Jim DeMint’s bid to embrace tea party irks Senate GOP colleagues

Jonathan Martin & Manu Raju

Sen. Jim DeMint is making a bid to be the tea party movement’s best friend in Washington. It’s hardly a coincidence that the South Carolina Republican finds himself with few friends in his own workplace.

DeMint — ideological warrior, cable TV regular, possible 2012 presidential candidate — is trying to channel the anti-establishment passions roiling the conservative movement while serving in the U.S. Senate, which even in a more raffish age of politics still counts as the most establishmentarian institution in American life.

Examples of his senatorial poor form keep growing. DeMint has refused to endorse some of his fellow Republican senators facing intraparty challenges from the right. He openly backs some candidates opposed by his party’s Senate leadership. And he is unabashed in announcing that the best way to win influence in the Senate is not by making friends and patiently massaging the legislative process but by exerting public pressure from activists and the media to bear on his colleagues.

Not surprisingly, his colleagues don’t especially like it. Many GOP senators privately scoff at DeMint as a showboating opportunist and a pain in certain parts of the anatomy. Even in on-the-record interviews, some Republican senators said that DeMint does not appreciate the need for a successful party to widen its ideological and geographic base beyond the deeply conservative Southern state he represents.

DeMint said he is unapologetic about rocking the boat.

The article continues at Politico.com

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