DEMINT TARGETS MCCAIN…. As Republicans continue to search for answers to explain what happened in this year’s elections, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) stepped up to become the first high-profile Republican official to blame John McCain for his defeat.

That, in and of itself, is not a bad idea, but DeMint’s reasoning was all wrong.

“McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver’s seat,” DeMint said. “His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn’t fit the label, but he was our package.” […]

“Americans do prefer a traditional conservative government,” he said. “They just did not believe Republicans were going to give it to them.”

I don’t think so. First, what did George Soros have to do with the election? Second, McCain gave up on his own immigration policy long before voters went to the polls. Third, McCain’s cap-and-trade proposal didn’t include a cap. McCain supported the bailout and opposed ANWR drilling, but so did his Democratic opponent.

I’m curious, how many voters does DeMint think wanted to vote for McCain/Palin but decided, “He’s just not right-wing enough”? Indeed, on most, if not all, of the issues DeMint mentioned, it’s Democrats who are part of the mainstream, not the GOP.

Regardless, I suspect we’ll hear quite a bit more of this as far-right post-mortems are written. And if Republicans decide that the lesson to be learned is that McCain/Palin was excessively “moderate,” they can wander in the political wilderness quite a bit longer.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.