Since I live in South Carolina, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to volunteer my perspective on the December 6th resignation announcement of the wing-nuttiest wing-nut in the U.S. Senate, South Carolina’s Tea Party darling, Jim DeMint. The Senate will be losing its DeMinty flavor in January. Earlier, DeMint had declared he was leaving when his term was up in 2016. As it turns out, he’s fleeing for the exits well before that time frame.
As it now stands, the Senate’s most conservative member will be making his way to The Heritage Foundation’s Headquarters, less than a mile away, sometime in April of 2013. When he arrives at his new digs at 214 Massachusetts Ave, he’ll assume the Presidency from 36 year head, Edwin J. Feulner. On a nice day, it would be an easy walk.
DeMint is certainly familiar with the Foundation. He is quoted on one of their Websites as saying “Without The Heritage Foundation and its critical mass of data and policy analysis, what I do wouldn’t be possible.” Which begs the question – “what do you do, or more specifically what could you possibly do at the Foundation?”
DeMint probably wasn’t forced out of his seat. Other elected DC officials leave abruptly because of Petraeus-like considerations; still others have been caught with their hand in the till. Unexpected bye-byes are usually in these categories. There’s speculation that DeMint might want to run for President and a million bucks a year rest stop is a pretty comfortable place to plot strategy and raise your profile. For the Foundation, DeMint has the reputation of being a master fundraiser, a valuable cog for a think tank worth in the neighborhood of $200 million.
Here’s the Foundation’s official hiring explanation as stated by Board Chairman, Thomas Saunders. “Jim DeMint has shown that principled conservatism remains a winning political philosophy. His passion for rigorous research (ROFLMAO), his dedication to the principles of our nation’s founding, and his ability to translate policy ideas into action make him the ideal choice to lead Heritage to even greater success.”
The Heritage Board of Trustees is made up of behind the scenes power players virtually unknown to the general public. There are Wall Street financial and investment types, a few academics (the President of weird Hillsdale College for example), industrialists, media folks and the usual suspects. The only readily recognizable name is the ubiquitous Steve Forbes who seems on every right-wing board extant. ‘Baroness’ Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, holds a special place in Heritage hearts. She’s identified as a “Patron of the Heritage Foundation” whatever that is. In return, Maggie has set up a Heritage “Center for Freedom” whatever that is. She crosses the pond from time to time for speeches and slays with her spot-on imitation of Meryl Streep (for a handsome sum I would guess).
If you don’t qualify for the prestigious Board of Trustees or haven’t headed a country, you can buy your way in by paying dues to the Foundation. The rabble can climb aboard for the minuscule sum of $25. The Basic membership is followed incrementally with additional 8 dues levels all the way to 100,000 big ones. For $100,000, Heritage will even hold your hanky while you blow your nose. But I’m not finished. If you toss even more greenbacks their way, you’re honored with a lapel pin and your name inscribed in “The Book of Freedom” whatever that is. The BoF is housed at Heritage Headquarters.
The Foundation is even kind enough to invest your dues is such shaky instruments as derivatives. That’s your money. As far as I know, none is returned even if the tank accidentally hits an investment jackpot.
So if DeMint is out, who is in? South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is statutorily obliged to make an interim appointment pending a Special Election some two years distant. Obvious prospects are already withdrawing their names from consideration. The Governor, who could appoint herself, insists she has no interest in the job. 4th District Congressman, Trey Gowdy of ‘Fast and Furious’ fame, immediately batted back any suggestions that he might want the job. Of course, Gowdy is rumored to be in the process of running in a primary against the other South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham, considered a virtual RINO by the state’s tea party. Tom Davis, current state Senator, who once served as Chief of Staff for former Governor Mark Sanford (now happily engaged to his Argentinean “soul mate”) has taken himself out of the mix as well. That’s what they’re all saying publicly.
The current frontrunner? An African American philosophical clone of Jim DeMint. A newcomer to the House of Representatives from South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, Tim Scott is beloved by the most radical wing of the Republican Party. And why not? As Chairman of the Charleston County Council, he once led a movement to hang a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall outside Council chambers. As far as he’s concerned, school is a wonderful place to say your prayers, but no place for gay teachers. He’s not terribly fond of our neighbors to the South and thinks Arizona’s anti-immigration law is just dandy. Needless to say he wants to repeal Obamacare and Obama himself, pushing for the impeachment of the President for his role in the debt crisis. Did I mention he’s a union-hater. He’s a union-hater.
That’s Tim Scott. Considering he won his maiden congressional election with a campaign war chest of $720,000 compared to his Democratic opponent’s $20,000, somebody with big money likes him. DeMint has supposedly already endorsed Scott as the man he’d like to see fill his vacant Senate shoes. Gowdy also backs Scott though he mentions one of Scott’s freshmen colleagues, Mike Mulvaney as a possibility as well. The extremist Club for Growth with a top priority to “destroy unions” gave Mulvaney a 99% rating and he’s a complete Koch-whore to boot. Others in the mix; a former State AG and an ambassador not to mention someone we’ve yet to hear about.
Don’t expect even an infinitesimal speck of moderation in the appointment.