Jim DeMint on GOP “Re-Branding”, 2012 Elections, Abortion, and Forcing Politicians to Actually Serve

Jim DeMint Heritage Foundation

Former Senator Jim DeMint joined NAACP Chairman Ben Jealous, Andrea Mitchell, Ted Koppel, and Bob Woodward on Sunday’s Meet the Press for a discussion on “Obama’s Second Term Agenda.”  No surprise, DeMint stuck out like a sore thumb; but not just because he was the only conservative on panel.  DeMint looked refreshingly calm and cool as they moved through the headlines – even when the conversation turned to “Re-branding the GOP.”  The “former” title may suit him after all.

Side note.  It would be laughable for me to sit here and try to act like I don’t believe the Republican Party has its fair share of problems.  This site’s not called “Republican Cheerleader.”  It’s Republican Redefined for a reason.  It has long been my belief that what it means to be a “Republican” is defined more by adherence to or association with a laundry list of talking points than it is by looking at the actual political ideology of an individual – his/her take on Capitalism and the Free Market System, how they view/interpret the Constitution, etc.  The end result is typically nothing more than a contest between and among fellow Republicans attempting to prove that “they” believe more strongly in the list, without “exceptions.”  The philosophical or ideological justifications for any of said talking points more often than not gets lost in the process.  What isn’t lost is an opportunity for Democrats, the MSM, and the ideological Left to pounce on our in-fighting and exploit the “finer points” to drive a wedge between the Party and the electorate.

I share that not just to rant, but to illustrate why I was so pleased (and surprised) with Senator DeMint’s first Sunday political show appearance serving as President of the Heritage Foundation.  His decision to leave the Senate looked to some like he was “throwing in the towel”; like he’d had enough.  To others, it was a sign that Washington is so broken that it’s no longer worth the effort.  If his first appearance in this kind of forum is any indication of things to come, DeMint looks determined to prove all doubters wrong; because he came off like a man who has only just begun to fight.

One of the reasons I left Congress is because I don’t think politicians are going to solve our problems unless the people force them to.  

Is he right?  Can people truly force politicians to “solve our problems?”  A bit idealistic, perhaps.  It seems to me that the problem with politicians is that they’re often forced to decide between getting elected and standing on their principles; between staying in power and doing what they promised to do.  While I know that’s no newsflash, it is somewhat interesting that someone of DeMint’s stature felt like he had to “get out of” politics to actually have an impact on the political process.

To paraphrase a line –  If not me, then who?

I guess he feels he can reach out to more politicians – Republicans – from the outside than he could working within the infected framework of public office.  I suppose time will tell.  But I am very happy to hear the direction he seems to be attempting to take the conversation.

Even though he ventured a bit off topic by getting stuck on the topic of Abortion, he raised a very important point.  Why do we keep killing ourselves on issues the Left won’t even touch?  And that applies to a host of issues not just related to Abortion – Illegal immigration, Same Sex Marriage, Entitlement Spending, etc.  Why do we seem determined to have primary fights on issues that help make caricatures of our candidates that won’t ever get more than a passing glance in a general election?

DeMint commenting on perceived racist, sexist, and ridiculous comments made or positions taken on issues like Abortion by Republican candidates in the 2012 election season…

“The fact that we are losing over 3000 unborn children every day is an important issue, but Republicans or conservatives should not engage in a debate about Abortion when the other side will not even agree that we have real people; real human beings.  And we need to fight the battle where it should be fought… But instead of just offering my opinion on some hypothetical debate about exceptions for Abortion, we need to move it back and particularly work with the states that are fighting for just the personhood of the child.  And if we can start there, I think America will move with us.”

Can anyone who actually followed the Republican primary debates disagree with that statement?  Was Abortion a pivotal issue in the general election?  Did having a drawn out debate during the Republican primary about the issue and which exception was acceptable produce a Pro Life president?

Didn’t think so.

Perhaps, if a “re-branding” is truly needed; it may need to start with a re-evaluation of the “test” we use to determine what it means to be a “Republican.  Maybe more accurately, we need a better test for picking the “Best Republican.”  Because it seems to me that Former Senator DeMint is correct.  While we were fighting about exceptions to abortions, Democrats were picking up votes and winning elections.  I’m fairly certain that will do very little to help us move forward a conservative agenda or restore this country to a position that more accurately reflects the original ambitions and ideals of our Founders.


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