Reversing the Jim DeMint Effect

When Jim DeMint left the Senate – I like to say he was drummed out – I struggled to see the silver lining. He was a dogged and relentless fighter for conservatism in the Senate and no doubt paved the way for the likes of Rand Paul, Macro Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and others who took up his cause. But we lost one of our most valuable players and field generals in Jim DeMint. He was worn down and watered down by weak leadership, which would apparently like to go along and get along, even if it means losing, rather than fight. He got an offer from Heritage he could not refuse, and the escape from under the thumb of the Mitch McConnell/Lisa Murkoswki led wing of the party had to be a new lease on life. It must have seemed like the end of a long nightmare for DeMint.

Things change. The young turks are flexing their muscles , and the old guard may indeed, finally be taking their rightful place on the ideological scrap heap. Paul, Cruz, and others now own the narrative and the Wacko Bird keepers and Get Off My Lawn guys are on their heels. Tepid or nonexistent gestures to halt the cancer of Obamacare have been replaced by bold commitments.

And, more importantly, I see the dawning of a Reverse Jim Demint effect. By that I mean the best and brightest appear to be flowing back into governance from activisim, and not the other way around. Within one week, no less than Katie Pavlich, Bruce Carroll, and Ron Meyer have expressed strong and well supported interest in running for Senate or Congress. I’ve argued, sometimes unpopularly, that the right is too top heavy with think tanks, foundations, and institutes. That’s not to take away from the work they do and the message they fight for, but it stops far too short in effecting changes in governance. I accept that the best minds on our side may not be cut out for the mud drag of running for office, but I’m also encouraged that now more and more seem to be considering it.

If you had a top tier for bloggers and activists, Katie, Bruce and Ron would have to be considered as being there. But blogging is not activism, and activism is not governance. It’s going to take governance to reverse the damage now being done to the American economy, freedom, growth, and prosperity. If names like these are added to the dialog of 2014 on an ongoing basis, it’s game changing. Much of the old guard needs to be primaried. It’s not pleasant and will lead to cries of “unite, don’t divide,” but it has to be done. There is an alarming narrative emerging, even in our own ranks, that Obamacare is already irreversible, that repeal would be a pipe dream. Conservatives need to weed out Congressmen and Senators who are too weak kneed to do it, or have demonstrated a lackluster commitment to halting its march in the past. Yeah, that’s a litmus test. But the bar has already been raised by Ted Cruz and others. It’s incumbent on us to meet that, and send the best and brightest in our ranks into battle to make it so. They’re right in our back yard. They have been on message as long as they have been around. Now it’s time they fight.

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