Jim DeMint

Palin backs Flake, DeMint’s PAC makes ad buy for Cruz

Tea Party Movement

While most Americans already are looking to November in anticipation of getting this presidential campaign over with, there are still a couple of races that have yet to be determined outcomes.

In Arizona, for example, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is a locked in a surprisingly tough primary challenge against Wil Cardon. The Club for Growth has come to Flake’s aid, dropping $500,000 in ads in the state. But Flake’s campaign hasn’t had it easy, being knocked back by some missteps along the way. He may, however, have just received a boost as Sarah Palin has given Flake her coveted endorsement:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in his Senate primary, a boost for Flake as he fends off a tough challenge from wealthy businessman Wil Cardon (R).

“Jeff is a proven conservative crusader, and today I am proud to announce my support for his campaign to become the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Arizona,” Palin said in a statement provided by Flake’s campaign. “Credited by many as the leading anti-earmark crusader in the House, Jeff has fought hard against pork barrel spending — often times casting one of the few GOP ‘no’ votes on bloated spending measures. He’s not afraid to ‘go rogue’ against his own party and its leadership; and even though he has sometimes suffered the consequences from GOP leaders for failing to toe the party line, yet he continues to fight for what is right.”

Republican Governors Warming to Internet Sales Tax


There has been a troubling trend in state governments over the few years. As legislatures seek to fill holes in their budgets, they’ve turned to the Internet as a way to raise revenue. My home state of Georgia recently passed an Internet sales tax as a part of a broader tax “reform” law (even though it’s really not tax reform).

But the Wall Street Journal notes that the move to tax Internet sales through websites like Amazon.com is gaining more steam among Republican governors eager to find a new revenue stream:

Republican governors, eager for new revenue to ease budget strains, are dropping their longtime opposition to imposing sales taxes on online purchases, a significant political shift that could soon bring an end to tax-free sales on the Internet.

Conservative governors, joining their Democratic counterparts, have been making deals with online retail giant Amazon.com to collect state sales taxes. The movement picked up an important ally when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—widely mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate—recently reached an agreement under which Amazon would collect sales taxes on his state’s online purchases in exchange for locating distribution facilities there.

WI Senate: Grassroots groups differ on candidates

Eric Hovde

With polls showing some fluctuation in the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin, prominent grassroots groups are now lining up against each other as they side with different candidates. There is an eagerness to make sure that former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who supported ObamaCare, doesn’t get the nomination; however, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth have different views on the best candidate.

The Club for Growth endorsed former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann in the race late last year, noting his strong commitment to economic freedom and limited government, and launched a strong campaign against Thompson’s record, including his support of ObamaCare. And last week, the Club released this ad hitting Thompson and Eric Hovde, a Madison businessman who has seen support rise in recent weeks, on their support for higher taxes:

Law of the Sea Treaty is all but dead

As I explained last week, Senate Republicans were close to the 34-members needed to prevent the UN-backed Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) from being approved. According to Hot Air, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has secured the vote needed to kill the treaty when it comes to the floor, assuming Senate Democrats even bother at this point.

Here’s pertinent part of the release from Sen. DeMint’s office:

[Four] additional senators have joined in opposition to LOST, including Mike Johanns (R-NE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). With 34 senators against the misguided treaty, LOST will not be ratified by the Senate this year.

On Jim DeMint and libertarianism

Jim DeMint

Over the last couple of days we’ve been discussing conservative/libertarian fusionism. Jeremy Kolassa got us started on Tuesday with an excellent post explaining that libertarians need to contrast themselves from conservatives, and not simply “go along to get along.”

While I largely agree with the substance of the post, I later posted somewhat of a rebuttal, in which I explained that we need not cut off our nose to spite our face when dealing with conservative groups that concentrate on issues with which we can agree; such as spending and taxes.

In my post, I pointed to comments made earlier this by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who, during an interview with Reason, said that the Republican Party should listen to libertarians. This caught the eye of my good friend, Chris Barron.

Yesterday, Chris pointed out that Sen. DeMint has been openly hostile to GOProud, a group of gay Republicans that promotes free markets and limited government, by opposing its inclusion in the most recent CPAC. Chris also pointed to a post that I wrote back in November 2010, in which I criticized Sen. DeMint for saying that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative.”

Chris concludes:

Jim DeMint is No Friend of Libertarianism

There has been an interesting an important back and forth on this site over the issue of fusionism.  Jeremy Kolassa made the case that little, if anything, has been accomplished by fusionism. In response, Jason Pye defended fusionism, citing a litany of conservative leaders and organizations that have been welcoming of libertarians and advanced libertarian policy.

I think both authors make well thought out cases and I think this debate is a healthy one.  My post isn’t intended to weigh in on the general question of fusionism, clearly I am a believe in fusionism - though I recognize that there are times when fusionism is a loser for libertarians.  Instead, I wanted to specifically speak to an individual that my friend Jason Pye pointed to as an example of a conservative leader who has offered an “olive branch” to libertarians:  South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.

I respect and like Jason a ton (which you know always is going to preface a disagreement), but in this case Jason is simply wrong.  Jim DeMint is no friend of libertarians - unless, of course, you toss out gay people or anyone else who cares about gay people from the libertarian movement.

