Editor’s Note: Please welcome this brief guest post from my friend Andy Kirchoff.
I’m a little late to the party on this one, but Jim DeMint’s move to Heritage is unquestionably a good thing for the conservative movement in America.
Firstly, it ensures that the nation’s premier conservative think tank has a man of intellectual and political prowess at it helm. Many individuals possess one of these skills. But it’s far less common in the same person than one might think.
Secondly, as Heritage continues to increase its influence (especially as FreedomWorks begins its decline), it will be steered by a man who, despite his own reservations on some of these issues, has indicated an openness to both civil libertarians (Rand Paul, Mike Lee) as well as immigration reform advocates (Jeff Flake) having a role in the conservative movement. Coalition-building is absolutely essential for any political movement, and Jim DeMint has a talent for this that will be indispensable in the coming years.
Finally, Heritage’s current evaluation/”scoring” of candidates, while certainly comprehensive, does a poor job of distinguishing policy from philosophy. DeMint’s ability to distinguish between the two will allow Heritage to do a better job of recruiting and supporting authentically conservative candidates. So, in conclusion, I think this selection is a big win for the conservative movement.