There is no person in Congress more trusted by the Tea Party than Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. From Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to Mike Lee, R-Utah, no sitting Republican provided better leadership than DeMint in helping the Tea Party move the Republican caucus to the right. South Carolina Republican primary voters know this, which is why DeMint’s comments to Laura Ingraham about on Newt Gingrich/Rick Perry anti-Bain Capital crusade are so important:
I don’t like that at all because I was in business a long time as a consultant to a lot of businesses. Everyone knows that over half of new businesses fail and that’s part of the process of failing and getting up and succeeding. And I really think that to have a few Republicans in this race beginning to talk about how bad it is to fire people, certainly we don’t like that, but it really gives the Democrats a lot of fodder.
DeMint then went on and accused Gingrich of hurting the pro-life cause:
I think it’s fine to point out people’s records, but the only way we’re going to ever win the battle for life is to convince a lot of people that used to be pro-choice to be pro-life. And so we — I think this idea of condemning people who change their minds is not a good idea for any of us, whether it’s politicians or just the average American, because a lot of Americans have been a part of and been affected by abortion and we need to welcome them to the pro-life movement. I don’t think we can do it with ads like that.
A slew of DeMint loyalists will endorse Mitt Romney in South Carolina today, but DeMint himself still has no plans to endorse. But that’s fine. Any conservative can read DeMint’s statements and tell which candidate he believes is doing great damage to the conservative movement.
South Carolina: Mitt Romney’s big advantage coming into South Carolina appears to be that none of his rivals want to drop out of the race. “When you have a second tier of candidates that is fairly muddled and there is not much consensus about them, I think it’s going to be an uphill climb for any kind of unified effort that might slow Romney now,” South Carolina Republican political strategist Chip Felkel told The Washington Examiner‘s Susan Ferrechio.
Gingrich: The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney opines that Newt Gingrich is the living embodiment of “our corrupt revolving-door politics and crony-corporatist economy.” And just hours after Newt Gingrich admitted his Bain attacks on Romney were an echo of Obama’s class warfare rhetoric, his Super PAC released a Michael Moore-like video King of Bain. Hours after that, Gingrich re-upped his Obama-like class warfare attacks on Bain.
Perry: CNN has apparently waived its debate admission standards and will let Rick Perry participate in the January 19th South Carolina debate even though he is averaging less than 7% in national polls.
Turnout: A Wall Street Journal analysis of poll results so far shows that turnout is up 3% over 2008 in Republican primaries so far this year.
Obama: The Obama campaign announced this morning that, combined with the Democratic National Committee, they raised a combined $68 million in fourth quarter, bringing its total 2011 haul to $222 million.
Massachusetts Senate: Elizabeth Warren’s campaign announced yesterday that it raised $5.7 million in the last quarter of 2011, far outweighing the $3.2 million raised by Sen. Scott Brown.
Around the Bigs
The New York Times, With Recent Criticism, Romney’s Rivals Bring a Smile to the White House: The Times reports: “For months David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior strategist, has argued with evident anticipation that Mitt Romney offers a glass jaw when he boasts that his business record sets him apart as a presidential candidate. Now Mr. Romney’s Republican rivals have beaten the Obama team to the punch, and Democrats could hardly be more pleased.”
The Washington Post, Mitt Romney, Bain Capital and the gospel of ‘creative destruction’: According to The Post, Mitt Romney’s defense of his tenure at Bain “reveals the candidate’s faith in ‘creative destruction,’ the notion that the new must relentlessly replace the old so that companies and the economy can become more efficient.”
The Washington Examiner, Obama flexing same powers he once criticized: President Obama, who once criticized President Bush’s expansion of executive power, has significantly stretched the powers of his office this week. He pushed through the appointment of a consumer-protection agency head opposed by Senate Republicans, made two labor appointments who were never introduced to the Senate, and issued new rules allowing some illegal immigrants to remain in the country while they apply for legal status. In each of these cases, Obama not only acted without congressional approval, but despite strenuous congressional opposition.
The Washington Post, Americans believe conflict between rich, poor is growing: According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans now believe there are strong conflicts between the rich and poor, making class conflict now more divisive than race and nationality.
The Los Angeles Times, Foreclosures expected to rise, pushing home prices lower: Borrowers are likely to see an enormous wave of long-delayed foreclosure action in the coming year as banks deal more aggressively with 3.5 million seriously delinquent mortgages.
The New York Times, Religious Groups Given ‘Exception’ to Work Bias Law: The Supreme Court held yesterday that religious groups are exempt from some aspects of employment discrimination laws.
The Los Angeles Times, Tax hikes won’t stop school cuts, California budget advisor says: California’s state budget advisor said yesterday that Gov. Jerry Brown’s new tax hikes are not big enough to stop cuts to education.
The Wall Street Journal, Scientist Killing Stokes U.S.-Iran Tensions: The Iranian regime accused the United States of assassinating a key nuclear scientist yesterday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied any involvement in the plot.
The Washington Examiner, O’Malley says he wants increase in sales tax: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will announce a slew of tax hikes, including a one-cent sales tax hike, a gasoline-tax hike, and a tripling of the a tripling of the state’s $30-a-year “flush tax.”
RedState‘s Jeff Emanuel finds more evidence that Rick Santorum is a big government/compassionate conservative.
A new video by James O’Keefe shows shows election workers in New Hampshire giving out ballots in the names of dead voters at multiple voting precincts during the state’s primary election
At The Corner, Mercatus Center fellow Veronique de Rugy highlights a new study showing that the regulations for implementing Obamacare so far have been rushed and sloppy.
The Washington Post‘s E.J. Dionne writes: “Thanks to Mitt Romney and such well-known socialist intellectuals as Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, the United States is about to have the big debate on the nature of modern capitalism that should have started back in 2008.”
Talking Points Memo quotes an Obama operative on Newt’s Bain attack: “Having the Republicans eat their own actually makes the Bain story more potent than we ever could because it instantly validates it as a line of attack and falls on independent ears as a matter of legitimate debate, not as a partisan line of attack.”
Daily Kos‘ Jed Lewison says there is no comparison between what Obama did to GM and what Obama did at Bain.