South Carolina's junior senator decided to pursue the big bucks and accepted the presidency of The Heritage Foundation with the announcement coming out of the blue on Thursday morning. Oh, did that come off as a bit harsh? You may not want to continue on here.
DeMint is admired by many in the conservative voting world. I admit up front that I am not one of those people. It's not that I don't think he has done an effective job in advancing his own agenda because I do. I also think he advances the worst in conservative politics, too. For that reason it is impossible to look at his departure from the senate with rose colored glasses.
Some in the conservative think tank world are welcoming DeMint's decision. That is predictable. HERE is the statement from Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a premier state think tank in Texas. Full disclosure - I support TPPF and their good work on conservative policy. I blog my support frequently.
Here's the thing - does anyone think that if Mitt Romney won the presidential election and/or if the GOP was competent enough to win back control of the U.S. Senate in what should have been a cake walk that DeMint would be leaving just two years into his six year term? Of course not. Yes, he had murmured that he'd be leaving elected office at the end of this term but no one thought he wouldn't finish his term. You know, if you are putting yourself out there as a highly principled public servant, should you at least finish what you asked for from your constituency?
THIS article explains the connection between Heritage and it's political action wing. It is assumed that DeMint will continue on with the recent political activity pursued by those in the action wing. There is no doubt that DeMint will boost fundraising results for the Foundation despite today's malaise felt by a majority of conservatives and Republicans.
This is very similar to a politician leaving office to pursue a more lucrative career as a lobbyist. I understand the need to make money after so many years in elected office - DeMint entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1997 - and the salary of the exiting president at Heritage is said to be $1
DeMint enjoys the kudos he receives as a kingmaker among those seeking political office. He brought along several candidates I completely support in the senate. At the end of the day, however, he is just another politician. Ego and all. Today's announcement proved that.