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  • Morning Bell: Jim DeMint to Lead the Battle of Ideas

    Yesterday’s announcement that Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is leaving the U.S. Senate to replace Edwin J. Feulner as president of The Heritage Foundation surprised the political establishment in Washington and underlined Heritage’s role as a key institution for America’s future. The Washington Post declared on its front page: “DeMint says he can advance conservative ideas better at Heritage.”

    DeMint’s selection as president comes three years after Feulner, president for 35 years, told Heritage’s board of trustees he would be retiring in 2013. DeMint, who came to Washington in 1998 as a congressman from South Carolina, told a packed Heritage auditorium yesterday that it was the only job that would lure him away from the Senate.

    “This organization is in a position to do more to save our country than any other organization I’m aware of,” DeMint told the staff, noting that Heritage inspired him to enter public service. “I believe that we have put together here the power, the muscle, the ideas to turn things around.”

    >>> Watch our video with clips of DeMint’s speech to Heritage staff

    DeMint will take leadership of Heritage at a time when conservatives are facing significant challenges in Washington. The clock is ticking toward the fiscal cliff at the end of 2012. Beyond that immediate challenge are opposite visions for solving America’s entitlement crisis, protecting the country from enemies, and ensuring that our Constitution continues to guide decisions in the halls of government.

    Following their remarks to Heritage staff yesterday, DeMint and Feulner joined Rush Limbaugh on his radio program. Together they outlined how Heritage would confront these challenges. Here’s an edited excerpt:

    RUSH: What’s happening to make this happen now, Ed?

    FEULNER: Well, as you know, about three years ago I told our board of trustees that, “Look ahead, gentlemen and ladies. I am going to be 71, and it is time for us to find a successor, and we’ve got to find somebody who’s absolutely committed to our firm principles here at Heritage and who knows the sanctity of our research and who can lead Heritage to the next level.” And, boy, have we got that guy.

    RUSH: Senator Jim DeMint, Why have you decided to retire from the Senate to take this on?

    DeMINT: Rush, it was The Heritage Foundation that inspired me to run for Congress, and many of the policies I’ve developed, whether it be Social Security reform or health care reform, tax reform, Heritage has guided that policy development. And I believe that I can do more good for the conservative movement outside of the Senate in leveraging the assets of The Heritage Foundation to communicate a more positive, optimistic message to the American people.

    During the interview, Feulner quoted Senator-elect Ted Cruz (R-TX), who called DeMint “a friend, and hero, and a patriot.” Cruz added, “His combination of brilliance, principle, common sense, creativity and–above all else–courage will be an ideal fit for the conservative movement’s leading think tank.”

    Leaders across the ideological spectrum — from the conservative Family Research Council to the libertarian Reason Foundation, and even the progressive Center for American Progress — offered encouraging words about DeMint’s selection.

    There’s good reason to be optimistic. After more than three decades of Feulner’s leadership — in which he transformed Heritage into “the Parthenon of the conservative metropolis,” according to The New York Times — DeMint seizes the reins with an energized staff ready to tackle America’s thorniest problems with new and innovative policy solutions.

    Quick Hits:

    • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this morning that “The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in November. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, changed little.”
    • The majority of federal agencies are not “fulfilling the president’s promise of an open and transparent government for the American people,” said Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont at the conclusion of a government audit.
    • More than 2,000 people are gathering at Pearl Harbor today to mark the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack there.
    • The Michigan legislature is moving forward on a right-to-work law that would allow workers to decline paying union dues if they do not want to be part of a union.
    • President Obama has already raised taxes on “the rich”—through Obamacare. Join us at noon ET for a Google+ Hangout discussion. You can tweet questions for our experts to @Heritage.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    31 Responses to Morning Bell: Jim DeMint to Lead the Battle of Ideas

    1. Guest says:

      Welcome Jim Diment. instead of working singularly on behalf of your great state of South Carolina, you will begin to represent and speak for all conservatives in the US..we welcome your words of wisdom and great insight to the problems our country together we hope to solve the great divide we have in our country as the present time. God Bless and again, welcome to this prestigious organization, the Heritage Foundation.

    2. toledofan says:

      I think Jim DeMint will be a great leader for the Heritage Foundation and it's becoming obvbious that the only way to change Wasington is from the outside. It's also very clear that without Heritage the truth about what is going on would be lost to history.

    3. charleslabounty says:

      Well it's nice that we will have a "battle of ideas".
      Especially since thaty's all we will have, as our democratic republic is gone forever.

