The reactions on this one are almost unanimous: Nearly everyone is damn glad to see Republican Jim DeMint (head bitter crank among bitter old cranks, kingmaker of his own asylum, biggest cracked pot in the tea party) leave the Senate for his turn in the lands of sweet, sweet wingnut welfare. The tea partiers love it because they figure DeMint will help Heritage break away from any past remnants of thinky-in-their-tanky and race headlong toward peak wingnut:
“I was shocked, and at first I said, ‘Oh no,’ but then I said, ‘Wait a minute, let’s think about this,” said Joe Dugan, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party in South Carolina. “The Heritage Foundation is a tremendous organization, and as president of it he will have a broad, broad platform to educate people across the country about
conservative ideas and ideals. And that’s what the country needs.”
Non-conservatives love it for, well, the exact same reason. From the People For the American Way:
Today’s announcement blows the cover on the longstanding myth that the Heritage Foundation is a serious think tank, as well as the common misconception that Heritage is focused on fiscal, not social, issues. In fact, like DeMint himself, Heritage has played an active role in pushing rigidly anti-gay, anti-choice dogma while attacking laws that protect the separation between church and state.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is not exactly devastated, given DeMint’s crazyass involvement in Republicans blocking a U.N. treaty on treating disabled people better, for Christ’s sake:
“I think what we saw the night before last in the U.S. senate was one of the saddest…of all occasions,” Pelosi told reporters. […]
“Anyone who’s a party to that, I wish them well wherever they are going,” Pelosi said.
Jim DeMint is happy about it because he finally gets to translate his usual, gratis craziness into bucketfuls of money, and oh yes, because he wants to help the GOP and/or screw the GOP, depending on who’s asking:
“I think it’s safe to say that Boehner is not forcing either of you guys out, right?” Limbaugh asked DeMint and now-former Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner, according to audio by The Right Scoop.
Quipped DeMint: “It might work a little bit the other way, Rush.”
DeMint also told Limbaugh he hopes to use his new role to help the GOP appeal to more Americans.
You heard that right, Sen. Jim DeMint is going to go out and help the GOP appeal to more Americans. You are going to want to clear space on the ol’ Tivo for that one, because that, my friends, is going to be a kind of crazy not seen since J. Edgar Hoover brought audiences to their feet with his world-famous thirteen dog and two pony musical review.
Democrats are happy because Jim DeMint’s conservative-promoting track record is whole bucketloads of crazy, but at least he sucks at it:
Out of the 20 candidates [DeMint’s PAC] organization gave money to, 15 won their primaries — but just seven won the general election.
The winners included Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz.
The losers included Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Ken Buck, and Richard Mourdock.
Even the Official Mostly-Creepy Stalker and Head of the Mitt Romney Fan Club, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, was happy—albeit only because having one-man wrecking ball DeMint finally get the heck out of the Senate that he has done his level-best to turn dysfunctional is good news whoever is maybe thinking about becoming the next Mitt Romney:
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.
All in all, almost nobody involved in politics sees a downside here. In leaving to head Heritage, DeMint both gets to make a happy boatload of money (at conservative expense, of course) and gets to lead a prominent organization into becoming just as nutty as he can possibly convince them to be. The Senate is happier, because nobody outside of DeMint’s small band of merry crackpots liked dealing with him or his constant efforts at making sure the Senate got nothing done, ever, on any subject. The tea partiers are happy, the non-tea-party-Republicans are happy, the Democrats are happy—what’s not to love? Gaming out who gets DeMint’s current seat, and what that means doesn’t point to anything that would be worse than Jim DeMint staying in the Senate. There’s even hints that disgraced ex-governor Mark Sanford might take the long walk back from the ol’ Appalachian Trail in order to run for the seat, which may be the single most glorious thing 2014 could possibly have in store for us.
And that, mind you, doesn’t even take into account the possibility of an appointed “Sen. Sticky Fingers”, as Sticky Fingers restaurant chain owner Chad Walldorf (and former Sanford deputy chief of staff) is apparently one of those being considered by Gov. Nikki Haley as she looks to appoint a short-term replacement for DeMint. Oh, South Carolina, is there anything you can’t make hilarious?
Heartwarming stuff, all of it.
In any case, we may have found the single most widely lauded decision of Sen. Jim DeMint’s storied career, and by a wide margin. No matter what you think about Jim DeMint, everyone involved agrees: the best single thing he’s ever done is leave.