December 7, 2012

"In some ways DeMint and Heritage are like divorcees who didn’t fit in their prior relationships, but now have found each other."

Writes Jennifer Rubin:
Heritage cannot keep up with AEI, Hoover and others on the serious scholarship, so why not get a huge fundraiser, a headline- grabber and household name? DeMint, meanwhile, can vastly increase his earnings (he is among the poorest members of the Senate), enjoy a lavish expense budget and not be bothered with the late hours and constituent complaints that make for a certain drudgery in the Senate. Moreover, he wasn’t doing anything in the Senate for years other than taunting colleagues and trying to stop legislation that failed the purity test (all of it). That in part is a function of a do-nothing Senate, but it was also DeMint’s choice to eschew lawmaking, policy enactment, bridge-building and steady but slow progress in passing a conservative agenda. Ultimately, that’s not very fulfilling, especially if you aren’t paid very well.

45 comments:

Fr Martin Fox said...

Ms. Rubin may be right in some respects, but she embarrasses herself in not recognizing the great value in what Mr. DeMint did.

Over the years, the Senate has had certain members, both Republican and Democratic, who have had a very significant effect on public policy, simply by saying no--and doing it very publicly, in ways that infuriate the rest of the club.

The late Jesse Helms did this for years as a Republican, and Howard Metzenbaum, from my state, did so as well. Metzenbaum was renowned for having staffers keeping a close eye on everything that transpired; and if something he cared about cropped up--and was about to sail through because no one was paying attention--Metzenbaum would scurry to the floor to object.

Of course there were things Helms and Metzenbaum were for; and when the time was right, they got some of what they were for, enacted. So it would have been for DeMint.

But we might recall a quote of President Grover Cleveland (much underrated), who said he wasn't so much proud of any one thing he enacted, as much as all the foolishness he put a stop to.

Our country could be in a much worse mess--or could have been a while ago--but for folks like DeMint who will not be bullied or cowed when they rise to say "No."

damikesc said...

I love that some conservatives claim they want to change the status quo --- and then whine about actual conservatives who do that.

ricpic said...

Ya mean Jennie would've been full of praise for DeMint if he'd been MORE successful in enacting a conservative agenda? That's what the lying bitch would have us believe. How do lefty pukes look themselves in the mirror? Oh, I forgot, the ends justify the means.

Fr Martin Fox said...

In case it wasn't clear, Metzenbaum was a Democrat, as zealous a liberal as Helms was a conservative. I don't admire anything Mr. Metzenbaum advocated, but I do admire his abilities.

Christopher said...

Rubin was one of the geniuses who brought us Mitt Romney. Decent guy, wrong man for the times. She trashed anyone who disagreed with that. Functionally she is content to let us boil slowly to death, provided the temperature increase is gradual.

Crunchy Frog said...

Yeah, DeMint should have bent over and grabbed his ankles instead, all in the name of bipartisanship. He would have fit in so much better with his colleagues.

Cedarford said...

It does seem that Republicans have realized the great difference between true conservatives that say no to spending but have a door open to compromise (Sen Coburn) and the purity test firebrands of the right that see any deviation from the furthest of Far Right litmus tests as "anti-American, a betrayal, a crossing of Grover Norquist or John Bolton's views.".

Nothing like a bad election and loss not just of the Presidency but 3 Senate seats thought to be in the bag.

You can say no on some matters. (See Coburn or Simpson in his day) But not all matters, and you cannot keep screaming any Republican who talks to a group of black voters, thinks Grover Norquist is an albatross on Republicans, or questions endless neocon war, or wants some compromise on abortion - is a TRAITOR RINO who will be "Primary'd" out of office by true believers.

edutcher said...

Working (or trying to) with Dingy Harry must be like being the only sane person in an asylum.

Cedarford said...

Christopher said...
Rubin was one of the geniuses who brought us Mitt Romney. Decent guy, wrong man for the times. She trashed anyone who disagreed with that. Functionally she is content to let us boil slowly to death, provided the temperature increase is gradual.
==================
Yeah...
And the alternative would be ....
Newt?
Rick Savanarola?
Chris Christie - he of the Obama bear hug?
Goo ol' Rick Perry down yonder, 'cause we all ached fo another true Texan of action and not thought??
DeMint?

America is in steep decline, and that decline was brought us not just by welfare state Dems - but Republicans.

