“The Emperors Waterloo Defeat”: Jim DeMint Returns To Obamacare Roots With Move To Heritage Foundation
South Carolina senator Jim DeMint announced Thursday morning that he will be leaving the Senate in January to run conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.
Although he said in a statement that “I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight,” adding that “the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas,” his departure from the Senate could be a significant blow to the right wing. DeMint, who holds extreme far-right positions on virtually all social and fiscal issues, has been the unofficial Senate leader of the Tea Party. As founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund, he has helped nominate far-right candidates in several Senate races, and has not been afraid to break with party leadership in primary battles. While some DeMint-backed candidates (like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul) won their elections and helped swing the Republican caucus to the right, others (like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell) blew winnable elections for the GOP — helping Democrats maintain their majority.
Between his extreme rhetoric and his flat rejection of ideological dissent within his caucus, DeMint is in many ways the perfect embodiment of the modern Republican Party. Despite his laughable claim that he left the Senate “a better place” than he found it — as Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski points out, the American public disagrees — in truth, his legacy is better summed up by New York senator Chuck Schumer: “Certainly his effect on the political system may have been more beneficial to Democrats than Republicans.”
For DeMint, the move to The Heritage Foundation represents the closing of a full circle with regards to the issue that made him and the Tea Party a household name: Obamacare. Although he famously declared in 2009 that “this health care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America,” and that defeating the law would be Obama’s “Waterloo,” the senator was actually for individual mandates before he was against them. Back in 2007, DeMint praised the mandate in Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law for “making freedom work for everyone.”
His new job will be a return to those roots; after all, the individual mandate was originally developed in 1989 by Heritage Foundation health care expert Stuart Butler.
Of course, just like DeMint, the Foundation now believes that the law “must be repealed.” In fact, if Heritage Action for America’s post-campaign video dramatically declaring war against President Obama is any indication of the Foundation’s priorities, then DeMint’s hyper-partisan brand of politics is a perfect fit for the think tank.
Heritage may be a perfect fit for DeMint, as well. Despite winning huge headlines as a senator, his actual legislative record is close to nonexistent. Additionally, as Kaczynski notes in Buzzfeed, DeMint is currently one of the poorest members of the Senate; his new job represents a significant pay raise, and if he plays his cards right — perhaps following Dick Armey’s example at FreedomWorks — then DeMint’s work in the right-wing private sector could set him up for life.
By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, December 6, 2012
“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in opposition to this flawed health care bill”….We heard this canned statement over and over and over again tonight. We heard about the “Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Gator aid. We heard that this bill, if it passes, will make Americans less free. We heard that members of the military would loose their health coverage, that abortions would be paid for, that Medicare would be slashed. We heard from John Boehner that this was not the time to create bureaucracies, that there was no transparency, that there was not time to read the bill, that the people do not want this bill. His remarks continued to accent his distress over the process. If I had not been watching and only listening to his remarks over the radio, one would certainly have gotten the distinct impression that he was a very, very angry man. The tone and inflections in his voice gave one to believe that John Boehner just might be a little bit concerned that history was about to pass him by.
Health reform has been talked about and debated dating back to Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party which called for health insurance for industry. In his first term, President Roosevelt appointed a committee which was to report a program that addressed old-age and unemployment issues, medical care and health insurance. President Truman proposed a single insurance system that would cover all Americans with public subsidies to pay for the poor.
During nearly every Presidential election cycle since those days, every candidate has campaigned on the slogan of “health care for all”. At the end of that cycle, nothing gets done and the cycle continues. We immediately resort back to the status quo. The numbers of uninsured rise, the cost of insurance premiums skyrocket, rescissions continue, out of pocket expenses increase, denials for pre-existing conditions fall off the scales and even children are dropped from coverage.
Well, the time for change is long overdue. Republicans, for too long, have played politics with the lives of all Americans. At every turn, they have denied, delayed, obstructed, lied outright and instilled fear in the hearts and minds of the populace. As Speaker Pelosi said tonight, “all politics are personal”. After tonight, there will be no more politics of fear, no more politics of intimidation, no more threats of personal destruction. All of the talk about process, and all of the whining from republicans with bruised egos, don’t mean a heck of a lot now. What matters to those with no insurance, to those who are uninsured and those who have been bankrupted or lost their homes because of medical bills, simply stated, are results.
Many had given up on health reform with the Senate election results in Massachusetts earlier this year. Many have talked wildly about the upcoming November elections. The insurance companies became emboldened and Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner actually began to believe their own words. Their repeated echo’s of “No” with the brazen 30-60% premium increases by Anthem and other insurers, re-awakened a cautious Democratic party. I want to personally thank Sen McConnell, Rep. Boehner and the insurance companies for their inadvertent contributions to the cause of health care reform.
In November 2008, America elected a President who said that he would get health reform done. For this President, it was not just a “slogan”. He took flack from all sides…Republicans and Democrats alike. With a determined Speaker of the House in Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and the U.S. House of Representatives delivered for the good of the American people.
When the sun rises in the east tomorrow, the earth will still be turning on it‘s axis, the American economy will not have collapsed, America will still be free, and there will be no Waterloo….the only thing that will be different tomorrow is that historic health reform for all Americans was passed tonight. History is now on the side of the American people.