DeMint: States can lead conservative comeback

Since the 2012 election, some conservatives have blamed their losses on their message while others pointed fingers at the messengers. Truth is, both camps have a point.

That’s why Jim DeMint aims to tackle both problems from his new perch at the Heritage Foundation, which he is joining as president after eight years as a U.S. senator from South Carolina.

“I’m convinced if we have the right ideas, the right messengers, the right message, we can win,” DeMint told me Tuesday before greeting Heritage members at the Westin Buckhead.

Part of the challenge is stylistic: “We can’t just talk like a bunch of engineers” about things like budget deficits, he argued.

“We’ve got to help people see how our policies actually can make their lives better. … And the way we can do it is actually put the camera on people whose lives have been changed.”

DeMint pointed specifically to the different approaches GOP-led Pennsylvania and Democrat-controlled New York have taken to their natural-gas deposits which have been made more accessible by hydraulic-fracturing, or “fracking,” technology.

“It’s almost like a line between North and South Korea,” DeMint said. “On one side, in New York, they’re not developing the energy. And on the Pennsylvania side, we can talk to families whose lives are better” because of the jobs that have come thanks to fracking.

There will be more opportunities for making such comparisons thanks to the one area where conservatives actually made inroads last November.

“We’ve got more conservative governors and legislatures, [and] they’re doing bold things now with the states on school choice, with tax reform. … We’ve just got to showcase those ideas and show how they’re working.”

Even without a turnover of power in Washington, DeMint said there are ways for conservative state leaders to prod the feds in the right direction.

He pointed to the 26 states that sued to overturn Obamacare. While they didn’t get the entire law declared unconstitutional, they did persuade the Supreme Court to rule Congress was overly coercive in threatening to reduce the states’ existing Medicaid funding if they didn’t expand the program.

But despite their legal victory, some conservative governors have been reluctant to decline the expansion — and the federal funds that come with it, albeit at a cost of billions of dollars for the states.

“Some governors realize this is a dead-end street,” he said. “At some point, you’ve got to say, ‘Keep your money, we’re going to make it ourselves.’ That’s where we have to really work on block-grant ideas, so that states can get back the money they send up there, whether it be for transportation or education or Medicaid.

“We’re going to try to build a coalition of states that will push back against the federal government on these things. I think we’re close to having half the states who would come together to just say no.”

Banding together will become even more crucial very soon, he warned.

“What you’re going to see over the next few years, is these states that are failing, with terrible tax policy, regulatory policy, energy policy, they’re going to be in Washington needing a bailout,” he said.

“That’s why I think this coalition of states, what I might call a Coalition of Responsible States, is so important, to give each other support and push back against the federal government.”

– By Kyle Wingfield

577 comments Add your comment

Aynie Sue

February 18th, 2013
6:26 am

Some Republicans just don’t “get it”!

The outcry for small government and low taxes is a sham that appeals only to the foolish and the unthinking. Perhaps politicians find hope in opinion polls that indicate a majority of Americans give lip service to the notion. Don’t be fooled, Americans are unwilling to give up the advantages conferred by big government and substantial taxes. Even the rabid obstructionists in Congress are reluctant to identify any specific, significant cuts to federal programs; instead they demand percentage cuts that would force the President to decide the specifics.

We had small government and low taxes before FDR was elected President. Then, only a minority of Americans lived comfortably in the fashion of the day, on the “right” side of the street. Most rural Americans lived in shabby houses without electricity and running water. They earned a meager living from dawn to dusk labor. Urban Americans lived in tenements and slums. They worked in dangerous factories and sweat shops. Few people had access to higher education and effective health care. No one had protection from workplace hazards, unsafe food and drugs, and unscrupulous business practices. The elderly were dependent on their children or charity for financial support.

After the nation was once again brought to its knees by unrestrained financial speculation resulting in deep depression, Americans decided on a new beginning, where government would be the enabler, not just the burden, of citizens. A rural electrification program was set up to make life easier for rural people; it also made farming more efficient. A massive hydroelectric infrastructure was built to provide power for farms and industry. Social Security, and eventually Medicare, was introduced to free the elderly from economic dependence on their children and charity, and reduce the burden of elder support on working-age adults. After World War II, the GI Bill made college education available to millions, gave rise to an extensive system of higher education, and made America the world leader in research and innovation. Under the last enlightened Republican President, an interstate highway system was built to link the nation together and promote interstate and international commerce.

