DEMINT MAY NOT CARE ABOUT ‘MAKING UP’…. In recent years, various traditions, niceties, and norms in the U.S. Senate have largely disappeared. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), for example, likes to tell the story of when she arrived in the chamber as a new member, and then-Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) gave her some advice: never campaign against a colleague, even from the other party. Doing so damages the collegiality of the institution, and makes cooperation too difficult.
Needless to say, senators don’t think that way anymore. But even under the new norms, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) pushed the envelope this year, not only campaigning against Democrats, but also seeking to defeat one of his own Republican colleagues, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, whom DeMint considered insufficiently right-wing.
After Murkowski lost to Joe Miller in a GOP primary, DeMint’s move looked like a good move. Now that Murkowski appears poised to win as a write-in candidate, DeMint’s move appears less wise, and more likely to cause intra-party tension.
Yesterday, Murkowski suggested she’s still not pleased with her far-right colleague.
The Alaska senator, who appears poised to win reelection as a write-in GOP candidate for Senate, suggested she’s not eager to reach out to DeMint, who backed her challenger Joe Miller in the Alaska Senate race.
DeMint, who has said he and Murkowski might have “some making up to do” if she wins reelection, would have to act first.
“He has suggested that he’s got some making up to do,” Murkowski told CNN’s “John King, USA” in an interview to air this evening. “I’ll let him make that first move.”
I have a hunch he’ll be reluctant to do that, but we’ll see.
In the bigger picture, though, it’s a reminder that for all his far-right posturing and bizarre ideas, Jim DeMint just doesn’t seem to be well liked by his own Republican caucus.
Last week, after DeMint-backed Senate candidates lost, contributing to the GOP’s failed attempt to take back the majority, more than a few Republicans blamed the South Carolina senator for the failure. Politico noted that a “high-profile senator” said DeMint has “almost no following within the caucus,” and kept the party from “realizing our potential.”
There are occasional rumors about DeMint seeking a leadership post or possibly even seeking national office, but it’s worth remembering that on a basic level, Republicans don’t care for the guy.