“They say she can’t win and that by supporting her, I’ve helped lose the seat for Republicans,” DeMint said. “Well, I’ve been in the majority with Republicans who didn’t have principles, and we embarrassed ourselves and lost credibility in front of the country. Frankly, I’m at a point where I’d rather lose fighting for the right cause than win fighting for the wrong cause.”…
“National Republicans are not going to invest real money in this race and her primary opponent, Rep. Mike Castle, is refusing to endorse her,” DeMint wrote to supporters of his political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund.
“The dirty little secret in Washington is that the establishment is quietly rooting for Christine to lose so they can continue to peddle their discredited line that conservatives cannot win.”…
Republicans say DeMint is giving himself too much credit for O’Donnell’s victory, given that he only threw his support behind her 72 hours before voters went to the polls and after she surged from enthusiasm from tea party activists.
“Anyone who writes down that he had a significant impact in that election is smoking crack,” one senior Republican aide said.
Much more at the link above, including a reminder that DeMint himself was preaching the gospel of unity in the name of victory literally yesterday. To be fair, this is hardly a case of him picking a fight; GOP Beltway types of all stripes, from senators to aides on down, snipe at him regularly (and usually anonymously) for pushing principle to the point where, they believe, it detracts from electability. O’Donnell’s win was the paramount example of that, which is why this is all coming to a head. His point about people rooting for O’Donnell to lose because they believe conservatives can’t win is cheap, though, notwithstanding the fact that it’ll be greeted rapturously by “true conservatives” ever eager to believe the worst about their enemies (and RINOs are the enemy this week). Of course conservatives can win. They’ve been winning for years, and in a cycle as disgusted with Democrats as this one is, they can win even in bluish states. The question isn’t whether conservatives can win, it’s whether they can win at all times, in all places, irrespective of the quality of their candidate. Most “true conservatives” think they can, which is why if O’Donnell loses in Delaware or Angle in Nevada, etc, it is and can only be (a) the fault of the damned RINOs, just like everything else in the world, and/or (b) because America’s not quite ready yet to elect 60 Rubios. Supposedly we’ll get there — eventually. I’m wondering, though, what Palin thinks about that because here’s what she said just a few weeks ago about Scott Brown:
Palin, in an interview on Fox Business Network, was asked whether the Massachusetts Republican was “on notice” for siding with Democrats on several key votes.
“Well, you know, take the consideration, though, that that’s Massachusetts,” Palin said. “Perhaps they’re not going to look for such a hard-core constitutional conservative there, and they’re going to put up with Scott Brown and some of the antics there.”
Yeah, perhaps not. In which case, what do we do now? Support a centrist like Brown or keep nominating Jim DeMint types until the People’s Republic of Massachusetts finally sees the light? If the answer is the latter, then riddle me this: How come Sarahcuda supported centrist Carly Fiorina instead of Chuck DeVore in the deep blue state of California?
Here’s video of DeMint on Fox yesterday emphasizing that he doesn’t want a Republican majority if it doesn’t stand for anything. I agree — but define “anything.” If a majority of Republicans agree that Congress needs to repeal ObamaCare, balance the budget, and reform Social Security and Medicare, does that qualify as standing for something, or do we stand for “nothing” if we fail to agree with DeMint on everything? Maybe, as a friend suggested on Twitter, I’m reading too much into this and DeMint’s fundraising e-mail is really just a clever way of playing good cop/bad cop, beating up on the Beltway RINOs with their tacit approval in order to kick up a little extra money for O’Donnell in Delaware. Could be, but I take him seriously when he gives these lectures about principle. Scott Brown wondered at yesterday’s caucus meeting whether there’s any room for moderates to disagree on issues anymore; I’m sure that DeMint would say yes but I’m not sure why he would say yes except for the fact that, deep down, he worries that “true conservatives” in some states can’t win without RINO votes. (That’s probably the case for Rubio in purplish Florida, at least.) If you guys want the RINOs out because they’re holding conservatism back, they’re a cancer on the party, blah blah blah, that’s fine but be forthright about it. The sooner this shakes out, the better for everyone.
Update: DeMint’s office sends along this op-ed from last year in which he calls for a “big tent” in the GOP. Like I said above, I don’t doubt that when pressed he’ll say he welcomes moderates in the party. Any smart vote-seeking politician would say the same. But what does it mean in practice?
To win back the trust of the American people, we must be a “big tent” party. But big tents need strong poles, and the strongest pole of our party — the organizing principle and the crucial alternative to the Democrats — must be freedom. The federal government is too big, takes too much of our money, and makes too many of our decisions. If Republicans can’t agree on that, elections are the least of our problems…
Freedom will mean different things to different Republicans, but it can tether a diverse coalition to inalienable principles. Republicans can welcome a vigorous debate about legalized abortion or same-sex marriage; but we should be able to agree that social policies should be set through a democratic process, not by unelected judges. Our party benefits from national-security debates; but Republicans can start from the premise that the U.S. is an exceptional nation and force for good in history. We can argue about how to rein in the federal Leviathan; but we should agree that centralized government infringes on individual liberty and that problems are best solved by the people or the government closest to them.
Serious question: Does that last bit mean that Scott Brown, who voted for financial reform, and Paul Ryan, who voted for TARP, are out? Is Chris Christie out for supporting a path to citizenship for illegals? How many deviations from the principles laid out by DeMint here are tolerable? I’m not asking for infinite leeway — just read my posts about Charlie Crist or Arlen Specter — but are we now at the point of zero tolerance? Here’s a quote for you about TARP: “Every person who voted for it is going to have explain if not apologize for their vote on it.” That’s not from Jim DeMint, it’s from … Mike Huckabee. Is Mike Huckabee, of all people, now setting the litmus test?