Brush up on American history! Learn about the living conditions under small government with low taxes. Ten you’ll demand all the government we can afford, and even more if money can be borrowed at a reasonable rate of interest. Small government is for backward nations and primitive peoples.

Buzzy

February 18th, 2013
6:47 am

Some people still don’t get what happened in November. The last person you’d want advice from would be a guy like James DeMint. I mean it’s almost comical. The Far Right continues to be drawn to a policy that is a complete fail among the educated, the young, minorities, and women; and no amount of “spin” or PR is going to correct that problem if you are willing to listen to extremists like DeMint. This is like self-destruction on automatic at this point.

Techfan

February 18th, 2013
6:56 am

That’s all we need. A bunch of the nutcase folks from the old Confederacy leading a comeback. Crazies like Paul “Pit of Hell” Broun, Rand “Sure you don’t have to serve blacks if you don’t want to” Paul, and the “I’ll take my ball and go home” folks like Lindsey Graham. Tennessee Williams on steroids and a quick demise of the USA.

DeborahinAthens

February 18th, 2013
7:06 am

Ayniw Sue is so correct. But let us not forget the failure if the George W. Bush policies of lower taxes. Here’s how his “pitch” went…”let’s lower taxes to the lowest level they have been in fifty years or so.” His own Treasury Secretary told him that these cuts would cause massive deficits. So Bush fired him, and hired another one. Who told him the same thing. So he fired him and hired Hank Paulson, who was so enthralled with the position, he would have done anything the Presbo told him to do. During Dubya the Dumbs presidency, his tax cuts not only created jobs and made the economy stronger, but we had two recessions on his watch–the second one the worst recession since the Great Depression. He shed hundreds of thousands of jobs. But to rub salt on the wound, he spent money like a drunken sailor. We have seen similar outcomes with other low tax presidents. Under Reagan’s watch we also had recession and towards the end of his presidency the greatest Stock Market Crash since “The Big One” in 1929. The Market plunged over 20% in one day in 1987! So, with all due respect (NOT) to Mr. (I voted for every spending package Dubya tossed my way) Demint. We have tried your way many times. It has not and never will work. It has been test and found wanting. Why, why, why on Earth would we give you bozos another whack at it? And don’t even get me started on the Social programs you dingbats love to try to use to manipulate human behavior. I don’t think Dubya really believed the religious BS he spouted, he just did it to get the religious Rights’ votes. But Demint and others of his ilk DO believe God has told them to stand on the necks of those that don’t agree with them. They have the same mentality as the Catholic Church that has murdered millions of people throughout history because God is on their side. These are scary, scary, scary people. Oh, and let someone address why the Republicans are so good at getting plum jobs for the elected people that scare even the leaders of the GOP? Investigate why Demint was whisked away to run a nut job think tank. Why was Rodgers whisked away to a $150,000 a year job at GPB? The clowns are so funny. And the sad thing is they keep getting re-elected.

DeborahinAthens

February 18th, 2013
7:09 am

Sorry for the errors above. Dubya’s lower taxes “not only did NOT create jobs…” My fat fingers and my IPad autocorrect don’t function well together.

Travis McGee

February 18th, 2013
7:22 am

The truth of the matter is that most people prefer to live in the 21st century, not the 19th where the Republican/Tea Party longs to dwell. In the 19th century they can wear their guns anywhere except where the Earps are the law, don’t have to pay for infrastructure, education, or healthcare and the survival of the fittest is the law of the land. The weak die fast and that’s the way Gawd intended, not a bunch of lazy freeloaders sitting around waiting for a handout!

Cherokee

February 18th, 2013
7:26 am

What everyone said so far is true. The other thing that is so ridiculous about DeMint’s comments is the ‘failing states’ needing a bailout.

the states that get bailed out are places like Georgia, Texas – in other words, DeMint’s ‘responsible’ states. If DeMint really gets what he wants, the politicians who will howl the most are red state Republicans.

Cutty

February 18th, 2013
7:51 am

The conned states couldn’t last 5 minutes without fed money. While Make Me a Deal and the other con leaders of this state kick and scream about the deficit and spending in Washington, look at the money their taking to deepen the Port in Savannah. All hat and no cattle, just like W.

