DeMint and Scott: The Changing of the Guard

The news of the day is, undoubtedly, that Jim DeMint will be leaving the Senate.  In January, the Senator will become the next president of The Heritage Foundation, a well known conservative think tank.  The exit of DeMint is particualarly difficult following the dismissal of three conservatives from committees by House Speaker John Boehner.  

DeMint has been arguably the most powerful voice in the Senate for the Tea Party movement.  He has, more often than not, found himself in battle with Democrats and Republicans in his efforts to defend conservative principles and rein in spending on the Hill.  In 2010, DeMint was named the Conservative Of The Year by Human Events for his many achievements. He has been a champion against TARP and the individual mandate.  Additionally, he has worked hard to recruit other conservatives to serve in Washington through the Senate Conservatives Fund. As is well known, DeMint takes pride in not being a career politician which he noted in his announcement.  

My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career. I came to Congress as a citizen legislator and I’ve always been determined to leave it as citizen legislator. South Carolina has a deep bench of conservative leaders and I know Governor Haley will select a great replacement.

He will be a tough leader to replace.  All eyes now turn to Governor Nikki Haley to name a successor for DeMint, to serve until 2014.  The rumored favorite is Representative Tim Scott, who currently serves South Carolina’s 1st congressional district.  His voting record is very much in line with that of DeMint’s and he has stood strong in the face of much criticism for his votes. His first vote in the House was to repeal Obamacare and his first bill was to deauthorize and rescind it.  He followed up his strong stance against Obamacare with an effort to reform the corporate tax structure.  Recently Scott bucked Republican leadership by voting against raising the debt ceiling, yet the establishment doesn’t reject him because they are well aware of his bright future. Scott has also been a FreedomWorks for America endorsed candidate. 

According to Scott, “the House is training for whatever the good Lord has for me next.”  The people of South Carolina, and America would benefit from the principles of conservatism shown by this rising star. We should know shortly what lies ahead for Scott.