DeMint’s Back-to-Basics Plan for Republicans

Commentary by Albert R. Hunt
December 14, 2009

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) — Broadcasting entertainers Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, while influential with conservatives, Republican strategists explain, aren’t officeholders or political decision makers. Jim DeMint is.

The Republican senator from South Carolina is a force moving the party to the right on big issues. He is actively endorsing conservative insurgents over established party candidates from Florida to California. He’s a favorite of the grassroots “tea party” brigade and Fox News. His growing cult is such that party insiders even talk about him as a potential presidential candidate.

Some conservatives are nuanced: libertarian conservatives, compassionate conservatives, neo-conservatives; not the 58-year- old DeMint. He goes right on everything, from the economy and health care to immigration and hot-button social issues such as gay rights. He is a leading barometer of the Republican Party’s important and non-nuanced conservative base.

He has written a book, “Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide Into Socialism.” A recent half-hour conversation in his Senate office reveals a low-key and ideologically charged political figure.

In the interview and the book, the South Carolinian preaches dismantling government. He takes issue with the generally accepted wisdom that it was government intervention that avoided a financial calamity last year.

The article continues at Bloomberg.

“I suspect if we could let all of these companies go down that the industry — if they didn’t think the federal government was going to act — would’ve consolidated in some way and caught these people on the way down,” he says.

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