1. Republicans (and Clintonistas to be sure) that gutted American industry under "Free Trade means Freedom!!" Nutballs thinking Ricardo still applies with a global labor pool and instant transfer of technology, capital, and experise. With all the idigenous resources of comparative advantage of one nation over the other in Ricardo's day just a ship, plane ride, or agricultural tweak away.

2. That insisted the financiers and CEOs could self-regulate and would never screw the country and the whole capitalist systen they depended on.

3. Who renamed the rich the Hero Jobs Creators and Economy Growers that would make us all blossom if oinly given fat tax cuts and most of the new wealth created by business instead of workers because the rich could use that concentrated wealth more wisely on behalf of all of us. As their boats were lifted, ours would be as well.
And after 11 years of that not happening, still insist that returning the rich to Clinton era tax rates is the equivalent of Communists lining the "Jobs Creators and Economy Growers" up against a wall and shooting them.

4. That talked about living within our means - but as soon as Republicans controlled the Congress and Presidency under Bush, Frist, Lott, Tauzin, Hastert and DeLay announced that debt does not matter and began a spending spree and government growth and K Street corruption cabal that Lyndon Baines Johnson would have envied.

sunsong said...

My view is that DeMint is an extremist and therefore not helpful.

These are times that require dialogue not dogmatism, imo. The far right is VERY loud, "full of sound and fury" and too stupid to see the country has rejected them.

DeMint supported Akin for God's sake. That is sick!

Fr Martin Fox said...

Contrary to the "conventional wisdom," which the tax-raisers are trying to make seem urgent, there isn't any great problem or dilemma for the Republicans at all as the "fiscal cliff" draws near.

As Senator Rand Paul said yesterday, the GOP doesn't have to stop the Democrats from getting their tax hike; but it's imperative to let it be the Democrats who do it.

He suggested just standing by and voting "present." But even that isn't necessary.

It's this easy:

Before or after the current tax rates expire, the House holds two votes:

1) A bill making all temporary tax rates permanent, including for the higher payers.

2) A bill making permanent all but the top rates permanent.

Send them both to the Senate.

The Senate and the President can do what they like.

Obviously, if taxes go up, it's because the Democrats voted for it.

Now, there's a slightly more elegant way to do it:

Offer the President and Reid this deal. The GOP will schedule the bill that lets the higher rates expire if Reid agrees to let the bill making them all permanent come to a Senate vote (he's blocked it so far). The vote on the Dem's favored bill only happens after the GOP's favored bill is stopped--either by the Senate, or a veto.

The mistake people make is in thinking the GOP loses something if it fails to stop a tax increase. Not true. The GOP loses only if either helps bring about a tax increase, or if it allows itself to be scapegoated for an economic downturn.

Meanwhile, the President and the Dems keep saying, (a) the GOP is blocking the needed tax increase and (b) this intransigence is hurting the economy, while a tax increase will help.

The GOP is not blocking a tax increase; it will come no matter what.

They don't have to vote for a tax increase; they should just vote to keep it as minimal as possible.

Then--when the tax increase doesn't help, doesn't do much on the deficit, and if indeed worsens the economy, it's all on the Democrats.

The only way the GOP loses in this game plan is if the President is actually right in saying this one change will (a) fix our woes and (b) not hurt the economy.

dreams said...

I like Jennifer Rubin but I don't always agree with her. I do like that she is aggressive and forceful when debating the liberals.

Darcy said...

Ugh. Her style is so annoying. Bitchy.

I'm not crazy about DeMint bailing, but I'm also not crazy about conservatives consistently buckling under and "compromising" much, much more than Democrats. Rubin doesn't mind this at all.

And Rubin? Your guy lost, and he was far from a Tea Party type. Whaddya wanna do? Move even more leftward? No thanks.

Coketown said...

Thank God in Heaven these divorcees found each other past their child-bearing years. I shudder to think what their policy babies would look like.

Inga said...

No, by all means move ever further to the right. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

damikesc said...

No, by all means move ever further to the right.

Bush Sr. Dole. Bush Jr. McCain. Romney.

Where is the "right-wing" guy?

I'm not seeing it.

Not compromising and becoming more strident worked for Democrats, hasn't it? Our insipid dunce of a President got re-elected in spite of being a low-level functional retard.

Shouting Thomas said...

No, by all means move ever further to the right.

