JIM DEMINT FORGETS WE HAVE ACCESS TO GOOGLE…. Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina is arguably the most right-wing member of the Senate, a designation he accepts with some pride. In fact, in 2008, Mitt Romney sought out — and earned — DeMint’s endorsement precisely to help boost his bona fides with the GOP’s extremist base.
It’s what makes stories like this one from Dave Weigel that much more interesting.
In the spin room after last night’s debate, I asked DeMint whether he’d had his qualms about a health care mandate in 2007, when he endorsed Romney, and the mandate was law in Massachusetts.
“I got involved with him before that,” DeMint explained, “and the concept that was presented to me was the idea of moving people from government plans to private plans. That’s what the goal was. That’s how my conversations went, and that’s how it was presented. But the way it ended up…” he paused to think about this. “I cannot accept all the mandates, all the government exchanges. And it hasn’t worked. I think the goal of figuring out how you can move people from government policies to private insurance policies is a good goal. That’s one of the things that attracted me to what he was trying to do. Frankly, with the Democratic legislature in control there, I just think the way it ended up, we wouldn’t want it in our state or our country.”
What’s fascinating about this is the extent to which DeMint has no idea what he’s talking about.
Let’s set the record straight. Romney signed his health care reform package in Massachusetts into law in April 2006. It included an individual mandate, which has traditionally been a Republican idea. More than a year later, DeMint endorsed Romney’s presidential campaign, citing — you guessed it — Romney’s success on health care. Indeed, while Romney was defending health care mandates as part of his campaign, DeMint praised a health care policy based on mandates as being a “good conservative idea.”
DeMint added at the time that “the need to have everyone insured” was something that made sense for the “entire country.”
When Democrats based their health care policy around the same basic structure and principles a year ago, DeMint considered it radical socialism. It’s funny how that works out.
Now, part of this is about poking fun at DeMint’s absurdities. His response to Weigel last night made absolutely no sense.
But the other part of this is to drive home the point that the Republican Party’s shift to the right is happening at blinding speeds. The health care policy the Senate’s most conservative member loved in 2007 was deemed a communistic government takeover in 2009 — a detail that’s been largely ignored in the larger political discourse.