Jim DeMint’s resignation from the Senate is a loss for conservatives. Perhaps a conservative Senator will emerge who combines DeMint’s stature and principled adherence to traditional conservatism across-the-board. But no one comes immediately to mind.
DeMint’s move to the Heritage Foundation, as its new president, seems like a plus for Heritage. As Bethany Mandel explains, fundraising is a major part of that job, and a challenge for any successor to Ed Fuelner. DeMint has demonstrated considerable fundraising skill with the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Mandel also points out that Heritage recently has supplemented its traditional role as a major research institution by getting more involved in day-to-day political battles on Capitol Hill. DeMint, of course, is well-suited to help lead that move.
Who will take DeMint’s place as Senator from South Carolina? John Fund suggests three possibilities. The first is Rep. Tim Scott, who just won easy reelection to a second term. He is African-American. Currently, no blacks serve in the U.S. Seante. No black Republican has served there since Edward Brooke left that body in 1979.
The second possibility mentioned by Fund is David Watkins, a former state house speaker and ambassador to Canada under George W. Bush. He would be more of a “placeholder,” of the kind favored for such appointments these days.
Third, Gov. Nikki Haley could appoint herself. But appointing oneself Senator is usually a bad idea.
JOHN adds: Appointing yourself is indeed a bad idea, just ask anyone from Minnesota!