Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC.) announced Thursday that he would be stepping down from the Senate in January, four years shy of the end of his term, to run The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
"I'm leaving the Senate now," DeMint said in a statement, "but I'm not leaving the fight. I've decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come."
The Heritage Foundation could use the new publicity. Just Tuesday morning a Heritage fellow named Edmund F. Haislmaier accosted a protestor at a Fix The Debt panel in Washington, D.C. The protestors were from the Seattle-based non-profit Campaign for Community Change, and they interrupted a speech by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Oh.) to call for the protection of entitlements in fiscal cliff negotiations.
"No no no no! No! These people, these people are screwing things up for my kids!" shouted Haislmaier, as he followed the protestors out of the conference hall. He then grabbed one protestor's wrist and knocked the camera out of his hand. Here's the incident from that protestor's point of view:
Here's the altercation from another angle:
As a senator, Jim DeMint has been a strong voice for the Tea Party and a loud critic of President Obama's policies, namely, The Affordable Care Act. Recently, he's lambasted fellow Republican John Boehner for his opening fiscal cliff proposal, saying it would "destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more." As the president of Heritage, DeMint can introduce conservative ideas at the source and be an even louder critic. Some have suggested the Heritage perch may hold more influence than elected office for someone like DeMint, whose prospects of political leadership are stunted by his extremism. It certainly pays better.
Of course, leaving the Senate, DeMint will lose his protective guard. Then again with friends like Haislmaier, who needs bodyguards?