CNHI News Service

News

December 10, 2012

Lugar says DeMint building new power base

—  

The surprise resignation of ultra-conservative U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, was seen by some as an indicator of the weakening power of the tea party movement.

But Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, who lost a bid for another term last May, doesn’t see it that way.

DeMint’s decision to abandon his post to head the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation is an indicator of the growing influence of outside pressure groups on the inside workings of the legislative branch, Lugar said.

DeMint, said Lugar, can wield a big stick as the head of an organization that can muster up millions of campaign dollars for candidates who support the ultra-conservative causes that DeMint has championed.

A self-proclaimed warrior in the “battle of ideas,” DeMint, the founder of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, has been an uncompromising foe of compromise.

He opposes immigration reforms that would create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and he’s wanted no ground yielded to President Barack Obama on the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

The 80-year-old Lugar was vilified during his losing primary race for embracing both immigration reform and the virtues of compromise on budget and other issues.

Lugar said DeMint envisions himself as the next Grover Norquist. As head of the influential Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has pressured scores of legislators into taking a pledge to never, ever raise taxes under any circumstances.

Norquist, said Lugar, uses his organization to mobilize forces against anyone who even thinks about defying the pledge.

“Grover is able to call into play tens of millions of dollars to crucify anybody that crosses the line,” Lugar said. “So, in essence, Jim DeMint is saying: ‘Now I’m going to play that game.’”

It’s a game Lugar thinks will end badly.

He blames Washington’s inability to act to avert the double-whammy of tax hikes and spending cuts that will come next month unless there’s some compromise in Congress, on Norquist and like-minded no-compromisers. 

---

Details for this story were provided by Maureen Hayden, statehouse bureau in Indianapolis.

1
Text Only
News
  • ORANGE.png Piracy dipping into Netflix profits

    "Orange Is the New Black" is now the second-most pirated TV show in the world.

    August 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • unrest.jpg Why the Ferguson police-shooting riots had little to do with Ferguson

    Riots and vandalism broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. An 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there. Brown was unarmed. It's still unclear why tensions boiled over.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • congressionaldemographics.jpg Most Republican House districts are majority-white

    Significant numbers of conservatives, and white Americans in general, admit to feeling discomfort at the prospect of a non-majority white America. These views are even stronger among Tea Party-aligned conservatives.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

Sports

Features

Opinion