Matt Lewis

Jim DeMint on the birth of the Tea Party movement

Tea Party fervor is bigger than ever as the 2012 presidential race heats up, and conservative Sen. Jim DeMint’s new book, “The Great American Awakening: Two Years That Changed America, Washington and Me,” provides a timely look at the birth of the movement and his role in galvanizing American support to fight big spending and corruption in government leading up to the watershed elections of 2010.

DeMint’s book is both a nonpartisan diatribe against excessive government spending and a rallying cry for a return to “constitutional limited government.” In it he chronicles his crusade against the “Washington establishment” as driven by a desire to end the pork-barrel spending and earmarking perpetuated by too-powerful congressional appropriators — and not as one motivated by partisan loyalties. He proved his mettle by balking traditional conservative leadership and endorsing underdog conservative candidates — including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who authored the book’s forward.

But DeMint did more than just back potential politicians — he also put his name on controversial legislation banning earmarks and setting term limits, alienating himself from many of his congressional allies. Although he said his fight was lonely, DeMint remained resolute, even when other senators told him he couldn’t succeed.

“Something happens to me when someone says, ‘You can’t.’ I’m generally not very competitive; unless someone tells me I can’t do something that should be done … I came away with a new challenge: changing the Senate. If the people in the Senate wouldn’t change their minds, then I should try to change the people in the Senate,” he wrote.

And change them he did — with the help of millions of Tea Partiers — in the 2010 midterm elections. In his book, DeMint gives readers a taste of the powerful rhetoric he used at Tea Party rallies to encourage and inspire voters seeking change in Washington. The Great American Awakening describes the nationalization of healthcare and Wall Street and other egregious government expansions in such a way that it not just chronicles the past, it encourages voters of the future.

“Tea Party activism would not only make historic changes in the 2010 elections; they would also be a powerful force in the 2012 presidential elections,” DeMint wrote. “I really believed that. I still believe that.”

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  • joeaiello

    The “Tea Party” has got it all wrong with their “taxed enough already” crap regardless of what fox, the fake news channel, says. Our taxes are the lowest they have been since 1960. Our problem is our right wing corporate welfare laws that fox refuses to air. Get rid of all the tax loop holes and we have plenty of money.

    • didacticrogue

      Get rid of all the tax loop holes and we have plenty of money.

      OK, I was about to just call “bullshit,” but in the spirit of good will and enlightenment, let me ask you to present your numbers. I have a very strong feeling that you have no idea of the enormity of the problem, but please – elucidate.

    • didacticrogue

      OK, it’s been over a day, and you still haven’t managed to muster a defense of your ridiculous assertion.

      … not that I’m at all surprised.

  • Restless Mountain

    Jim DeMint does very, very little for SC residents – his constituents. But apparently that’s what the majority of voters here want, someone who’s hailed as a ‘king-maker’ and spends his campaign funds everywhere but in his home state.
    He says he wants small gov’t but wants to give fertilized human eggs full legal rights. Believes in the original Constitution but has several amendments he’s pushing. And if you’ll notice, most amendments wanted by the right-wing tell people what they Don’t have the right to do, not what rights they have.
    Social conservatives are for keeping the gov’t out of your pocketbook but in the middle of your bedroom. Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.

  • williamousa

    Like Senator DeMint, I Believe that big changes are in store for the White House and Congress in 2012 in the manner of 2010 washout elections. This belief got a large boost yesterday when I marched in our 4th of July parade in the reception our delegation of TEA Partiers got from the crowd watching the parade.

  • Greaseman

    Anything that doesn’t mention Rick Santelli’s “rant” on CNBC and his mentioning of having a tea party in July in Chicago isn’t citing history correctly.