Whirled Peas

February 18th, 2013
7:51 am

The states that need bailouts are the states that have been run by liberal Democrats for a generation. States like Illinois (now paying invoices from July 2012), California (living the nightmare) and Rhode Island (Kennedy clan). By comparison Texas and Georgia are in good shape. It is time for people to wake up and understand what the $17 trillion debt will do to us. Obama and the Democrats are hell-bent into turning us into Greece. That is why the responsible states will be the ones to show us the way.

Techfan

February 18th, 2013
7:55 am

Texas actually is one of the few red states that doesn’t get back much more tax money than it sends in (oil mainly is the reason). GA and SC are “takers” big time.

Skip

February 18th, 2013
7:59 am

Last in education and first in bank closures,that Georgia?

Cutty

February 18th, 2013
8:02 am

What about the bed tax scam that these so-called principled conservatives didn’t even have the cajones to vote for either way? Yeah right, there are some responsible legislators at the Gold Dome.

jconservative

February 18th, 2013
8:04 am

“I’m convinced if we have the right ideas, the right messengers, the right message, we can win,”

2012 presidential election: women voters to Obama by 54%, unmarried women to Obama by 68%.
Turn these two figures around and you have a Republican president.

Grob Hahn

February 18th, 2013
8:06 am

Sorry Kyle but the conservative movement has proven to be a country club of cronies who look out for wealth and power while trampling on everyone else. I’m not suggesting that the “progressive” path is going to be any better in the long run. But that is where we will be for a long time. At least until the money runs out. Too many liberals fail to realize that their lofty goals and social experiments require regular doses of money.

Conservatives have shot themselves in the foot so many times that they are now on the trailing edge of US politics. The “Gib me dat” and “gib me mo” mentality sweeping the nation will only be put down by a serious economic crash. Meanwhile conservatives have a LOT of soul searching to do about the values they preach as opposed to the values they practice.

While I don’t agree with the kind of “forced fairness” that the left wants to try, the fact remains that fairness in the US is a commodity with a price tag. If conservatives can lose the arrogance and learn to be humble, maybe they’ll win some hearts and minds back. Most Americans actually agree with things like marriage, taking care of their children and holding down an honest job. But knowing it’s all a rigged game has eroded Americans across the board.

It begins to look like the only way for conservatives to appeal to Americans in general will be when they are repairing the damage caused by progressive, feel-good-but-do-nothing programs. They have little choice now that we’re over the 51% gimme line. Cleanup duty is about all they will have left.
Grobbbbbbbb

HDB

February 18th, 2013
8:07 am

The problem I see is that the preponderance of those conservative states would NOT adequately fund those programs that would serve the poor and indigent UNLESS federal oversight was done!! Note how conservative governments have cut funding to indigent legal defense when left to their own devices; note how conservative governments want to eliminate the social safety net….if we leave conservative governments to their own devices, this nation would become a more Darwinian socviety where only those of means would survive….and the criminal element would increase exponentially!!

Politico

February 18th, 2013
8:33 am

jconservative

You are cherry picking stats. Each side could do the same and say if this. If that…

Move on, Romney lost

Del

February 18th, 2013
8:35 am

Kyles blog has certainly become contaminated with brain washed far-left name changed posters from Bookman next door. Keynesian economics has been and continues to be a failure as evidenced by the Obama experiment. There’s this inconvenient truth called the deficit and it’s rapidly catching up to us. DeMint’s correct there’s states like California and Illinois teetering on the brink and as they fail it will hopefully be a wake up call for the American people that big government Democrats are driving this country into third world conditions by design or by ineptitude.

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
8:40 am

The New Confederacy.

You’re brillant, Jim.

History? Not so much.

Politico

February 18th, 2013
8:42 am

3rd world conditions?

Did you major in hyperbole or lies?

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
8:43 am

“Turn these two figures around and you have a Republican president.”

Wave your wand over your hat and you have a rabbit.

Or look inside, and find something else…

TiredOfIt

February 18th, 2013
8:46 am

Jim DeMint is a dimwit and a big part of the today’s problems.

MarkV

February 18th, 2013
8:50 am

If anybody wanted a proof that DeMint was an idiot, Kyle’s has graciously provided it:

“I’m convinced if we have the right ideas, the right messengers, the right message, we can win,” DeMint told me…”

That is as if a lame weakling or a 95year old bed-ridden great-granddaddy said: If I had a young, strong body, and trained hard, I’m convinced I could win the Olympics.

