Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint: Republicans must listen to libertarians

In case you missed it, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) made some waves recently by urging his fellow Republicans to listen to libertarians, particularly Ron Paul, on fiscal issues. The comments were, as you can imagine, important given DeMint’s influence in the Tea Party movement and on fiscal conservatives in general. These comments are in stark contrast to what he said a little over a year ago, claiming that “you can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative.”

DeMint, author of a new book — Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse, is challenging members of both parties to balance the budget through promoting pro-growth, free market policies. He sat down recently with Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch of Reason to discuss his approach to begin solving the budget crisis in Washington and again repeats his warnings to Republicans and conservatives to listen to libertarians:

What Would a Brokered GOP Convention Mean for Libertarians?

If libertarians don’t want the Republican establishment to choose this year’s GOP nominee, a brokered convention is the last thing they should want.

Writing at The Fiscal Times, Ed Morrissey takes on conservatives who are hoping for a brokered Republican convention this year, arguing that a brokered convention is not only unlikely but undesirable because it would pave the way for the GOP establishment to choose a nominee who is more to their liking. Morrissey writes:

But let’s say for the sake of argument that no one candidate has a majority of the delegates, and none manages to wangle (sic) a majority on the first ballot at the convention.  How does this benefit conservatives, who have fought the “establishment” that has pushed Romney for the nomination?  The nominating process will then fall into the hands of the Republican National Committee, comprised of state party chairs and other power brokers, where the Tea Party has little or no influence. The fantasy in this case will be that the assembled party bosses and delegates, many of whom are part of state-party establishments, will crown a completely new candidate.

Who would that candidate likely be?  It’s not going to be Sarah Palin or Herman Cain, who are the antithesis of this kind of back room wheeling and dealing and who aren’t necessarily trusted by the people negotiating the question. Assuming that it’s not one of the candidates who couldn’t close the deal in the primaries, it might be Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, or another establishment figure that chose not to run and get vetted in the first place.

DeMint will not endorse before South Carolina’s primary

In recent days, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), an outspoken fiscal conservative, has defended Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), noting that Republicans should embrace some libertarian ideas. DeMint also sees the risk many Republican take in their public criticism of Paul, who has an incredibly dedicated group of followers, many of whom are young.

This led to rumors of an endorsement yesterday on Twitter and Facebook before the all important South Carolina primary. But DeMint, keeping with a statement he made a couple of months ago, has said he will not endorse:

One of the most sought-after South Carolina politicians said Monday he would not endorse a candidate ahead of the Palmetto State’s primary.

Sen. Jim DeMint, who has offered praise to all of the candidates in the field, said in a statement, “I do not have a favorite in this race and I will not endorse a candidate.”

DeMint said his stance reflected the view of many voters in South Carolina.

“I’ve gotten to know each of the candidates over the past year and they are all far superior to Obama,” DeMint said. “My view reflects what I’ve heard from Republican voters across South Carolina who remain divided in this race.”

DeMint would have been a big get for any candidate in the GOP field, given his high regard among conservative voters. Many of the contenders have met with the senator in person, looking to gain his backing.

NDAA passes the Senate

The last hope of killing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has failed as the United States Senate effectively gutted Habeas Corpus and Due Process protections in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. With only 13 members voting against the conference report, it wasn’t even close.

The NDAA now heads to President Barack Obama, who has showed in recent days how much contempt he holds for civil liberties. Even though Obama has said he’d sign the bill, I would still suggest that you call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and make your voice heard.

Many thanks to Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and the other members of the Senate that stood with the Constitution and the civil liberties of their constituents this evening.

It’s ironic that yet another fundamental civil liberty has been gutted on Bill of Rights Day.

Jim DeMint backs Ted Cruz in Texas

Among the candidates that are getting support from conservatives and grassroots groups, Ted Cruz, who is running for U.S. Senate in Texas, has received a lot of support. Unfortunately, Cruz has a mountain to climb as polls currently David Dewhurst with a sizable lead.

But Cruz is hoping to rally support from conservatives in Texas, and is hitting Dewhurst on taxes and his inability to stand up to the TSA. And with help from prominent conservatives, Cruz may be able to do just that. During an interview on the The Michael Berry Show, Jim DeMint, the tea party-minded Senator from South Carolina who runs the Senate Conservatives PAC, noted his support for Cruz.

