Demeaned DeMint: Politico's Piece, 70 Days After Events Involved, Is Oddly Timed

DeMint0109.jpgWhat motivated Politico to take a two month-old story  about South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint (picture at right is from that story) out of mothballs and put it out there right now?

That question inevitably occurs to a careful reader of Manu Raju's "Republicans Chew on DeMint" story that appeared at the site Tuesday. It primarily covers the goings-on at a November 18 Republican Conference meeting in Washington. There is another reference to summer votes on global AIDS and housing bills.

So why is that news now? Well, it's not hard to believe that it's because DeMint's mindset is making headway with fellow Republicans in Washington. Beat reporters, as well as turf-protecting and mostly unnamed senators and senate aides, are likely not at all happy about that.

I realize it's the other chamber of Congress, but yesterday's unanimous GOP "no" to the stimulus/"Porkulus" bill by House Republicans is a sign that the Party of Lincoln may be on the road back to its roots. By holding the line, Minority Leader John Boehner and his colleagues, at least for one day, made it clear that core beliefs mean something. Jim DeMint surely welcomed that result.

The same can't be said for Senate GOPers sniping about DeMint, as Raju reports (bolds are mine):

..... some Senate Republicans say privately that DeMint has done plenty to humiliate himself.

As Republicans seek a way forward after two disastrous elections, social and fiscal conservative activists off Capitol Hill are rallying behind DeMint because of his unrelenting style to force his party to return to its small-government, free market roots.

..... But DeMint is less willing to compromise with Democrats than many in his party, and some Senate Republicans doubt his fiery tactics can lead their party out of the political wilderness when the public is seeking an end to legislative gridlock.

DeMint’s critics, including senior Republican senators and top aides in the Senate, say his refusal to work within the norms of the body — by showing deference to party leaders and chairmen and building support behind closed doors without airing concerns first to the news media — undermines his ability to draw support for his cause.

In interviews, some aides and senators say privately that while they believe he is fighting for a worthy cause, the drama he creates between GOP leaders and himself is designed to project his image as an unyielding reformer — even though he agrees with his leaders on most issues.

..... DeMint, up for reelection in 2010, is genial by nature and says he tried to work within the Capitol’s seniority system during his three terms in the House and his first two years in the Senate.

But he has learned, he said, that lawmakers in both parties “only respond to pain.”

“They don’t respond to good policy, persuasion, being nice. I’ve tried it all,” he said. “There’s nobody nicer than I am.”

In a chamber where relationship building is seen as paramount to legislative successes, DeMint said that “club friendships [have become] more important than the party and where we’re going as a country.”

Taking the bolds one at a time:

  • Who says "the public is seeking an end to legislative gridlock," and what does that have to do with the current Dem-owned White House, Senate, and Congress? Barring long-shot filibusters, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can pass anything they want, any time they want to. Thus, what Raju alleges can't be. What Democrats want is legislative cover for whatever disastrous bills they might pass. DeMint won't cooperate. Too bad, so sad.
  • Yes, too many lawmakers only respond if it appears that there re-election chances will be hurt. Witness the immigration/amnesty drama in Summer 2007.
  • The Left has always capitalized on "club friendships" to wear down principled conservatives. It's almost never gone the other way.

Back on point: There appears to be no journalistic reason why Politic held this mid-November story until now. Thus, there had to be some other motivation to sit on it. Excuse me for believing that it involves trying to divide the GOP just as it appears to be coalescing as a coherently principled group. Are there any credible alternative reasons?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.