WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim DeMint said Thursday, after announcing that he would resign to become President of the Heritage Foundation, that he felt he could do more to promote conservatism working outside the Senate than he could as a member.
“This is a critical time for America and there’s no organization in the country, in fact the world, that’s better positioned to convince the American people that the conservative policies that the Heritage Foundation has delivered over the years are the solutions to the problems that we now face as a nation,” DeMint told a small group of reporters gathered in the lobby of the Heritage Foundation, which was locked down as he made the rounds of his new employees.
The South Carolina Senator was wearing a blue tie with the Heritage symbol printed on it. The outgoing president of the Foundation, Ed Feulner, was wearing a matching tie in Red.
“This family of conservatives here at the Heritage Foundation helped to shape my own views, they inspired me to run for the Congress in the first place, and they’re in a position now to carry the message that we need to carry to the American people,” he said.
DeMint said that President Obama’s re-election last month made clear that conservatives were not doing a good enough job communicating their ideas.
“The re-election of President Obama was a very clear message that we need to do more as conservatives to convince 100 percent of Americans that our ideas are going to help them and their futures, make them more prosperous, create more jobs. And we haven’t done an effective job of doing that,” DeMint said. “And so as someone who’s spent a lot of his life in marketing and advertising and research, I am looking forward to working with the Heritage Foundation, to take these ideas, these real solutions, and show Americans in as many ways as we can that these are the ideas that will work.”
He said this could better be done from outside the legislative body.
“A lot of my role in the senate has been stopping bad things and saying no to bad things, but we need to do more than that and tell Americans what we’re for,” DeMint said. “One of the mistakes I think the Republican Party made the last two years is trying to make Obama the issue without sharing with America bold reform ideas that get people inspired to get behind us. Heritage has those ideas and their backed up with research that prove them out, the analysis that they’ve done over the years behind different policies, showing what’s working at the state level.”
He said he left the Senate in good hands with a crop of young conservatives.
“This is a good time to leave, in effect, because I have term limited myself. I never intended to be a career politician. I’ve played a role in stocking the senate with solid conservatives who are younger and brighter and better spokesmen than I am, and so I know I’m leaving the senate better than I found it, with some real leaders,” he said.
“But this is an opportunity to do more to get the American people behind them,” he went on. “If we don’t do that it’s gonna be hard to keep people here in Washington that are promoting the right ideas.”