Contender: South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint
2008 National Journal Ranking: 5th most conservative
Why he's important: Where to begin?
Perhaps DeMint's most daring and quiet move was his "no vote" on the small business-busting Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which was passed in 2008 in response to the China/lead toys story.
DeMint joined just two other Senators in opposing the measure, because he anticipated its reach would extend to any product intended for a child, no matter its country of origin.
Final vote? 89-3, with DeMint one of just 3 in opposition.
In the end, DeMint's stand was vindicated as Congress recently voted to delay implementation one year to further analyze the measure.
DeMint was also one of the driving forces behind the effort to kill the Fairness Doctrine, yet he had the sense to warn that the battle is far from over -- localism still presents a threat, but with DeMint on the watch, expect the pernicious act to meet heavy resistance.
DeMint is also on the march to fight "Card Check" and has introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act, which would ensure the right to privacy on unionization votes.
He was the point man in the GOP's efforts to block Tom Daschle's nomination, and voted against Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder.
And in a show of supreme defiance, he had the cajones to introduce an amendment overturning Obama's Mexico City reversal just five days after the President had signed the executive order.
For this and much more, we unequivocally attach two Walmart-sized nuts to Mr. DeMint.
Ideology: To the far right. On social issues, he's as conservative as they come, and then some. In 2006, he received a 100% rating by the National Right to Life Committee for his 100% record on fighting abortion. In 2004, he provoked intense controversy by suggesting openly gay teachers should be banned from teaching in public schools. He later apologized by saying he had spoken from his heart and not as a candidate for the United States Senate. Crocodile apology? He supports a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and has voted to ban gay adoptions in DC. Taking the preceding into account, it's not surprising he received a 0% rating on gay issues from the Human Rights Campaign in 2006.
He's strongly pro-business and voted against repealing tax subsidies on those companies moving U.S. jobs offshore. He has supported free-trade nearly every step of the way, voting for CAFTA and trade agreemants with Peru, Oman, Singapore, Australia and other countries.
DeMint has advocated cutting taxes and getting rid of the IRS, as well as repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing taxes on capital gains, and eliminating the marriage penalty. In 2006, he scored a 0% by the CTJ indicating his opposition to liberal taxation.
He walks in lock-step with the NRA, which has given him an A on gun issues, thanks to his consistent efforts at decreasing gun waiting periods, allowing firearms in national parks, and prohibiting suits against gunmakers and sellers for misuse.
[For more see On the Issues, Jim DeMint]
Why he can win: If Republicans want to nominate a southern conservative, there's no candidate more prepared to fill that role.
He's taken some truly heroic stands on pork-laden bills, questionable nominees, and controversial legislation.
He'll be immune from any conservative attacks, since you can't out-conservative Jim DeMint. And that's important in a Republican primary.
His home state (South Carolina) plays a crucial role in the primaries; however, if DeMint does run, others might abandon the state; thereby, diminishing the significance of a SC win.
DeMint has the rhetoric of Genghis Khan, but the demeanor of your Mother. It's hard to imagine how that might play in a national election, but if Obama moves too far to the left in the coming years, DeMint's brand of right-wing philosophy might catch on.
Why he can't win: He would have an extraordinarily difficult time winning independents and moderate Republicans.
Both blocs might respect his ideological honesty, but in a 2012 world, a gaffe like his suggestion that gays be barred from teaching in public schools renders him all but unelectable.
He's a religious conservative from one of the most religious and conservative states.
Winning New Hampshire is improbable.
Getting a single vote in New Hampshire is unlikely.
And winning the nomination, impossible.
Nevertheless, he's become a surprisingly effective spokesman for the GOP in a short time, and his endorsement might have a say in Presidential politics yet.
If his good friend and governor, Mark Sanford, chooses not to run, expect DeMint to jump in and raise his national profile. And who knows, after Huckabee's 08 run, anything's possible.
For comprehensive coverage of Mr. DeMint, visit our Jim DeMint News Page.
For more GOP 12 Candidate Profiles...
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
South Dakota Senator John Thune
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Florida Governor Charlie Crist
Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Former Everything Dirk Kempthrone
Arizona Senator Jon Kyl
More coming soon...
Monday, March 9, 2009
Contender: South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint