DeMint demurs on endorsement in South Carolina primary

posted at 10:50 am on January 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

So much for conservative consolidation.  After a congress of conservative activists bestowed its blessing on Rick Santorum as their endorsed consolidation candidate, the most prominent conservative in South Carolina will take a pass on endorsing anyone:

One of the most sought-after South Carolina politicians said Monday he would not endorse a candidate ahead of the Palmetto State’s primary.

Sen. Jim DeMint, who has offered praise to all of the candidates in the field, said in a statement, “I do not have a favorite in this race and I will not endorse a candidate.” …

“I’ve gotten to know each of the candidates over the past year and they are all far superior to Obama,” DeMint said. “My view reflects what I’ve heard from Republican voters across South Carolina who remain divided in this race.”

DeMint would have been a big get for any candidate in the GOP field, given his high regard among conservative voters. Many of the contenders have met with the senator in person, looking to gain his backing.

Indeed they did, and a DeMint endorsement would have reverberations far outside of South Carolina, too.  So will his non-endorsement.  Tony Perkins hoped to get conservative voters to focus on a single alternative to Mitt Romney by gathering 150 leaders of the family-values movement to make their own endorsement.  Rick Santorum won that battle on the third ballot, and could have hoped to gain some votes from the columns of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, if not pressure them to pull out of the race.  Instead, the non-endorsement that follows on the heels of Perkins’ efforts will encourage the other candidates to remain in the race, and takes at least a little of the wind out of the sails of the endorsement of Santorum.

This doesn’t help Mitt Romney directly, of course, especially since DeMint endorsed Romney in 2008.  The lack of a DeMint endorsement in 2012 will help fuel conservative skepticism over Romney’s bid in this cycle.  However, to the extent that a non-endorsement slows or prevents conservative consolidation in South Carolina, that does nothing but boost Romney’s chances of winning the primary in the Palmetto state and threatening an early end to the Republican nomination fight.


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noneoftheabove: No bot, I. I am a conservative–a true conservative, not the big-spending ideologue wing-nut caricature of a conservative. But you go right on ahead and bang your wee head on the keyboard; maybe it will knock some sense into those two brain cells you’ve got left to rub together!

mountainaires on January 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

LOL.. call them what you want Ed, it doesn’t change their stripes. Granted, Santorum is the preferred candidate of the religious right but he is not a fiscal conservative. He too is about redistribution of wealth, he just has a different method for taking my income and giving it to his selected winners.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I’m curious, Texas Gal, do you think there is anyone in the race besides Ron Paul who passes the “no redistribution” test? (I am not posing this as a challenge; I’d really just like to know your opinion.)

Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

If Demint or any other Republican has courage and genuine conservative convictions and truly cares to “secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, they would boldly proclaim, for all of the world to hear, that “We the People need someone like Sarah Palin to lead us out of the pit we’re in and shine a light on the liberal/socialists cockroaches, Rs and Ds, who are spitting on our Constitution.” Don’t have a cow. I said “like”.

Landon Thompson on January 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Dr. Evil.

I prefer to speak for myself and don’t let myself be persuaded OR dissuaded from calling it like it is just because a liberal or a conservative uses a talking point. Got it?

WINGNUT perfectly encapsulates the mindset of religious ideologues who have had far too much influence on the Republican Party for far too long; Reagan started it, but it is time for it to end. These people ARE the liberals within the GOP; they believe in spending recklessly on social programs, just like liberals.

Do some research on conservativism; it doesn’t include military adventurism, social engineering or big-government policies that prevent individual freedom.

mountainaires on January 16, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I’m confused. Wasn’t the meeting actually evangelical leaders, and not just conservative leaders? (Not that the evangelicals aren’t conservative, but just differentiating it from TEA Party conservatives.)

angelat0763 on January 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

To all who keep calling Santorum a “statist”, I’m wondering if they think that the House and the Senate have any control at all? They do make the laws. We’ll be in much better shape if the Republicans get control of the Senate and pass some laws or budgets that help us get spending under control. I believe Congress is the place to start for the repeal of Obamcare.

LL1960 on January 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Obamacare isn’t going be repealed, because there are going too many Democrats in the Senate for that to happen. Anyway, I’m not sure why there exists this bizarre desire to go back to FDRcare. What conservative Congressmen need to do is to improve Obamacare until it is no longer in any meaningful sense Obamacare. For instance, they could amend Obamacare until it is the Ryan plan.

thuja on January 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Midwestprincesse on January 16, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Romney-mormon-bad

Romney-abortion flip flopper-bad

you see the irony

gerrym51 on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Gerry, again: Is Mrs. Santorum running for president?