    4. Mary Glod says:

      Now you guys need to get Allen West on your team!! I don't know why you haven't snagged him yet. Talk about a dynamic duo..

    5. Ed Wilson says:

      God bless you Senator, God Bless you Mr. Feulner and thank you both for the many years of service to America,

      Pray for our Troops, pray for our Country.


    6. Timpclimber says:

      Jim will make a great leader for the conservative voice of America. His consistency, vision and warm forthrightness is needed. Nikki will find a good replacement but One of a Kind are hard to replace. I look forward to supporting Heritage in our battle to save America from myopic liberalism.

    7. I'm looking forward to this and the new SC U.S. Senator Scott!

    8. Larry K White says:

      A measure of a True Conservative; one only needs to see the ease of Senator DeMint's departure from one of the most powerful political position's in the world, to lead The Heritage Foundation.
      Congratulations Senator DeMint, Congratulations The Heritage Foundation and Congratulations America.
      And Rob, so good to see your name on this wonderful piece.

    9. Evelyn F. Avis says:

      I think it's wonderful that Sen. DeMint is taking over the reins of the Heritage Foundation! He was a great Senator and will be a great leader there.

      The Repub. Party is the loser here. But apparently our leadership no longer cares about real conservatism, so the Senator will probably reach more people, and expound on more conservative ideas with Sen. DeMint at the helm.

      May our God be with him and all the people at the Heritage!!! We salute you and your work there!

    10. Dawn says:

      The only way to take control of this country is with our tax dollars. We the people need a tax exchange where "we the working & tax paying citizens & corporations can send the IRS checks to be held hostage with an "IRS attorney for the people" to negotiate for lower taxes, unchecked fraud & abuse, etc.

    11. Susan Moss says:

      Although I am sorry to lose my favorite senator from the Congress, I agree that this is a brilliant move that will give conservatism a strong Washington voice, elevate the tea party principles beyond the destructive forces of the liberal media; and contribute to positive change in the Republican party.

    12. JohnL says:

      We do not need ideas. We need some street smarts and "doing". While we are thinking the Liberals are picking our pockets.

      They won this election by a mere 3 million votes in just the right places. They did this by using Big Data to identify people who have never voted but were persuadable. Then, enabled by early voting changes (again, in many of just the right places), made sure these newly minted Democrats got registered and to the polls.

      Meanwhile, I am sitting in a Republican Call Center calling numbers from a list provided by the state, most of whom did no even answer. There was a system to feed calls to us, but that kept going down.

      About the same time I saw a Democrat call center on TV. It was filled with young people with smart phones, iPads, and lap top computers. (the thought occurred to me, could they have been attacking our systems with a denial of service attack? They were busy as hell doing something.)

      The liberals define conservatives as being dumb, old, heartless, and greedy. I am inclined to believe the first two.

      • Kravitz in Pgh. says:

        Yes, and there was absolutely no ground game. The Obama supporters (Union) were out in force knocking on doors…every day. The insane amount of GOP phone calls really turned off a lot of voters.

    13. Ron W. Smith says:

      What an excellent choice! DeMint has proven himself over the years to be a champion for Conservative causes and principles–limited government, personal responsibility, and the rest. He will guide The Heritage Foundation well.
      One suggestion. A while ago, "The Morning Bell" had a daily note by the comments section following posts. That note has, in recent years, disappeared. In short, it invited discussion and debate as core to what America is about that some nations are not–the intelligent and open exchange of ideas in furtherance of Democracy and our heritage of freedom. I loved participating in that exchange but have found, of late, frequent rejection of my comments because, at least I assume because, they challenge what has been said in a post, using the facts and evidence as I know them to be. Perception that I have taken a Liberal position in so doing couldn't be more erroneous. I am Conservative and for an ever-improving America in which opportunity and realistic hope are entwined, everyone in on the almost endless possibilities, fairness an important measure. Therein the problem? I don't know. Only you can say.
      My suggestion is a return to that discussion and debate invitation. Let's exchange ideas, the only demand one of civility and respect. In my humble estimation, ideas that cannot be challenged and debated are the stuff of propaganda, not of discourse designed to further understanding and the progress of a nation. The Heritage Foundation should be above the trivialization of difference and for openness in achieving a more nearly perfect America.

    14. Tom Keating says:

      Senator DeMint's support of true conservative Republicans is greatly appreciated and rebuilding the party to it's more conservative base is essential for the good of America. One comment: There will be little change in the liberal populis until the public school text books are restored to the early teachings by the founders of the country.

