great movement with great ideas that’s now becoming a true force,” said Brent Bozell, the Media Research Center founder whose non-profit For America advocates for Christian values. Hiring DeMint was “a master stroke,” Bozell says. “It’s just the kind of move that will rejuvenate conservatism.”
It will certainly rejuvenate DeMint’s bank account - the job pays over $1 million annually - but it’s unlikely to rejuvenate conservatism. DeMint’s hiring makes plain that Heritage isn’t about serious ideas or research, but about political lobbying and leverage. All of the spinmeisters who are insisting the move makes DeMint and the Tea Party stronger are saying that for one reason only: It lets him threaten GOP leaders more brazenly from outside the Senate than he could within it.