DeMint not getting much love among conservative intelligentsia

DeMint in an editorial board meeting, February 2007.

DeMint in an editorial board meeting, February 2007.

This item, from the WashPost’s Jennifer Rubin, jumped out at me a few minutes ago:

Jim DeMint’s destruction of the Heritage Foundation

In addition to the damage done to the GOP by his penchant for right-wing antics, of which the shutdown fiasco was only the latest, Jim DeMint, the president of Heritage Foundation, has ushered in a new era in the once-proud conservative think tank’s history.

Under DeMint, Heritage Foundation has been subsumed to the interests of its sister organization, Heritage Action. As a result, Heritage Foundation is suffering a grievous slide in intellectual integrity and influence. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the latest of many conservatives openly to express concern about the think tank. He told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this week, “Right now, I think it’s in danger of losing its clout and its power around Washington, D.C. There’s a real question in the minds of many Republicans now, and I’m not just speaking for myself, for a lot of people that : is Heritage going  to go so political that it really doesn’t amount to anything anymore.”…

First, he did much to damage the Republican Party by becoming its self-appointed arbiter of “purity.”

Now, this. If Jim has fallen out with people who love what the Heritage Foundation has stood for, his range of friends has definitely narrowed…

13 thoughts on “DeMint not getting much love among conservative intelligentsia

  1. Doug Ross

    Orrin Hatch? Is he the voice of conservatism in this country now? Sheesh.. An 80 year old career politician? Sometimes the old folks don’t know when the rest of the country has passed them by. (see McCain, John).

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Jennifer Rubin seems youngish. By comparison.

    But in my mind’s eye, an old white guy who has long held to political power seems to me the very definition of “conservative.” But then, I have a conservative, traditional understanding of the word.

    To me, a wild-eyed young man elected in 2010 who is willing to shut down the government and destroy the global economy in order to make a political point (not to accomplish anything, just to make the point) is pretty much the opposite of a “conservative.”

    Now, let’s have a rousing chorus of “Tradition,” Tevye…

    1. Juan Caruso

      Well done, Silence. Brad was using the term “intelligentsia” disparagingly at best.

      In any case It would have been far more accurate, but much less attention-getting, for Brad to have titled this post “DeMint not getting much love among establishment Republicans, including RINOs”.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Ummm… I used “conservative intelligentsia” because that’s what I meant. I wasn’t aware that was a disparaging term. I don’t subscribe to the American tradition of anti-intellectualism.

        I would not have said “establishment Republicans, including RINOs,” because that’s not what I meant.

        In any case, that’s a contradiction in terms. Establishment Republicans are, by any rational definition, real Republicans. Usually, it’s the people who call them RINOs who are “in name only.” I’ve always thought that was one of the more presumptuous things I’ve ever heard of, the fringe of the party presuming to decide who is a Republican and who is not.

        1. Pat

          Actually, Brad, I’ve always thought the real “rino” is the admitted libertarian who joins the Republican Party for the purpose of changing the platform to the Libertarian Party platform since the Libertarian Party can’t seem to gain any traction under its own banner. However, I do understand that is not the accepted definition. Still, the libertarian rino is hypocritical in using the term.

          1. Mark Stewart

            My first job could have been with the Heritage Foundation in the Reagan era. But I wrecked my car on the way to the interview…

            Nice comment, Pat. The reactionaries are all about twisting reality into something far different.

        2. Juan Caruso

          Your writing could be no more anti “tea party”, without using the vulgar “tea bagger” profanity of Progressive stooges.

          You say, “I don’t subscribe to the American tradition of anti-intellectualism.” Yet, you equate intellectualism disproprtionately with liberal lawyers.

          No intellectual dishonesty there, if you say so, but as close-minded as someone who declares facts don’t change minds. Prove me wrong with some new, objective criticism about Obama (i.e. something irrefutable by Doug ross).

          A doubter.

          P.S. There is reportedly an old Mafia dictum: “When in doubt, don’t be!”

  3. Bart

    While not a fan of DeMint, he does have a hard core following who will do as he commands. Acknowledging that fact brings up another point not discussed. Is it better to have dissention in a political party or have one that walks lockstep in unison no matter what the issue may be as long as the leader(s) supports it? During the Syrian debate about whether to use missles or not, one Democrat House member stated very clearly that while she was adamantly opposed to using cruise missles against Assad, morally and ethically, she was still going to vote to support Obama anyway and vote yes. Before the expected retort that Republicans are guilty of the same thing, I will concede that point in advance.

    Maybe at this time of my life, listening to the blithering idiots who pose as politicians who clain they want to do nothing more than protect us, the hypocrisy and willingness to forego one’s own beliefs in order to support a political party over the interests of the people they represent is becoming the norm instead of the exception.

    The Heritage Foundation will go the way of other once useful institutions and become just a shill for a very narrow point of view. Flowers and cards can be sent to DeMint to acknowledge the demise of a once influential voice of reason for conservatives.

  4. Juan Caruso

    DeMint’s credibility problem is huge. He knows exactly the shamefully corruptive practices and influences of the U.S. Senate, but like all of the current and most of the former senators, he somehow fails to adequately confide those revelations to thse who ought to know — the voting public.

    Shame on you, Sen. DeMint.


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