Exclusive interview with new Heritage president Jim DeMint

posted at 12:41 pm on April 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, I had an exclusive* interview with former Senator Jim DeMint to discuss his new position at Heritage Foundation, where he replaced the retiring long-time president Ed Feulner.  The transition had been announced months earlier, and DeMint formally retired from the Senate shortly afterward. What has DeMint been doing since? He has toured the country to see how current policies are failing and creating an explosion in dependency, rather than creating real prosperity and lifting Americans out of poverty.  DeMint warns that conservatives have to assert themselves and get involved on the ground in communities like Detroit, where decades of liberal policies and union control have crippled a city that had once been “world class,” as DeMint puts it.

DeMint talked extensively about the need for safety-net programs, but also the need to keep from making them “traps.” “We have done a lot of things on the federal level that have hurt people,” DeMint says.  ”We just need to show people a better way.  They need to know that we care about them and we’re not judging them because of the situation they’re in,” DeMint continues. “In many cases, it’s because we have trapped them in failing schools … because the government schools are controlled by unions.”

DeMint also talks about the necessity of defending the traditional definition of marriage in order to focus on orienting society for the formation and responsibility of children.  ”Marriage … is the most fundamental social and economic unit in our country,” DeMint replies.  ”We’ve got all the data that shows that it’s the best way to bring up children in the world … We’ve got ample data to show that it’s very difficult for children to succeed [in other models].”

Yesterday, DeMint offered an open letter to Heritage employees, trustees, and conservatives in general explaining his new direction for the think tank:

Liberal policies have destroyed families and communities and created dependence on government. Putting our society back together will require work.

Take Obamacare. Our government has been making promises it cannot keep. Medicare and Medicaid are already on an unsustainable path, leaving health care for seniors and the poor at risk.

Obamacare’s promises fuel our fiscal challenges, but that’s not the worst thing they do. They make millions of Americans dependent on the government for their health care. By 2021, nearly half of all health care spending will be controlled by the government. To protect the country from this tipping point, Congress must stop the new spending on expanding Medicaid and subsidizing coverage through Obamacare.

Dependency is a scourge eating away at our national fiber and undermining the values that made us a shining city to the rest of the world.

Today, more people than ever before—69.5 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. The United States must reverse the direction of these trends or face economic and social collapse.

And the most important social tool to fight dependence on government, the family, is also under attack. The Supreme Court is considering challenges to two marriage laws, and hopefully the judges will stand up for marriage as we have known it since the dawn of time.

Whatever the Court’s decision in June, Heritage will redouble its efforts to restore a culture of marriage in this country, particularly for the most vulnerable. We know that children born and raised outside marriage are five times more likely to experience poverty. Marriage precedes government, and government policy will either witness to the truth or tell a lie about this fundamental institution.

Be sure to read it all, and to watch it all as well.

* – Again, using the media definition of exclusive, which means “no one else was on the call at the time.”

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I Like Jim Demint, I wish him all the best at Heritage!!

God Bless and keep up the good work!

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

None of this matters, when over 52% of the population votes in this POS president it’s all over. We have reached the tipping point.

LeftCoastRight on April 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

In many cases, it’s because we have trapped them in failing schools … because the government schools are controlled by unions.”

I read an article on Brietbart.com that since 1950 adminstration has risen 400% in schools, but students have only risen 97%. And we wonder why our students aren’t learning?

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

erwQ

Valkyriepundit on April 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I can listen to this man all day long!!

A no nonsense commonsense intelligent man!

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

ideally you’d want to (EXCLUSIVELY!) interview people who have something new and interesting to say.

sesquipedalian on April 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Good to see some Sanity based article on HotAir….

ToddPA on April 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

sesquipedalian on April 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

You know, no one forces you to come here to listen to or read anything, why do you bother, as if any of us care what you have to say, really… you are wasting your valuable and precious time!

Go do somthing constructive eh? There’s a good person :-)

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 12:49 PM

”Marriage … is the most fundamental social and economic unit in our country,” DeMint replies.

This is a very important point which brings it into context. Government is taking over more and more roles in our society, and discouraging or outlawing private institutions that used to make society work.

Fenris on April 5, 2013 at 12:49 PM

I like Jim Demint. I like Heritage.

However, I’m not sure how effective either of them are in advancing the Limited Government Conservative agenda.