You are in the special elite class of <1% on hotair who care about stuff like this. Congratulations!!!

balkanmom on January 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Smart move by Demint. He has declared his independence and has let the candidates know he is not in the bag for anyone of them. If they want his support now or in the future, they will have to give something conservative in return. Red State asked him to not endorse anyone if it was not going to be Rick Perry. DeMint was getting a lot of blow back from supporters of his PAC who did not want him endorsing Romney. He listened. And that is good. Had he endorsed Romney, he would have lost most of his tparty support and his PAC would have dried up.

they lie on January 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Good for him. Jim DeMint is a smart man.

thirtyandseven on January 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

mountainaires, thanks for the suggestion, although I’m calling them like I see it. You see, you guys won’t win without independents, so keep sweet talking me to your way of thinking. The only reason I’m registered as an R in Ohio is because as a former democrat, I knew Obama was bad news. Didn’t vote for him, won’t again. But that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for mittens. I work in healthcare and know quite a bit about Romney and his “romneycare”. There isn’t a tinker’s damn difference as far as I am concerned. So keep sweet talkin all those who disagree with you, it will win you friends and really really influence people to “your” way of thinking. lol I use to laugh at how stupid the Republican party was, then thought they really wanted to stop Obama, but truth is, all they want is the power for their “team”. So use your one brain cell and think for yourself, instead of going along with the “establishment’s choice”. It’s really very liberating.

noneoftheabove on January 16, 2012 at 1:18 PM

balkanmom on January 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Irony is Irony

gerrym51 on January 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Do some research on conservativism; it doesn’t include military adventurism, social engineering or big-government policies that prevent individual freedom.

Time for a reality check…conservatism, includes support for a strong national defense, the recognition that the US is the only world superpower and because of that acceptance of the reality that we are compelled to be willing to use military power when it is in the national interest…we can certainly debate what national interest constitutes in specific cases.

If by social engineering you mean establishing certain societal and cultural norms intended to maintain morality, then yes, since the begining of this republic government, at all levels, has played a large role in social engineering for the benefit of the society and cultural and I expect that to continue.

With regard to Big governmennt policies, there is certainly a laundry list of things the federal government should not be engaged in, but that is not to say that some of those things are the responsibility of State or more importantly local government, while others should not be the responsibility of government at any level.

For those who think we can return government to the same role it had in 1800 has either not read history and/or ignores the fact that the world and the United States is a very different place 212 years later. The challenge is how to adapt conservative princples to the current reality, not just shut your eyes, cover your ears and shout “make it go away”…it won’t.

And for the record I think DeMint is a coward.

ironmarshal on January 16, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Romney-mormon-bad

Romney-abortion flip flopper-bad

you see the irony

gerrym51 on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Are we voting for Mrs. Romney?

Midwestprincesse on January 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I’m curious, Texas Gal, do you think there is anyone in the race besides Ron Paul who passes the “no redistribution” test? (I am not posing this as a challenge; I’d really just like to know your opinion.)
Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I don’t have a “no redistribution” test. I have a “fiscal conservative” test. Setting Santorum’s social policy aside, his fiscal policy is not conservative.

There wasn’t a “congress of conservative activists” … there was a gathering of evangelical religious leaders who met for the specific purpose of selecting a candidate to represent the religious right and they selected Santorum. Fiscal concerns had little, if anything, to do with that selection.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Aizen on January 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

seriously, do you even know anything about Reagan? He signed into law the final California legislation change to the Abortion Law originally enacted in the 1870′s. This in 1968, during his California Governorship.

He compromised on the border and provided amnesty. This has become a fiscal nightmare to the states.

Reagan was conservative, but about as conservative as Mitt Romney. You just have blinders on and fail to see the truth.

uhangtight on January 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Midwestprincesse on January 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM

If you read the entire article you found out that BOTH Rick Santorum and his wife were PRO_CHOICE at the beginning of their marriage. I find it totally believable that as time evolved they became pro-life and are now staunch pro-lifers.

what i don’t like is Romney is not given the same benefit of doubt that they are. He says he’s pro-life and the majority o pollsters on this site don’t believe it.

gerrym51 on January 16, 2012 at 1:53 PM

gerrym51 on January 16, 2012 at 1:53 PM

It is amazing, isn’t it? Why a change of heart imagine that, yet, we keep hearing how this is in Romney a flip-flop. Go figure. I guess it isn’t really flip-flop, but I just don’t like the guy. Therefore, I can create a reality around him that enforces my belief that he is 1. not conservative, 2. a flip-flopper or 3. anything i want to justify my ‘feelings’.

uhangtight on January 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM

He’s keeping his sould, a tad longer.

He’ll support Romney, soon enough.

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Freudean :(((

S/b soul

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I don’t have a “no redistribution” test. I have a “fiscal conservative” test. Setting Santorum’s social policy aside, his fiscal policy is not conservative.

There wasn’t a “congress of conservative activists” … there was a gathering of evangelical religious leaders who met for the specific purpose of selecting a candidate to represent the religious right and they selected Santorum. Fiscal concerns had little, if anything, to do with that selection.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Thanks for your response,Texas Gal.

I wasn’t asking about the Texas conclave; I know what that was all about. I was simply curious about which candidate you would support on the basis of fiscal conservatism, though I mistakenly thought your point was about redistribution.