That is pathetic.

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
8:51 am

“DeMint’s correct there’s states like California and Illinois teetering on the brink and as they fail…”

You’re up to date on the color of states that get back more from the feds than they send in, yes?

Of course you are…

Michael

February 18th, 2013
8:55 am

Demint as a spokesman for anything is doomed to failure. He was a disgrace as a Senator, and glad he has moved on to smaller things.

Aquagirl

February 18th, 2013
8:56 am

women voters to Obama by 54%, unmarried women to Obama by 68%.Turn these two figures around and you have a Republican president.

I’m sure Jim “Your Rapist’s Baby Is God’s Blessing!” DeMint is just the guy needed to reverse those numbers. Throw in some whines pre-K is subsidized babysitting and opposition to the Violence Against Women act and you’ve got that chick problem all solved.

indigo

February 18th, 2013
8:57 am

If the Republican Party became a conservative-centerist party, they would offer a sensible alternative to the Democrats, who are becoming more liberal with each passing year.

If, however, they remain in the far-right Tea Party category, I don’t see them making any real gains.

Del

February 18th, 2013
8:59 am

Did you major in hyperbole or lies?

If you honestly believe that states teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and that the nations economic condition being in serious jeopardy is nothing but lies, you’re beyond help.

Del

February 18th, 2013
9:03 am

You’re up to date on the color of states that get back more from the feds than they send in, yes?

Which far-left Web site provided you with that distortion of reality? Or maybe you’ve been reading too much Paul Krugman the faux economist.

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
9:08 am

“If you honestly believe that states teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and that the nations economic condition being in serious jeopardy is nothing but lies…”

Actually, you were given a choice, Del. And again, you picked the wrong one.

Chose hyperbole.

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
9:12 am

“Which far-left Web site provided you with that distortion of reality? Or maybe you’ve been reading too much Paul Krugman the faux economist.”

See, I was wrong.
You’re not up to date.

As for Paul on Economics, he authors textbooks to inform the uninformed about the topic.
You?

Like the red states, you’re a recipient…

JDW

February 18th, 2013
9:12 am

@Del…”states teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and that the nations economic condition being in serious jeopardy”

:roll:

Neither is true…what is true is that both the states and nation may face a point in time where they have to raise tax rates to pay the bills…fortunately for us we have lots of room to collect more. If you combine all taxes federal, state and local the US tax burden is about 27% of GDP…compare that to say the UK at 39% or Germany at 40% or Finland at 43% and from a structural standpoint you can see that should we need to raise revenue we can do so quite easily without creating undue harm to the economy….you might not like it but we could do it.

Del

February 18th, 2013
9:13 am

You prefer hyperbole, Just Saying, okay the same then applies to you. You’re beyond help.

Jeffrey

February 18th, 2013
9:16 am

Yeah right. That coalition of responsible states takes more money from the fed than they pay. This was a joke blog right? I mean demint is the first tea partyer to go down so he’s supposed to know how to get things going for the party? Please. Stop just freaking stop. If you’re in a hole stop digging. Oh how I long for an intelligent republican party. It’s only been about 15 years by my count.

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

February 18th, 2013
9:17 am

The Progs are early risers today and Kyle must have gotten the rooster Hillbilly sent him.

Aynie Sue described the conditions before FDR as she likes to think they were, but to me it sounds more like the conditions in Cuba. The end result of this love of more government and more government spending, carried to the extreme is the Soviet Union. How did that work out for the workers, that traded one miserable existence for another?

Del

February 18th, 2013
9:20 am

JDW,

When you have about 50% of income earners not paying any income tax and 20% receiving refunds on income they didn’t pay, while ten% provides the majority of tax revenue, you don’t have lots of room to collect more. Common sense alone tells you that.

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
9:20 am

“You prefer hyperbole, Just Saying, okay the same then applies to you. ”

Ah, the “so’s yore ol’ man” argument.

“You’re beyond help.”

Actually, I’m beyond work. Just rotate between my three homes. See you at Spring Training…

JDW

February 18th, 2013
9:24 am

@Del…”When you have about 50% of income earners not paying any income tax and 20% receiving refunds on income they didn’t pay, while ten% provides the majority of tax revenue, you don’t have lots of room to collect more. Common sense alone tells you that.”