Jason cited the Mike Huckabees and Rick Santorums of the world as responsible for trying to keep libertarians out of CPAC.  Well the ugly truth is that Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have been down right welcoming compared to Jim DeMint - as it regards CPAC.  Indeed, Jim DeMint officially joined a boycott of CPAC because of the inclusion of a gay group - GOProud - that I helped co-found.

Ted Cruz pulls David Dewhurst into a runoff

Though polls showed David Dewhurst edging close to the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, Ted Cruz, who has been backed by grassroots conservative and Tea Party groups, managed to extend the Senate race in Texas last night:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst failed to capture the 50 percent necessary to win the Republican nomination Tuesday, forcing him into an unpredictable nine week run-off campaign with former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite who garnered the blessing of conservative luminaries such as Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Sen. Jim DeMint.

With 95 percent of the vote in, Dewhurst was leading the second-place Cruz, 45 percent to 34 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert trailed in third place with 13 percent and former football star and ESPN commentator Craig James barely managed 4 percent of the vote.

Dewhurst, the front-running former CIA agent worth an estimated $200 million, was widely expected to end the night as the leading vote-getter so the result is a win in itself for the insurgent Cruz, who was badly outspent and suffered from far lower name recognition in the nation’s second-most populous state.

The outcome marks the third victory for anti-establishment GOP Senate candidates in as many weeks. Earlier this month, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock upended 36-year Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana, and state Sen. Deb Fischer upset two better-known candidates in Nebraska.

Senate conservatives roll out Medicare reform

It looks like we’re headed toward another budget battle, and it may include some more intra-party squabbling as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) may have some push back from Senate conservatives.

Rep. Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, previewed his soon to be released budget in a trailer(!) last week. In the video, which you can watch below, Ryan says:

Let me ask you a question: what if your President, your Senator and your Congressman knew it was coming? What if they knew when it was going to happen, why it was going to happen and more importantly, what if they knew what they needed to do to stop it from happening and they had the time to stop it? But they chose to do nothing about it, because it wasn’t good politics?

What would you think of that person? It would be immoral.

This coming debt crisis is the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in this country. And look what’s happening.

This is why we’re acting. This is why we’re leading. This is why we’re proposing - and passing out of the House - a budget to fix this problem: so we can save our country for ourselves and our children’s future.

Part of the proposal will include reforming the “fee-for-service” model in Medicare, but other aspects of the budget haven’t been released. Here is the video, what the Weekly Standard calls the “best presidential campaign ad of 2012,” while lamenting the candidacy “could have been”:

Is the GOP really becoming more libertarian?

A few weeks ago, Conn Carroll, responding at the Washington Examiner to a list of flip-flops charged by Ezra Klein, noted that the reason for the shift increasing libertarian influence among Republicans:

Some Republicans used to like Keynesian stimulus, now they don’t. Libertarians never did. Some Republicans used to like individual mandates, now they don’t. Libertarians never did. Some Republicans used to like cap and trade, now they don’t. Libertarians never did. You get the idea. There is a reason Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has been speaking so highly of Ron Paul.
The fact is, Americans are just becoming more libertarian. Republican leaders are only responding to those changing beliefs. That may be frustrating for a policy wonk who wants to see as much power transferred to Washington, D.C., as possible, but the American people just have a diametrically opposed view of which direction the country should be going.

Over at FreedomWorks, Dean Clancy expounds on Carroll’s points, noting that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), whose limited government and constitutional views, are among the reasons for the shift in thinking:

To borrow a memorable phrase from the tumultuous ’60s, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Despite the greatly exaggerated reports of the “death of the tea party,” the political wind is undeniably blowing against more bailouts and debt, and toward smaller, constitutionally limited government. If the tea party is “dead,” it’s because tea party ideas have taken over the GOP.

Club for Growth releases congressional scorecard

The Club for Growth, a DC-based free market advocacy group, released its annual scorecard yesterday showing the most taxpayer friendly members of Congress in 2011. The Club scored 59 votes between the two chambers, including the repeal of ObamaCare, cutting market distorting energy subsidies, and a wide range of spending cuts.

While several members in each chamber scored 90% or higher, I’ve listed the top 10 from the Senate and the top 12 from the House. You’ll most likely recognize many of the names, and you’ll also probably wonder where some members fell in the rankings; so I’ve listed some of interest further down the post.

Club for Growth Senate Scorecard

  • Tom Coburn (R-OK): 100%
  • Jim DeMint  (R-SC): 100%
  • Ron Johnson (R-WI): 100%
  • Mike Lee (R-UT): 100%
  • Rand Paul (R-KY): 100%
  • James Inhofe (R-OK): 99%
  • Orrin Hatch (R-UT): 99%
  • Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): 98%
  • Pat Toomey (R-PA): 97%
  • Marco Rubio (R-FL): 97%

Club for Growth House Scorecard

  • Justin Amash (R-MI): 100%
  • Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): 100%
  • Jeff Flake (R-AZ): 100%
  • Trent Franks (R-AZ): 100%
  • Tom Graves (R-GA): 100%
  • Tim Huelskamp (R-KS): 100%
  • Jim Jordan (R-OH): 100%
  • Raul Labrador (R-ID): 100%
  • Doug Lamborn (R-CO): 100%
  • Mick Mulvaney (R-SC): 99%
  • Scott Garrett (R-NJ): 99%
  • Joe Walsh (R-IL): 99%

Members of Interest in the Senate and House

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