I was as stunned as anyone yesterday to hear of the resignation of Jim DeMint. I sure didn’t see that one coming, nor it seems did anybody else. They are some who question the timing of the resignation. Here is a guy with four more years to serve in the Senate and unless something unusual was to happen would probably be a shoe-in to win a third term, albeit he always said he wasn’t going to run again.
So why now, Senator? Why now in the midst of the Fiscal Cliff crisis and with the Republican Party in turmoil? Why leave conservatives in their time of need? Maybe Jim DeMint knows something the rest of us don’t.
Truth of the matter is Jim DeMint was not a player in the Fiscal Cliff debate; that was left to our state’s other Senator, Lindsey Graham. You could argue that it was staunch conservative views like DeMint’s that got us here in the first place but we’ll leave that for another time.
South Carolina is in for quite a ride in 2014. In that election year, whomever Nikki Haley names to serve out the next two years of DeMint’s term will, if they choose to, run to stay in that seat until 2016 at which time they will have to run again. Lindsey Graham is also up for re-election in 2014. Consider the possibilities. If Tea Party fervor remains high, Graham could be voted out leaving South Carolina with at best one US Senator with any time served and that being just two years. After what seemed an eternity of Thurmond and Hollings as our state’s Senators, we could be left with almost no clout in that body - a scary thought.
So why now Mr. DeMint? As head of the Heritage Foundation he will be a major force in his continuing efforts to reshape the Republican Party. He claims he is leaving it, at least as an elected official, better than he found. Not all Republicans would agree with that ascertain. Some will claim he will do more harm than good from that post as head of the think tank. Time will tell. We do know one thing though, revolutions are never pretty.
Meantime South Carolina is left to at least partially fend for itself. Fend for itself with the Fiscal Cliff and the possibility of deep military cuts looming and the specter of another round of base closings courtesy of the BRAC on the horizon. Given that, maybe Lindsey Graham will turn out to be the biggest winner of all in this.
Thanks for the memories Jim DeMint – don’t forget about us.