I’d like to see something that Heritage actually got results on. Demint is a soft sell guy and not scary in his media appearances but what we’re missing on the gop side is showing FREAKING PASSION!!!

The left is going to demonize ANY CONSERVATIVE so why don’t we just pick leaders that tell the left to shove it, and don’t sit down and take it?

Heritage and Hillsdale and other orgs like them say all the right things but (to coin Clara Peller in 1984)…..WHERE’S THE BEEF?

PappyD61 on April 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM

PappyD61 on April 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM

I know what you are saying! I used to subscribe to Hillsdale, yeah they put out an interesting newsletter, which I miss now :-( but I want to see RESULTS!

We do need someone with Conservative Passion!

Someone with guts…

Le Sigh…

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM

The left is going to demonize ANY CONSERVATIVE so why don’t we just pick leaders that tell the left to shove it, and don’t sit down and take it?

PappyD61 on April 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Which is why conservatives initially liked Chris Christie so much. I’m afraid, though, that the reason they don’t is because privately they’re democrat-lite and looking for any excuse to ‘evolve’.

Fenris on April 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Ditto!
L

letget on April 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Oh yeah, they are evolving alright evolving to evolve a scheme.

It’s all they know what to do, dumbazz people…

Royally pissmeoff they do…

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 1:03 PM

ideally you’d want to (EXCLUSIVELY!) interview people who have something new and interesting to say.

sesquipedalian on April 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Well if it isn’t new then I guess you must agree with Senator DeMint when he says:

Liberal policies have destroyed families and communities and created dependence on government. Putting our society back together will require work.

and that

Dependency is a scourge eating away at our national fiber and undermining the values that made us a shining city to the rest of the world.

and of course that

the most important social tool to fight dependence on government, the family, is also under attack. The Supreme Court is considering challenges to two marriage laws, and hopefully the judges will stand up for marriage as we have known it since the dawn of time.

If you’re smart, this is where you simply nod your head and keep that mouth of yours shut. Because Senator DeMint is right and even the reasonable left would agree with most of the above.

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Heritage does fabulous work.

Have passion where you are with whomever you can talk with. The political class is selling civilization down the river for temporary gain of power and money. Don’t look to demagogues and charlatans to lead.

http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/family-and-religion?utm_source=Blog&utm_medium=blog%252Bcategory&utm_campaign=BlogFamily%252BReligion

And:

Heritage Departments
DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society

Scroll to the bottom for work done on marriage and the family.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Godspeed to Jim and Heritage. I have high hopes.

petefrt on April 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Which is why conservatives initially liked Chris Christie so much. I’m afraid, though, that the reason they don’t is because privately they’re democrat-lite and looking for any excuse to ‘evolve’.

Fenris on April 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

This is one conservative that never liked Chris Christie. Primarily because no “Republican” from New Jersey is going to be a true conservative. But, he really earned my hatred after that tongue bath he gave the rat-eared devil just before he bailed on the Romney campaign.

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 1:14 PM

INC on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society

You mean Heritage took some of that evil Amway money? /

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Also from Heritage:

http://www.familyfacts.org/

FamilyFacts.org provides data on family and religious practice and analysis of their role in maintaining civil society in America. Charts, Briefs, Reports, and Videos are organized in eight major topics, from Marriage & Family to Economic Well-Being to Community Involvement. User-friendly charts provide a quick reference for some of the most important data trends in America today. Two- to three-page Briefs offer analysis of these data. Reports and related Heritage research provide more extensive analysis on a specific topic, such as the relationship between family structure and teen sexual behavior.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Ryan Anderson of Heritage who is also a co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense has been on several shows debating and talking about marriage the last few weeks. He has written many, many articles on marriage at Heritage.

I have yet to see any of the videos or his work posted as a thread.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

I used to subscribe to Hillsdale, yeah they put out an interesting newsletter, which I miss now :-( but I want to see RESULTS!

Scrumpy on April 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM

In this day and age a college with a conservative bent that does not take federal funding deserves support (if just for the novelty).

The results may not be immediate but how many children has Hillsdale saved from the rabid left wing, humanist, crap that is almost all public schools of higher learning.

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I didn’t recognize their name. I’m glad some millionaires are doing something to defend civilization rather than tear it down into their progressive image.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

In Morning Bell: Make Your Voice Heard for Marriage, Ryan Anderson linked to this pamphlet from The Heritage Foundation, What You Need To Know About Marriage: Questions and Answers Driving the Debate. It’s excellent.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

No questions on the Great Gay Schoolteacher Menace?

