South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is preparing to transition the Senate to his new position leading The Heritage Foundation. As you know, DeMint has been a tireless advocate for conservative principles on Capitol Hill and will passing the torch to his successor, Rep. Tim Scott.
On Thursday, DeMint took to the Senate floor to deliver his farewell address which highlighted economic freedom, small government, federalism, and individualism. The problem for conservatism is not a lack of ideas, but how best to market them to the American public without weighing them down in political gamesmanship:
I’m leaving the Senate to work on ideas that I know work. I’ve seen them work all over our country. We can look all over our country and showcase these ideas that are working, and I know there is power in ideas, but I’ve learned one thing about the political environment: Unless there’s power behind the ideas, that they will not emerge here in the Congress. If there’s too much pressure on the outside from the status quo, or to protect some political interest, and no matter how much we show that it’s working, it won’t be adopted here unless we’re able to win the argument with the American people.
Additionally, DeMint also warned his Republican counterparts that his job was first and foremost to be a champion of conservatism, not a cheerleader for the party:
I’m not leaving here to be an advocate for the Republican party. I hope that we can create more common ground between the political parties by showing everyone that ideas that work for their constituents and our constituents are right in front of our faces if we’re willing to set aside the pressure groups, the special interests, and just focus on what’s working.