You might want to cool off on the smug triumphalism, Inga.

Your side won this election. You lost in 2010. I guarantee you will lose again, perhaps in 2014.

The country isn't unalterably changed. Conservatism will return.

Inga said...

I wonder why the House Budget Committee dumped the two Tea Pary Reps, Huelskamp and Amash?

Cedarford said...

I think the end of 11 years of tax cuts for the rich have to end for the basic reason Obama has stated -not redistributionist (unless you are willing to call Ike, Nixon redistributionists that hated the Hero Job Creator - but Fairness

The only way the public will accept the pain that is to come is if the sacrifice is shared. If shared sacrifice is not on the table, it is hard to get the rest of society to buy into any social contract that they are going to get screwed - but certain members of the Contract are exempt.

This played out a couple times with the Draft. Hundreds were killed, thousands injured in mass riots during the Civil War in the North when it became common knowledge that the Rich were exempt from being cannon fodder from having the money to bribe Draft officials or pay an escaped slave, etc. to serve in their stead.
In the Vietnam era, the Elites managed to finagle all sorts of deferments for those of wealth and privilege...or allowed wealthy progressive Jews and liberals to flee to Canada or Europe and wait out the war in confort...knowing their eventual pardon was going to be bought by their wealthy parents. Two circumstances that still rankle many older Americans who were part of that generation.

You are going to ask the poor and struggling middle class to cough up a good deal of entitlements they have grown used to receiving. They will be even less accepting if they see tax cuts that mainly benefit the wealthiest going on with the rich's conspicuous consumption unhindered.
Spending has to be cut, revenue increased.

Fr Martin Fox said...

The Republicans may mess it up, but if they play it right, it goes like this:

1) They don't vote for tax increases, but they don't block a vote on legislation that locks in most of the tax rates, leaving some to go up Jan. 1 (or whatever the deadline is).

2) They can simply say to Obama, if you don't like the scheduled spending cuts, we'll be happy to look at others equal to the same amount; otherwise, we're fine with these. The spending cuts--that are termed so draconian--are $100 Billion a year; a very small slice of what is planned to be spent.

3) Once Obama has his tax increase, he can crow all he wants and declare victory, but what has he won? He's the one who kept claiming how critical that tax increase was to fixing the deficit problem. So he's in tight spot: if he gets his tax increase, it has to work!

Of course it won't; it's $80-$100 a year at best, and if it works as tax increases usually do, it'll produce less than promised. But even if it generates all he hopes, that's still far from a solution to the deficit. Now what, Mr. President?

4) If, as many predict, the economy is going to slow down, then the Democrats will be in a fix; even if the tax increase didn't actually cause the slowdown, it's hard to see how the Democrats benefit, going into 2014, with both a worsened economy, and a tax increase with their--and only their--fingerprints on it.

5) If, as the GOP claims, the tax increase either fails to generate the promised revenue, and/or it actually impedes growth, then the Democrats have even more problems for 2014. The worse, the better.

6) Meanwhile, the folks who are being hit by the tax increase won't be happy. Who do they blame in 2014?

Sounds like predictions of the death of the Tea Party and Grover Norquist may be premature.

damikesc said...

I'm all for raising taxes in a way to cripple NY and CA. They wanted it badly. Own all of it.

Darcy said...

I guess it doesn't matter what we believe in, as long as we "build bridges" and move sufficiently left?

You know what? Screw that. Mock all you want, lefties. I can defend my stances on every single issue. Every one is based on preserving the freedom I take very seriously, even if it doesn't affect me directly. That's called principle.

Mock away. I'll stick to defending my freedom and voting for those who represent that. I don't want them to "compromise" because every time they do, Americans lose a little more freedom. Enough of that.

machine said...

"Conservatism will return"

There is no conservatism...

mccullough said...

I largely agree with Cedarford's take. The symbolism of increasing taxes on the rich might be of some use to society in general, and the Republicans in particular.

The Republicans also need to realize that the base of their party is families that make between $65,000 and $200,000 a year. I.e. the middle class. The poor and working poor and those making more than $250,000 a year skew toward the Dems. The uber-wealthy, those with net worth of more than $5 million, are heavily Democrat.

