Senator Jim DeMint is stepping down from his position in the Senate to become the new president of the Heritage Foundation:
WSJ – South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina’s junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.
Sen. DeMint’s departure means that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, will name a successor, who will have to run in a special election in 2014. In that year, both Mr. DeMint’s replacement and Sen. Lindsey Graham will be running for reelection in South Carolina.
In an interview preceding the succession announcement, Sen. DeMint said he is taking the Heritage job because he sees it as a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public. “This is an urgent time,” the senator said, “because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections.” Mr. DeMint, who was a market researcher before he entered politics, said he plans to take the Heritage Foundation’s traditional research plus that of think tanks at the state level and “translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work.” He said, “We want to figure out what works at the local and state level” and give those models national attention.
Mr. DeMint, an active conservative partisan often at odds with his party’s leadership, says he will “protect the integrity of Heritage’s research and not politicize the policy component. Heritage is not just another grassroots political group.”
Still, the senator acknowledges that the political fires still burn: “This really gets my blood going again thinking about the possibilities. This is the time to elevate the conservative cause.”
Let me remind you that in 2010 Jim DeMint told Sean Hannity this:
I don’t want to be in Washington another six years and watch the Republican party betray the trust of the American people again. I mean, we had the White House. We had a majority in the House and the Senate. We voted for more spending and more earmarks. Most of our senior members seem to be focused on taking home the bacon. I’m not going to be in a Republican party like that and that’s not what the Republican Party is across America.
This is interesting in light of how Republicans are running the House right now, especially with regard to the fiscal cliff negotiations. In fact DeMint has recently spoken out against any more to raise taxes on the top 2% by Republicans.
Now I’m not suggesting he is just following through on a sentiment he expressed 2 years ago. I mean, a lot has happened since then. But I’d still bet his discontentment with the current Republican Party is playing a role in his departure.