In a bit of surprising news, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has announced that he’s leaving the Senate next year to become the president of the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank. This surprises me because DeMint’s political star has clearly been on the rise, despite his deranged views on many things.
“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future,” he said in his press release.
DeMint’s change of career does not, however, indicate that he is leaving the fight for conservative values. He declared on his senatorial website: “I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”
DeMint is on the far right fringe of Senate Republicans. This is a guy who thinks gays and women with children should be fired as public school teachers and many other bigoted and stupid things. But in only 8 years, he had become a major force in the Senate. He was a fundraising powerhouse whose PAC had supported many conservative candidates, earning him a lot of chits to call in and giving him significant influence in the Senate.