U.S. Senator Jim DeMint‘s resignation today is being celebrated by liberals and conservatives alike. The viciously anti-gay senator is headed to the viciously anti-gay Heritage Foundation, a once respected conservative outpost, possibly best know for decades as having been the creator and loudest proponent of the “individual mandate” — that is central to Obamacare — until it became central to Obamacare.
DeMint, you’ll remember, was a staunch supporter of Todd Akin — after he made his “legitimate rape” comments.
DeMint’s resignation was hailed by the Washington Post’s Tea Party blogger, Jennifer Rubin, possibly one of the most caustic voices and extreme voices ever to hold such an important Washington Post platform, and one of the least deserving of it, ever.
In this one area, however, we agree.
In “Good riddance, Mr. DeMint,” Rubin notes DeMint “expressed no qualms about leaving the Senate before his term is up, nor did he reflect on his legislative achievements, of which none come to mind.”
Rubin adds that DeMint is a poor fit for the Heritage Foundation — at one time a respected think tank, now, well, about as respect as Jim DeMint.
Rubin says DeMint is “a pol whose entire style of conservatism – all or nothing, no compromise, no accounting for changes in public habits and opinions — is not true to the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and others. By embracing him, Heritage, to a greater extent than ever before, becomes a political instrument in service of extremism, not a well-respected think tank and source of scholarship. Every individual who works there should take pause and consider whether the reputation of that institution is elevated or diminished by this move. And I would say the same, frankly, if any other non-scholarly pol took that spot.”
“Now for the U.S. Senate, I am sure many senators on both sides are clicking their heels. DeMint has been a destructive force, threatening to primary colleagues, resisting all deals and offering very little in the way of attainable legislation. He has contributed more than any current senator to the dysfunction of that body. He has worsened relations between the House and Senate, as he did in the budget fights in recent years, by meddling and pressuring his home state representative. His departure leaves other senators who seemed impressed with his brand of politics free to find their way to a more constructive position in the body.”
Rubin rightly notes that Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell’s statement responding to DeMint’s resignation “does not say the Senate was a better place because of his service or that he helped enact a conservative agenda.”
Meanwhile, on the left, Dana Liebelson at Mother Jones pens “Jim DeMint Is Resigning: Here Are His 7 Craziest Moments.”
Here are Liebelson’s main points:
1. DeMint says gay people and unmarried women having sex shouldn’t teach your children.
2. DeMint says God doesn’t like big government.
3. Jim DeMint doesn’t want women talking about abortion on the internet.
4. DeMint says America turning into Iran after President Obama’s election (or maybe Germany?).
5. DeMint puts a hold on National Women’s History Museum.
6. DeMint confuses Chicago teacher strike with violence in the Middle East.
7. DeMint falsely accuses President Obama of taxing Christmas.
The one point I’ve yet to hear on left or right is that DeMint’s stewardship of Heritage — which is a joke, as he’s never been a scholar — is that he will take the Heritage Foundation and turn it into even more of a technocratic, anti-science entity, which will be possibly even more damaging to American than the little he’s been able to achieve in the Senate.
For even more, read Scott Keyes’ 11 Reasons You’re Glad Jim DeMint Is Leaving The Senate.
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