Word came at 11am today that Senator Jim DeMint will resign his Senate seat and take over the helm of the Heritage Foundation in January. This is quite possibly one of the best pieces of news I have heard for a long time.
While some are asking, “Why would he give up a United States Senate seat?”, the answer is clear to me. DeMint is taking the long view of things. The PAC he launched, Senate Conservatives Fund, has become a political powerhouse and is now virtually a stand alone entity while still making a huge electoral impact.
So DeMint’s impact on the US Senate will continue and continue in two big ways. One will be with the folks like Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz that he has helped get elected. Two, SCF’s impact will only grow with DeMint as the head of the Heritage Foundation. The collective groan heard from Washington, DC today emanated from both Mitch McConnell’s and Jerry Moran’s offices. The exponential growth that SCF has enjoyed over the last few election cycles will explode going into 2014.
Here’s why else this is a great moment for the conservative movement. For the first time in over a decade, we will have a strong figure heading up one of the largest conservative organizations, a man who for 8 years has advanced conservatism in the United States Senate in spite of Mitch McConnell and his cabal. This is a man who has withstood visceral attacks from inside his own party, not only surviving them but becoming stronger because of them.
With Jim DeMint at the head of the Heritage Foundation (whose brand as the conservative heavyweight inside DC, let’s be honest, started fading years ago) we will finally have the opportunity for an $80M a year organization to pivot and forcefully make the case FOR conservatism to the American voters and begin changing the electorate.
I can tell you right now that most Americans have no idea how conservatism would impact their everyday lives in a positive way. And in making the case to the American people, the Heritage Foundation will force the Republican Party to toe the line. Because guess what? If Heritage Action for American, the 501c4 affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, was able to make the impact that it did under the old leadership at Heritage, think of what it will do when it is fully unleashed. I can tell you that right now, Republican leadership and beltway “conservative” heads know this and their heads are exploding in Washington, DC.
As for DeMint’s Senate seat, I am not worried. My hunch is that Congressman Tim Scott will be appointed and while not Jim DeMint (who is?), he will be pretty darn close. As I just told Daniel Horowitz, this isn’t just a win-win situation. This is a win-win squared.