We need to raise some revenue in the country and to cut spending. The Republicans should be all on board for heavy estate taxes and elimination of charitable deductions from estate taxes. Guys like Buffett and Gates will not have to pay much estate tax because they are donating their estates to charity. That is very nice of them, but the government needs to get its 50% cut first. Buffett can pay a $20 billion estate tax bill then leave the other $20 billion to the Gates Foundation. This should be low-hanging fruit for Republicans.

As for cutting spending, means test Social Security and Medicare for the wealthy. No one gets anything from Medicare or Social Security until their net worth falls below $4.0 million and then phase in the benefits from there until full benefits when net worth is $500,000 or less. Then raise the eligibility ages, phasing them in starting in 5 years.


From here, then reform the means-tested entitlements with phase-outs for different programs at different income thresholds so the poor/working poor are encouraged to work and advance but not be permanent wards of the federal government.

Then take on academia by banning legacy admissions policies at schools and eliminating federal student aid at schools with more than $5 billion endowment. Also, make schools pay 50% on any student loan default that occurs within 7 years of a student leaving a university, by graduation or otherwise.

Finally, put Hollywood back on its heels by shortening copyrights to 15 years and pushing excise taxes on movie tickets, DVDs, streamed movies, rentals, i-tunes, etc.



Fr Martin Fox said...

McCulloch:

As I indicated above, if a tax increase takes effect, it won't work and it will be a problem for the Dems and--if the GOP doesn't help, a boon for the GOP.

On the other hand, if the GOP follows your advice--if I read you right--and endorses significantly higher taxes, it will be in real trouble.

I think that's exactly why Mr. Obama is doing everything he can to get the GOP to join him in enacting taxes. This isn't about a tax increase; he has a path to that; it's about doing the GOP grave damage.

Darcy said...

@mccullough

Why do you consider 50% of what a person has accumulated in their lifetime and paid taxes on as income already the government's money?

This is a huge problem for me. I will never inherit a large amount of money, nor will I probably leave much behind, but I do not agree that any of it belongs to the government just because someone dies.

Sure it's low hanging fruit. Mainly, because people are envious of the rich. But it's not right. It is fundamentally unfair. I don't begrudge someone passing on their lifetime's wealth. I say, good for them for looking after the people they leave behind and it's no one else's business!

Cedarford said...

Sounds like predictions of the death of the Tea Party and Grover Norquist may be premature.

-------------
I don't think there will be any sentiment to reinstate the big tax uts for the rich clients of Grover Norquist. Not in the near future.

Not given that 11 years of tax cuts for the rich failed to deliver the advertised jobs creation! and record economic growth!! promised.

The game is up.




Darcy said...

Actually, the Bush tax cuts were a tax cut for all - and many on the lower end dropped off the tax schedule entirely. The high end - the "rich" - did not benefit significantly. Revenues were, in fact, increasing, and the deficit was coming down prior to the mortgage crisis...but who wants to really look at facts, when fiction is so fun?

damikesc said...

Darcy, he did manage to not blame Jews this time. Give C-Fudd some credit.

mccullough said...

Darcy,

I'm not a class warrior. While I agree people should be able to do what they want with their money, when they are dead they do need their money anymore, as far as we know.

If the US is going to be about hard work and self reliance, then people need to make it on their own, not on the wealth of their parents and grandparents. Better to tax the dead than the living and better for each generation to keep making it on its own. Aristocracy should be anathema to conservatives.

Darcy said...

@damikesc ;-)

@mccullough

I don't agree with finding less painful ways to increase taxation, period. We got where we are due to runaway spending, and I think sanctioning it by contributing more to the coffers of government is obscene. They NEVER really cut, you know that? What is collected by the government beyond what's necessary to protect our nation and to maintain roads, etc. is largely squandered. I don't agree with giving a penny more to the thieves in DC. And I am including most Republicans in that remark.

People who think like me, I guess, are rare. I don't know. I balanced my checkbook and all. We'll die out, eventually.



Darcy said...

I just want to say, additionally, that I find it extremely troubling that the Tea Party movement is so reviled by so many lefties. The movement is about fiscal responsibility. Such a hateful stuff, right? And the hate sticks!

When I think about the logic - or lack of logic in the hating on
people who simply want government to rein in spending it makes my blood boil. They don't want to give more money to a government that hasn't shown itself capable of even passing a budget, let alone adhering to it. Craziness, that!