It's Vintage, Duh on April 5, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Take Obamacare. Our government has been making promises it cannot keep.

The GOP promised to repeal Obamacare in 2010. They won huge, then backed off after they got power. Is Demint talking about himself?

I was hoping Demint would use his marketing skills to some effect at Heritage, but he has been a huge nonentity on the job so far. Looks like he only wanted to cash in and not do any hard work.

sauldalinsky on April 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Well if it isn’t new then I guess you must agree with Senator DeMint when he says:

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

it’s the same old tired bullshit. who wants to hear another tirade about unions and teh gays? is this the “new direction”? utter fail.

sesquipedalian on April 5, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Anyone who thinks Heritage does nothing try Heritage Action .

Lucano on April 5, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Another repub with no cajones for the fight. Get out for more bucks.

johnny reb on April 5, 2013 at 2:23 PM

sauldalinsky on April 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

His first full day at the job was YESTERDAY.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Another repub with no cajones for the fight. Get out for more bucks.

johnny reb on April 5, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Take a look at the Heritage website. It does a massive amount of work. It ought to be quoted regularly around here, but it’s not.

This is what Lucano mentioned: http://heritageaction.com/

INC on April 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Anyone who thinks Heritage does nothing try Heritage Action .

Lucano on April 5, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Or try Romneycare. Or Obamacare. Heritage hasn’t done anything useful for the conservative movement since the 80′s. Heritage used to be great, yes, but not any more.

Heritage Action holds no one accountable for anything. If they did, they would have featured an extensive mea culpa for Romneycare, hammered Romney on it, and made him radioactive for 2012.

sauldalinsky on April 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

His first full day at the job was YESTERDAY.

INC on April 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I’m talking about his vision. I heard his interview with Rush when he quit the Senate and his interview with Ed posted above. There have been some months in between those two, I think. Demint’s had full time to get up to speed on the operation at Heritage and his vision is wrong.

sauldalinsky on April 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

sesquipedalian on April 5, 2013

spermsequestrian…once in a while…you should spit it out!

KOOLAID2 on April 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Take a look at the Heritage website. It does a massive amount of work. It ought to be quoted regularly around here, but it’s not.

This is what Lucano mentioned: http://heritageaction.com/

INC on April 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM

He won’t have anywhere near the power or leverage to help the conservative fight by being at Heritage. This looks too much like he wants more money than more headaches.

johnny reb on April 5, 2013 at 3:09 PM

His interview with Rush was in December.

DEMINT: And that’s an important role. But after spending most of my life in advertising and marketing and research, I know that we can do a lot better job of convincing the American people, winning their hearts and souls. And if we do that, then we’re gonna be more effective inside of Congress and more effective at election time. So this is not a matter of getting out the vote. Conservatives have to be so persuasive all over the country that Republicans have to come to our ideas in order to get elected.

So, Demint left office on Jan. 1 in order to do something “more effective”. I was a fan of his in the Senate, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and was cautiously optimistic. We do need more conservative influence over culture, so if he had any great marketing ideas, that would be helpful. Frankly, though, it’s hard to have more power than a US Senator.

Here’s Daily caller on salary of previous Heritage Foundation head:

According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2010 IRS filing, Feulner made nearly $1,100,000 in total compensation that year. DeMint currently makes $174,000 a year as a senator.

“more effective” for his bank balance is what he meant. Even then, I wouldn’t mind donating to Heritage if his ideas weren’t insipid and more of the same.

sauldalinsky on April 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

ideally you’d want to (EXCLUSIVELY!) interview people who have something new and interesting to say.

sesquipedalian on April 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Right… so when are YOU going to start?( that is,being interesting instead of the usual pedestrian pedantics that just scream, “Hey look at me, sesquipedalian, I’m an a$$hole!”) Oh wait, sorry, I was giving credit where none should be forthcoming. My bad.

LOL!!!

DevilsPrinciple on April 6, 2013 at 5:47 AM

Frankly, though, it’s hard to have more power than a US Senator.

sauldalinsky on April 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Unless, of course, you’re a FORMER US Senator.

DevilsPrinciple on April 6, 2013 at 5:50 AM