DeMint did vote against libertarian principles on some prominent issues, such as immigration. But when DeMint offended libertarians, it was mostly with his words. In a 2004 debate, DeMint said he didn’t think open lesbians or women who are pregnant out of wedlock should be teaching. But it never mattered what DeMint thought about who should and who shouldn’t be teaching — in part, because he believes in federalism and he doesn’t want Washington meddling in education.
DeMint upset libertarians when he told Fox in 2010, “You can’t be a fiscal conservative unless you’re also a social conservative.”
DeMint’s wording was very poor, and this is a gross overstatement. But had he been more careful, he would have had a good point.
DeMint and others could make deeper philosophical arguments about family, church and community as counterweights to state power, but there are also the basic facts on the ground: The best fiscal conservatives in politics are all social conservatives. Look at the Club for Growth scorecard again. All the most fiscally conservative senators are pro-life. You have to go down to No. 27 in the Club’s rankings — Mark Kirk — to find a pro-choicer.