Senator Jim DeMint Rules Out A White House Run
HH: Joined now by United States Senator Jim DeMint of the great state of South Carolina. Senator DeMint, congratulations on all you did to contribute to an amazing victory yesterday. Your assessment of what happened?
JD: Well, it was the biggest tea party of all, Hugh. I think what we saw is Americans just turned out in numbers to try to change the direction of the country, and I think in my mind, to save our country from this incredible debt and government growth. But it’s pretty exciting to see what the power of the people can do. And I think that’s what’s changing politics in America, is there is a unity around those core concepts of less spending, less debt, less government takeovers. And hopefully, the folks in Washington understand that now.
HH: Now Senator DeMint, what’s your understanding of the races that we have left, the Colorado, the Washington state, and the Alaska races?
JD: Well, they’ve called Colorado for the Democrat. I’ve talked to Ken Buck, and he believes that while there’s still some ballots to be counted, that he can’t make up the difference, so he has conceded. We’ve, in Washington, I think we’re still showing a very tight race. I don’t know what will happen there, but there’s a few thousand votes between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray. But Dino is a few thousand behind. So that’s of a concern. And in Alaska, Joe Miller doesn’t know what to expect from all of the write-ins and provisional or absentee ballots that haven’t been counting. But it looks like it’s a long shot for Joe to win there, and that probably Lisa Murkowski will return. So we had some, a lot of wins and some losses. But on the East Coast and in the middle of the country, when you look at Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, and Mike Lee out in Utah, as well as Ron Johnson, I mean, we had some really good gains. So I’m optimistic about turning the Senate around.
HH: Oh, there are a lot of extraordinarily new, strong, and very vibrant intellects coming to the Senate, including Kelly Ayotte, and you mentioned some others.
HH: And there are others that we’ve forgotten. Do you think you’ll be able to work easily with Lisa Murkowski if she is the winner and returns to the Republican caucus as she said she would?
JD: Well, we will have to, I think, overcome some tension. I felt like we should get behind our Republican nominee, and I’m sure she had other feelings about that. But yeah, we’ll work together. I think you’ll see a pretty united Republican caucus. We’ve got, really, a lot of good people – Rob Portman coming in from Ohio, I mean, he’ll do a great job.
HH: Roy Blunt from Missouri…
JD: Yeah, and so I think you’re going to see a really good class of new Republicans working well together. And I think all of them understand what’s happening in American right now. I mean, people are upset with this big government philosophy that both parties have had for a couple of decades.
HH: A lot of people following your very important role and very successful role in the elections just completed have asked me, including on this show, our special election show last night, Senator DeMint, is he running for president? So I put it directly to you. Are you considering it?
JD: No, I’m not. I have no intentions of running for president. And I think it’s going to be a very difficult job. Anyone who wants to be president right now probably doesn’t understand how difficult that job is going to be to do what has to be done in America. You’ll have to take on almost every special interest in America, just as you see Chris Christie doing on the state level in New Jersey, taking on all of the unions, trying to cut government spending. Anytime you try to cut something, people start squawking. But we need to do that, or our country is going to go over the cliff into bankruptcy.
HH: I think a lot of people who should read your book, and if they read your book, they would understand what you’re talking about, because you’re very candid in that book about what we are in fact facing. Let me ask you about the Bush tax cuts. The President gave a press conference today, says he wants to sit down, wants to compromise, wants to negotiate, wants to work something out. Jim DeMint, that doesn’t sound like he was listening last night.
JD: No, it doesn’t. If there’s one thing we all should understand is in a recession, we shouldn’t be raising taxes, particularly on the businesses that are creating the jobs. What we need to do is say we’re going to keep our current tax rates the same, at least for five years so people can plan, they can plan to hire people, which is really important right now. But if I talk to a businessman today, and he says I don’t know what my taxes are going to be next year, I don’t know what my health care costs is going to be, I don’t know what the regulators are going to do to me, I don’t know if I can get a loan because of this new federal financial package. They can’t do business that way. So we need to, hopefully in the lame duck session, if we’re going to work together, it’s going to be just to extend the tax cuts the way they are now, instead of just raising taxes on some people and leave them the same for others.
HH: You have 24 Democratic colleagues who are on the ballot in a very short 24 months, Senator Jim DeMint. Do you think they heard the message loud and clear last night about tax cuts and spending restraint?
JD: You know, I’m sure they did, or some of them did. But the problem that the Democrats have now, particularly in the Senate, is they can’t get elected as a Democrat unless they’re completely sold out to the labor bosses and some other major interests in the Democrat party, such as the Trial bar, or the George Soroses. So you saw what happened to Blanche Lincoln. I mean, she voted against the Card Check, taking away secret ballots, because Wal-Mart’s located in her state. The unions spent $10 million dollars to take her down in the primary, which ultimately resulted in her defeat. So I just, it’s hard for the Democrats to work with us on anything that we would think is reasonable.
HH: So do you think that these, that this massive tax hike is going to go into effect simply because of the inertia of the Democratic Party torn between their hard left radical base and their somewhat left institutional voices in D.C?
JD: Well, what I hope, Hugh, is that we can get some Democrats to work with us to extend the current tax rates. It won’t take that many. I mean, if we could just get ten or twelve or so who would work with us, we might, could actually get something positive done. And I hope we can do it in a lame duck session. If we go into next year with taxes going up, I think we could end up in a double dip recession.
HH: Absolutely we could. And it will be the President’s fault for not coming out today and saying we need to extend those tax cuts, I heard. Now Senator DeMint, we also had a number of other messages last night. One of them is clearly about Obamacare. Do you think the President heard that that’s got to be repealed and replaced?
JD: No, he believes that this is a historic achievement on his part. He continues to tell that to the Democrats, and when he speaks around the country. He’s going to fight us every step of the way. But if the Republicans want to earn their stripes, and prove that they can be trusted again, we’re going to have to defund the implementation of Obamacare. And that’s what I expect to see, particularly out of the House. If we’ve got that majority there, which we do, there’s no reason that any appropriations bill should include any funding for Obamacare.
HH: Two quick questions with a minute left, Senator Jim DeMint. Are you in favor of defunding NPR? And will you continue your conservative Senator PAC? And please give the URL to recruit and help fund challengers to these 24 Democrats?
JD: Well, yes and yes. I’ve already introduced the bill to defund public broadcasting, radio and television. It makes no sense for the taxpayers to be paying for media at this point. And the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is www.senateconservatives.com, is going to continue to support conservative candidates. We had thousands of people give $5.5 million dollars, on average contributions of $45 dollars. And we made a big difference in some races like Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. And all of them know that we were able to help. And it’s not me. It’s the thousands of people who just asked what could they do. And sometimes, it was just sending ten dollars to the Senate Conservatives Fund.
End of interview.