Again, I wasn’t asking as any sort of challenge or “gotcha.” I’m very sorry if it came across that way.)

Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 2:18 PM

“I’ve gotten to know each of the candidates over the past year and they are all far superior to Obama,” DeMint said.

Correct.

Ronnie on January 16, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Thanks for your response,Texas Gal.
I wasn’t asking about the Texas conclave; I know what that was all about. I was simply curious about which candidate you would support on the basis of fiscal conservatism, though I mistakenly thought your point was about redistribution.
Again, I wasn’t asking as any sort of challenge or “gotcha.” I’m very sorry if it came across that way.)
Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Thank you, but no apology necessary, I didn’t take it as a ‘gotcha’. My original point was to Ed’s characterization that Santorum was the conservative candidate selected by a congress of conservative activists. In that definition, conservative only includes the religious right, not fiscal conservatives. I’ve seen this movie before.

A certain amount of redistribution of wealth is necessary for a functioning society. It’s been that way since colonial times in America and I fully support providing some level of financial support for those who can’t support themselves. But Santorum, for example, proposes to increase the child tax-credit from $1K to $3K per household, so 5 kids goes from a $5,000 credit to a $15,000 credit. That only will serve to increase the percentage of those who pay no tax at all. That is a move in the wrong direction. And that’s just one of his proposed tax ‘reforms’.

When it comes to my view of the fiscal conservatives in the race, Paul and Romney.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Thank you, but no apology necessary, I didn’t take it as a ‘gotcha’. My original point was to Ed’s characterization that Santorum was the conservative candidate selected by a congress of conservative activists. In that definition, conservative only includes the religious right, not fiscal conservatives. I’ve seen this movie before.

A certain amount of redistribution of wealth is necessary for a functioning society. It’s been that way since colonial times in America and I fully support providing some level of financial support for those who can’t support themselves. But Santorum, for example, proposes to increase the child tax-credit from $1K to $3K per household, so 5 kids goes from a $5,000 credit to a $15,000 credit. That only will serve to increase the percentage of those who pay no tax at all. That is a move in the wrong direction. And that’s just one of his proposed tax ‘reforms’.

When it comes to my view of the fiscal conservatives in the race, Paul and Romney.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Thanks for taking the time to respond TG! I really appreciate – and learn from – the substantive nature of your comments.

Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Thanks for taking the time to respond TG! I really appreciate – and learn from – the substantive nature of your comments.

Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Thanks for your consideration. I appreciate it.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM

As long as conservative leaders like Jim Demint and Sarah Palin stay on the sidelines refusing to endorse a candidate, Mitt Romney wins this thing.

Why are all the “leading” conservatives refusing to do the job required and lead on support for a presidential nominee. Demint was proactive last election cycle to endorse conservatives in the Senate. It irks me to no end that top conservative politicians and radio personalities for all their gripping stay on the sidelines.

Sean Hannity continues with the mantra that he is undecided shows a great lack of ability and thought for the person who claims conservative first party second. At least, Levine (warts and all) stuck his neck out and did not seem to hurt his audience.

If Romney wins this, a majority of the blame shall be at the feet of these politicians and radio personalities.

PuritanD71 on January 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Gerry, yes, abortion is important….But, the number one issue in this election is obamacare and repealing it. It’s risky to nominate a guy who has no leg to stand on regarding the issue. We need to stay on the important issue. If Romney gets on the ticket, obamacare becomes an issue which cannot be brought up.

If Obama is re-elected, then say goodbye to freedom. We all (at least the conservatives on Hotair) know it’s true. We’re finished with BHO in a second term.

balkanmom on January 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

But Santorum, for example, proposes to increase the child tax-credit from $1K to $3K per household, so 5 kids goes from a $5,000 credit to a $15,000 credit. That only will serve to increase the percentage of those who pay no tax at all. That is a move in the wrong direction. And that’s just one of his proposed tax ‘reforms’.

Not sure I understand the linkage…why would that increase the percentage that pay nothing…Santorum has been clear that we need to change the tax code so that more pay something in federal income tax. Given the declining birth rate, how many five children households do you really think there are?

When it comes to my view of the fiscal conservatives in the race, Paul and Romney.

Any credibility you had just went out the window when you mention those two in the same sentence…depending on your definition of fiscal conservative Paul qualifies but Romney…

ironmarshal on January 16, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Any credibility you had just went out the window when you mention those two in the same sentence…depending on your definition of fiscal conservative Paul qualifies but Romney…

ironmarshal on January 16, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Since I have no credibility with you, I assume your question was rhetorical and your purpose in asking it was to read your own words.

Texas Gal on January 16, 2012 at 6:42 PM

You know who this hurts?

Not Newt Gingrich because the one he was most likely to endorse would be Romney anyway because about everybody is focusing on Romney and not giving any true consideration to other candidates these days. I really don’t see anybody caring about non-Romneys. If he would have said anything it would have been to help Mitt.

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 8:35 PM

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