    15. Jim Detrick says:

      Good luck in your new job, Jim. Wishing you success.

    16. ted irvine says:

      Republicans need: 1. A Framework anyone can understand – all arguments and discussions only within the frame. 2. An Obama Foil – A very high visibility point person responsible for attacking / destroying the Socialist drivel – Frame the debate!!!!!. 3. A salesman for the Conservative ideas. Republicans have good ideas, but lack a person with Obama's charisma. Change it. Get a Great Salesman OR, a George Patton clone that demands respect. Moderates will either be drawn by the salesman or pushed by the Patton type. People WANT TO BE LED – Obama proved it.

    17. John Belli says:

      Congratulations Heritage, you could not have made a better choice than Congressman De Mint. I stand behind you 100% and even though I can not afford it I will be making regular contributions. We can beat these suckers and Ia am sure our new leader will show us how. Go get them Heritage..

    18. KHM says:

      This was a brilliant choice on Heritage's part. De Mint will bring Washington insider insight but still have the conservative values of Heritage for his new mission.
      Conservatives like DeMint are needed in Congress, but maybe in these trying times he can accomplish more as the leader of Heritage.
      Good luck to Mr. De Mint and job well done to Edwin Feulner.

    19. LARRY K. STAIDA says:

      I am extremely ambivalent about the course that Sen. DeMint has chosen. I can't think of anyone I would rather see as head of The Heritage Foundation. On the other hand, he has been my favorite senator for years and will leave a significant hole to fill. My only hope is that Gov. Haley will assign a staunch constitutional conservative as his replacement.

    20. Gordon Lynch says:

      Arizona for example has 62 "Republican Clubs", the real grass roots of our party. At this level, principles still matter even though our elected and unelected members at the national level have compromised theirs away. It would be real step forward if Heritage built direct links to these clubs and those around the country. We need the wisdom, the leadership and the enthusiasm you project. It is time to rewire the system and get directly into Americas communities.

    21. Mark says:

      So …. DeMint leaves the only position where he might have a chance to make a difference and takes a gravy train position where he gets to preach to the choir. Way to bail out Jim! Who in the conservative ranks has the balls to stick in there and fight the good fight?

    22. Nalva says:

      Congratulation! Mr;DeMint is the bets.

    23. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the reason why Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate is because he knows the Tea
      Party's not a winning proposition. To paraphrase Mark Twain, (1835-1910), The rumors of the Tea Party's death
      are greatly exaggerated.

    24. Cindy says:

      Great choice.

      Agree with Larry – we need a Good constitutional person as replacement.

    25. Mike R says:

      Jim, you have excellent credentials and impressive names here to back you up and help in the future. Right now is the time to think ahead. We are in the midst of the January re-installment of our president. The replaced members in Congress and Senate are gone. You need to gather the "troops" and begin talk of the strategies that will restore the nation. You will need to reach the hearts of people who couldn't vote in conscience for a Republican. List reasons, establish the most effective ways to solve it.

      Next, you are liberal. You think you know what conservatives will do next. Do you know what this matter might be? And how to address this situation? What can I do to thwart the opposition? That's their approach. Should it be yours? Can you stay ahead knowing the lies and puppet press? You really have a huge task ahead. I pray you can succeed. Yes, I said PRAY. Mother Mary has this nation devoted to her. Her Son listens to her when we ask for her help. This nation is dedicated to her and the sooner this country remembers that, the more likely we may receive major help to reverse our fortunes and make our country great once again. May god bless you and grant you strength to accomplish that return to greatness for which we all yearn. And, begin by FIRST, restoring FREEDOM OF RELIGION that has officially been reversed! If that is accomplished, you then know Who is helping and to Whom we must give our sincerest thanks, devotion and love. The rest will come.

    26. Wayne Bodiford says:

      The Heritage Foundation could not have gotten a better man. I have been a fan for years.

    27. Steven A. Sylwester says:

      Well and good regarding DeMint. However, same old same old is not going to work as long as America can continue to hobble down the road. Anyone should have beaten Obama in the last election, but the viable Republican candidate did not. I voted for Romney as a vote against Obama, which was the first time in my 58 years of living that I ever voted for a Republican for president. Next time, I would prefer to vote FOR the Republican candidate, not AGAINST the Democrat — and there is a big difference in that distinction.