Actually it tells you the reverse…should you need the revenue there are simple changes that can be made…again you might not like it but you could in fact do it.

Steve

February 18th, 2013
9:25 am

It’s rather amusing to watch the GOP’s slow, painful, death.

JDW

February 18th, 2013
9:27 am

@Del…for example a simple 7% VAT would fix the problem now…you might not like it but you could and would do it before the “doomsday scenario” that some are so fond of were to occur.

jconservative

February 18th, 2013
9:31 am

Politico at 8:33 am

“jconservative
You are cherry picking stats. Each side could do the same and say if this. If that…
Move on, Romney lost.”

Actually the other side cannot do a similar scenario. Women are the largest “bloc” of voters. They are a must in today’s elections. Obama is only the 4th president in the last 100 years to win back to back presidential elections with over 50% of the popular vote. He carried the ladies both times.That puts Obama in rare historical company, whether one likes him or hates him. And the ladies vote is his major “bloc”.

As long as Republicans insist on “legitimate rape”, vaginal probes and etc they are not going to carry the ladies vote in a national election.

Del

February 18th, 2013
9:31 am

JDW, why not scrap the current tax code and go with a consumption tax or a flat tax?

td

February 18th, 2013
9:31 am

Techfan

February 18th, 2013
6:56 am

That’s all we need. A bunch of the nutcase folks from the old Confederacy leading a comeback. Crazies like Paul “Pit of Hell” Broun, Rand “Sure you don’t have to serve blacks if you don’t want to” Paul, and the “I’ll take my ball and go home” folks like Lindsey Graham. Tennessee Williams on steroids and a quick demise of the USA.

You do understand that Rand Paul is the Senator from Kentucky and Kentucky was not part of the Confederacy? Understanding actual history and not just spouting talking points makes a person not look unintelligent.

retired early

February 18th, 2013
9:34 am

I am very curious as to why Senator DeMint suddenly resigned after such a short time in office.
Do any of you find that puzzling. If he was so dedicated to advancing his conservative agenda, why “quit” in midstream.
I suspect there is much more to this story…

Just Saying..

February 18th, 2013
9:36 am

“You do understand that Rand Paul is the Senator from Kentucky and Kentucky was not part of the Confederacy”

Why, I can read the label on a fastball…
More important to realize the fastball is aimed at your head…

JohnnyReb

February 18th, 2013
9:36 am

First a little levity.

Know how to tell if an engineer is having a really personal conversation with you? He is looking at your shoes instead of his !

Next, after reading the Lefties above I am reminded of Reagan’s famous saying on the Left knowing so much that is not true.

A perfect example of this is the current money talks in Washington. Twice the House passed a bill to avoid the hatchet cuts but Harry would not bring the bills to the floor in the Senate. Now the Left with the help of the Lamestream media keeps telling us the Right is wrong and won’t work with Obama.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 18th, 2013
9:38 am

You do understand that Rand Paul is the Senator from Kentucky…

Technically he’s “from” Pennsylvania but raised in Texas from the age of five.

He represents Kentucky

Edward

February 18th, 2013
9:38 am

The only way “conservatives” are going to “win” anything is if they continue to steal elections as they try to do. They can’t win on honesty so they lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want. They’ve wrecked this country and now they want to finish the job so they can line their pockets with blood money. There is a reason Demint is no longer in congress, the a**hole was a turd and still is a turd.

JohnnyReb

February 18th, 2013
9:44 am

The biggest mistake Conservatives have made is not starting the campaign to shift the power back to the states sooner.

The whole federal vs state situation got out of hand many years ago. Plus, the office of president has gathered too many powers over the years. An example of this is using executive orders to by-pass law. Another is the POTUS selectively enforcing law. Yes, both sides have done it, but that does not make it correct.

JDW

February 18th, 2013
9:46 am

@Del…”JDW, why not scrap the current tax code and go with a consumption tax or a flat tax?”

Because it is too regressive…if you are angling towards the so called “Fair Tax” it is simply not plausable. Thier numbers are wrong.

http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html

Del

February 18th, 2013
9:54 am

JDW,

We need a federal budget, we need to significantly reduce spending, we need to reform entitlements and we need to expand the tax base. The European model has been a failure.