Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced yesterday that he would be leaving the Senate to join the conservative Heritage Foundation as its new president next month. The move comes just two years after DeMint was reelected for another six-year term.
But the Washington Post is “happy” to see him go, editorializing that the tea party darling’s departure may lead to a more “pragmatic” Senate:
We’re happy to accept Sen. Jim DeMint’s stated reason for quitting the Senate seat he has held for eight years: to become president of the Heritage Foundation think tank. The South Carolina Republican says he’s moving on “because the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas,” and running Heritage is, for him, the way to provide it. …
[E]veryone has a stake in a Senate whose members, of both parties, are neither ideologically inflexible nor politically cowed by the threat of primary challenges from the ideologically inflexible. Solutions to many of the nation’s problems, its fiscal challenge most of all, will require give and take. That’s true for substantive, as well as political, reasons. Republicans who don’t see compromise as a dirty word could both move their party in the right direction and better influence Democrats to give up some of their unsustainable orthodoxies.
From that point of view, Mr. DeMint’s departure may be a sign that a chastened GOP could shift in a more pragmatic direction on Capitol Hill — which is to say, it may be a hopeful sign.