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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:16 AM

What Jim DeMint figured out


Don't be fooled by Sen. Jim DeMint's resignation. His influence on the Republican Party is as strong as ever

BY STEVE KORNACKI


It says something about the state of the conservative movement and the Republican Party that Jim DeMint’s power won’t wane at all – and, in fact, might even grow – as he leaves the U.S. Senate to run the Heritage Foundation.

To be sure, there was a time a few years back when DeMint’s stature and visibility was dependent on his Senate service. His initial victory in 2004 lifted him from the obscurity of the House to a perch from which he could attract attention from the conservative movement and the national press corps. And he exploited that opportunity for all it was worth, positioning himself as an ideological purist and playing the role of conscientious objector when his fellow Republicans sold out conservative principles (as he understands them). Active involvement in Republican primary races around the country grew out of this, with DeMint launching the Senate Conservatives Fund to provide political and financial support to fellow true believers, even – or especially – if they were up against candidates with substantial establishment support.

This is the main legacy of DeMint’s eight-year Senate career. In the past two election cycles, DeMint’s fingerprints have been on some of the most significant and fateful GOP primary results. In some instances, like the 2010 Kentucky race that helped bring Rand Paul to the Senate, he succeeded in elevating a fellow traveler and bending the Senate that much closer to his far-right absolutism. But in others, his efforts backfired, producing fundamentally unelectable candidates (think Christine O’Donnell) who lost seats the GOP would otherwise have won.

The reverberations from disasters like O’Donnell were evident far from the states where they played out. Collectively, they were a major reason Democrats managed to protect their Senate majority the past two cycles. Their extremism and not-infrequent outbursts of fringe-ish behavior also helped poison he Republican Party brand; the GOP has consistently lagged behind the Democrats in national polls on favorability, and the party’s image problem may well have cost Mitt Romney a few points in the presidential race.

-snip-

continue reading:
http://www.salon.com/2012/12/07/what_jim_demint_figured_out/

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply What Jim DeMint figured out (Original post)
DonViejo Dec 2012 OP
liberal N proud Dec 2012 #1
sadbear Dec 2012 #4
DonViejo Dec 2012 #5
Walk away Dec 2012 #2
freshwest Dec 2012 #6
bemildred Dec 2012 #3

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:18 AM

1. I think he is more dangerous at the Heritage Foundation than ever

He can do more damage through influence on a broader base of republican idiots both in and out of office.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:38 AM

4. Fox news and AM radio will now be saying whatever HE wants them to say.

Yep, much more influential now.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:15 PM

5. I agree with you...

but it seems most folks around here are just thankful he's gone from the Senate. The worst is yet to come.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:33 AM

2. The Kochs and their like can pour hundreds of millions of tax deductible $$$ into Heritage...

for their new project. Completely revamping how the extreme right wing is perceived by the American public. I believe that is Demint's new job. Churning out acceptable looking and sounding far right ideologues and selling them as "wanting the best" for everyone (especially women and Hispanics).

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Response to Walk away (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:42 PM

6. +1

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:49 AM

3. He is destroying the Republican Party as a national party.

Please proceed, Mr. Demint.

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