      I am done with the Democrats. If there were a Middle Ground third party, I would be its flag waver in every Main Street holiday parade in America. But no such third party now exists, so here I am hoping to make a difference in the collective mind of The Heritage Foundation.

      Get your mind around this: the purpose of the U.S. Constitution and the three branches of government it describes is singular around just one intent: to protect and defend the nation, that is: the idea that became the United States of America.

      Force yourself to engage in the strenuous intellectual exercise of defining how you would amend the U.S. Constitution if you were assigned that task, because the reality is this: it is your task and my task — it is our task (We The People) — to make amendments as needed, and we have been failing in that task miserably. The state of things in America today is beyond pathetic; indeed, it is scary. And I expect it will get worse before it gets better. Even so, I know there are good workable solutions to the problems that now face America, because I have been able to develop some of them by engaging in the same strenuous intellectual exercise myself that I have here recommended for others.

      My now eight proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution (without commentary) are these: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2012/01/re
      A commentary for two of my proposed amendments can be read at: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2011/12/th

      In my opinion, The Heritage Foundation should endorse such ideas as mine. But will it? If it will not, I would like to know why. Certainly, Romney would have won the presidency if he had endorsed my proposed amendments #1: Supreme Court Gender Equality; #3: Multinational Corporations Designated Foreign Nations; #4: One Percent Ownership of Patents and Copyrights; #5: Water, Sun, and Underground Natural Resources Management; and #6: Public Education. Indeed, he would have won in a landslide — no question about it. My guess is: he would have won by endorsing just three of those five proposed amendments — any three. In fact, it might have been enough had he just endorsed #1: Supreme Court Gender Equality, because the women voters across America would have been gleeful in their surprise over such an endorsement. And what possible harm would there have been in that: a simple endorsement for an exceedingly fair and undeniably reasonable proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

      Read this: http://supreme-court-gender-equality-pac.blogspot

      How can that not be conservative? Oddly, crazily, it is not liberal by Far Left standards, because the Far Left criticism has been that I have not designated Associate Justice positions for homosexuals. Imagine. Yet the Far Left beat the Far Right in the last election because the Far Right did not win the Middle. My proposals would win the Middle — all of the Middle! And my proposals are conservative in spirit, heart, mind, and substance.

      Unfortunately, the Republican position often fails by being too narrow as a consequence of fighting against something instead of choosing to fight for something. Yes, a defense can sometimes win a game, but an offense is what wins a war, and America is being torn asunder by a war — a Culture War.

      I developed my amendment proposal #6: Public Education by forcing myself to first design three different public high schools. Read: http://school-usa-proposal.blogspot.com/
      A careful reader will see conservative thinking throughout my three design proposals, and will then see how that thinking formed my proposed amendment.

      My point: it is possible to fight for something that includes narrow thinking in its freedoms, but is not defined by narrow thinking in its prohibitions— conservatism can be new, expansive, and inclusive if it is driven by self-freeing ambitions, not by self-limiting fears. The crucial mindset is an embrace of the first dictionary definition for the word "radical," which is: "of, relating to, or proceeding from a root." Be radical. Be free, but stay attached to the root.

      Steven A. Sylwester

    28. David Heeren says:

      Assuming Obama raised taxes on the rich. I'll bet he and his liberal friends in Congress are excluded. They nearly always exclude themselves from repercussions of the worst things they do. Can anybody check it out?

    29. @questionAGW says:

      I argue that one consequence of the November election failures was the opportunity given to the mainstream media on a silver platter – the MSM arguably being a true example of One Percenters having more power than they are entitled to – over the global warming issue. GOP Senate candidates across the board offered weak or no resistance to the likes of Tim Kaine, Tammy Baldwin, Sheldon Whitehouse, etc on global warming assertions that would have blown up in epic enough fashion to gain each national notoriety. In a nutshell, global warming hysteria is nothing more than a ponzi scheme based on constant media infusions of false information about its science claims and what may possibly be libel/slander of its skeptic scientist critics.

      I sincerely hope that The Heritage Foundation and Senator DeMint will recognize how a continued allowance of the mainstream media to frame any given conversation is a lost leadership opportunity. To get conservative ideas across, we all must go on the offense when it comes to the media, challenge them at every opportunity to support their assertions against conservatives and keep at it relentlessly..

    30. Diane T says:

      Jim DeMint is the perfect choice for the job and one of the very few people in politics that I admire. He is diligent in his support and adherence to Conservative principles and has great integrity which is in short supply today. I wish we had many more like him. I wish to congratulate him on his appointment.

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