Lord almighty, they are awful people - best be rid of them! Millions of bobble-headed women just nodded their heads. I'd seriously consider relinquishing my right to vote if it helped stop the damage done by my bobble-headed sisters who outnumber the people who think like me every election.

mccullough said...

Darcy,

I'd like nothing better than to repeal the 70 means-tested federal programs and Social Security and Medicare, but that's not going to happen. At best, there will be tweaks here and there. Both parties love to spend money.

Given that, taxes need to go up on everyone to pay for the government a majority of people want. I think estate taxes are the first and easiest thing to start with since the people are dead. Then, we'll have to raise everyone's taxes by about 45%. We can't keep having a massive government that will never shrink and not pay for it.

Anyway, an added benefit might be if that we raise taxes on everyone to pay for it, rich to poor and in between, then maybe people will think about what the size and scope of government should be. As it is, a heavy majority likes the benefits and services and likes not having to pay for them. Let the pain begin.

Hunter said...

If the US is going to be about hard work and self reliance, then people need to make it on their own, not on the wealth of their parents and grandparents.

If the US is going to be about hard work and self reliance, then I'm not sure why the government needs to snatch away half of every large estate for purposes of redistribution.

Besides, if you tax estates that will just motivate people to give their kids more money before they die, which is known to have a deleterious effect on their earning and independence. The knife cuts in many directions.

Darcy said...

@mccullough

I'm with you on the idea that if we raise taxes, we raise them on everyone. The poor, too. Everyone pays, and I'd love for everyone to pay the same percentage of income. That's the truly fair way to go.

mccullough said...

Hunter,

What redistribution? Giving it to defense contractors and federal judges? Everyone agrees that the government should do some things. So there is going to have to be some type of federal taxes.

As it stands, people can give away $13,000 a year to any individual without having to fill out a gift tax form and eat into their unified credit.

It would be funny if Warren Buffet just started handing out $13,000 a year not only to his kids and grandkids but to thousands of other individuals to avoid having to pay any estate tax. He could start his own reality series, sort of like the old show The Millionaire.

Anyway, taxing the dead is the easiest place to start.

Steve Koch said...

GOP pols in the House should poll the voters they represent to see if they want higher taxes. If their voters don't want higher taxes, the pols should not vote for higher taxes. Very few (none?) GOP pols in the House were elected to raise taxes.

It is a farce that dems are hugely expanding the size, cost, and power of the fed government at the same time that Europe is vividly demonstrating that the welfare state is not tenable.

The GOP has to relentlessly push smaller, cheaper, less powerful fed gov (i.e. most governmental decisions should be made at the state level) both because it is the right thing to do for this country (to maximize liberty and prosperity) and because it helps the GOP survive and thrive politically.

Baron Zemo said...

Jim DeMint might not have been the greatest mind in the Senate but at least he is leaving without having to die in office like so many of the professional politcal class does on both sides of the aisle.

Three Senate terms should be more than enough for anyone.

leslyn said...

"...aren't paid very well."

He's paid a heck of a lot better than a majority of people, and he does it by sitting on his hands!

I guess when you compare it to CEOs you start to think you're owed more.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

Darcy said,

When I think about the logic -or lack of logic in the hating on people who simply want government to rein in spending it makes my blood boil. They don't want to give more money to a government that hasn't shown itself capable of even passing a budget, let alone adhering to it. Craziness, that!

Lord almighty, they are awful people -best be rid of them!


Well there's a reason right there. I'd like to keep my head thank you, not have it falling in a basket.

leslyn said...

P. S Darcy, when you speak of TP'ers, aren't those the wonderful people who kept any jobs legislation from being passed?

You know, the same ones who made it their ONLY priority to get Obama out of office, rather than to actually do something like governing.

leslyn said...

"Come to think of it, Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation make sense....He is, arguably, the perfect person to run a post-thought think tank."
--Dana Milbank

Darcy said...

@leslyn

Do you know what was in the "jobs legislation" fiscal conservatives were against? It sounds so good, doesn't it? "Jobs legislation". "Let's create jobs by spending additional money we don't have". That will make everyone feel better, you see? Until the bill comes due.

Leslyn, put down your pencil. You failed the math test.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Hey Leslyn:

Since you're so interested in legislation, remember, you were going to provide for us the facts behind your claim that specific cuts in security, enacted by Congress, prevented the President from providing protection to our consulate in Benghazi.

We are all still waiting for that information...