DeMint denies Romney endorsement

You may have seen a report yesterday from Roll Call noting that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who is a voice for the tea party movement in Congress, was about to endorse Mitt Romney in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. It’s apparently not true:

“That story is a fabrication made up of anonymous sources that obviously have no clue what Senator DeMint is thinking,” spokesman Wesley Denton said. “He has said over and over again that he is not leaning toward any candidate yet and may end up not endorsing in the presidential race.”

Matt Hoskins, who runs DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, said DeMint is “looking to see who wins over the grassroots, and so far Governor Romney has not done that.”

“These operatives don’t know what they’re talking about. Senator DeMint is not leaning toward anyone at this point,” Hoskins said of the story this morning.

The idea isn’t too far fetched. DeMint did endorse Romney than the rest of the candidates combined, back in 2008. However, DeMint made it clear earlier this year that he wouldn’t endorse Romney, who has received more endorsements from members of Congress, this time around without a repudiation of RomneyCare, which served as the blueprint for ObamaCare.

It’s probably wise for DeMint and other members of Congress to steer clear of endorsements. You don’t want take an early shot in the dark on a candidate and then come up empty; only to find yourself on a new president’s bad side.

DeMint not running for re-election?

In a recent interview with the National Journal, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) hinted that he may not run for re-election when his term expires in 2016. Here is the relevant portion of the interview:

NJ What is your ambition?

DeMINT My hope is to elect five or 10 more solid conservatives and go home and rock on my front porch.

NJ This is your last term?

DeMINT Yeah. It was not a campaign promise; but that is my plan, that the election last year was my last one. It has always been my plan not to serve more than two terms.

Conn Carroll notes at the Washington Examiner that DeMint “hasn’t ruled out” another bid. DeMint has been a supporter of term-limits in the past, and I believe that he had limited himself to four-terms in the House before his Senate bid.

DeMint has said some things I disagree with, but he has criticized his own party when they’ve been wrong and been solid on fiscal issues and pushing for free markets and reforming the leviathan in Washington to reduce the burden that years of bureaucracy and the welfare state have placed on taxpayers.

Gang of Six plan gets nod from Obama

There was a breakthrough of sorts yesterday with the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of Senators, that agreed to $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan that they believe can break a filibuster in the chamber. The proposal was viewed favorably by President Barack Obama. Even Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, had nice things to say about it.

Mike Lee gains influence in Republican primaries

Even though he has only been in Washington for a short time, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), is becoming one of the leading voices of fiscal conservatives in Washington and a must-have endorsement for campaigns in Republican primaries:

He’s emerged as the second-most-important conservative go-to guy in the Senate — and with DeMint’s pledge not to marshal his resources against Republican incumbents this cycle, a meeting with Lee is essential for candidates battling the party establishment.

Lee has already met personally with more than a half-dozen candidates, made endorsements in two Senate primaries and set up a pair of leadership political action committees to aid those who share his constitutionalist brand of conservatism.

And he plans to ramp up his profile in the coming months, with the clear goal of growing the Senate’s coalition of advocates of limited government.

“We ought to have more people who believe in constitutionally limited government. We have to have more people come to Congress with that mind-set. I think we can make this a better place, if, when elections happen, we support candidates who share that philosophy,” Lee explained in an interview.

DeMint lays out endorsement pledge

Even though the race for the GOP presidential nomination is underway (though the field may not be entirely set), there hasn’t been many endorsements from members of Congress or high-profile Republicans. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who often represents the tea party in Washington, is wants candidates to sign before he’ll endorse:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) threatened to withhold his support for Republican presidential candidates unless they sign a pledge requiring fiscal reforms in exchange for raising the debt limit.
The pledge, crafted by several conservative groups, would have signatories vow to oppose raising the debt limit unless three conditions are met: 1. Substantial cuts in spending (Cut), 2. Enforceable spending caps (Cap), and 3. Congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment (Balance).

“I’m telling every presidential candidate, if your name isn’t on this list, don’t come see me,” DeMint said.

Support from the South Carolina senator will be especially coveted by White House contenders, both for the boost in a key primary state and because of his status as a conservative icon within the GOP. DeMint challenged House and Senate candidates to sign the pledge, too.

DeMint backed Romney four years ago, but he has since said that he won’t do so again unless the former Massachusetts Governor repudiates RomneyCare; which isn’t likely to happen.

There will be a few candidates willing to sign DeMint’s pledge, perhaps Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain or Ron Paul, but none of them stand much of a chance to win the nomination.

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