By Matt Welch
As flagged earlier, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), one of the most influential fiscal conservatives in the U.S. Senate, is exiting his final term four years early to become president of the Heritage Foundation. From the Wall Street Journal write-up:
In an interview preceding the succession announcement, Sen. DeMint said he is taking the Heritage job because he sees it as a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public. “This is an urgent time,” the senator said, “because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections.” Mr. DeMint, who was a market researcher before he entered politics, said he plans to take the Heritage Foundation’s traditional research plus that of think tanks at the state level and “translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work.” He said, “We want to figure out what works at the local and state level” and give those models national attention.
Mr. DeMint, an active conservative partisan often at odds with his party’s leadership, says he will “protect the integrity of Heritage’s research and not politicize the policy component. Heritage is not just another grassroots political group.”
DeMint, a strong social con who said after the Tea Partytastic 2010 mid-terms that “you can’t be a fiscal conservative unless you’re also a social conservative,” …