4 Ways Tim Scott's Appointment Furthers DeMint's Right-Wing Legacy in the Senate
UPDATE: At noon EST, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named Rep. Tim Scott to take the Senate seat that will be vacated by Jim DeMint when the Tea Party leader steps down in January to take the top job at the Heritage Foundation. Scott will be the only African American in the Senate, and seventh African American U.S. senator in history.
Sen. Jim DeMint’s announcement that he will resign from the U.S. Senate to become president of the right-wing Heritage Foundation left the decision of DeMint’s successor in the hands of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. DeMint has made it clear that his top choice would be Rep. Tim Scott, who was among the five people on Haley’s short list. This morning some are reporting that Haley has indeed chosen Scott.
Scott was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave after defeating Strom Thurmond’s son in the GOP primary with backing from Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. He’s considered a rising star in the party -- after the 2012 election he was elected to serve as the liaison to leadership for the rising sophomore class. Like DeMint, he embraces both the Religious Right’s anti-gay, anti-choice social agenda and the Tea Party’s anti-government, anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda. No wonder he’s a Fox News favorite – and no wonder Fred Barnes, writing in the Weekly Standard, calls Scott an “ideal replacement” for DeMint.
Scott holds particular appeal for conservatives after this year’s elections in which people of color overwhelmingly supported President Obama. If appointed, Scott would become the only African American member of the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he was one of 15 black conservative candidates backed by “Operation Black Storm,” a project of Alan Keyes’ Patriot PAC. Only Scott and Allen West were elected. Scott shares West’s politics but not his tendency to spout ridiculous rhetoric about President Obama being a Marxist tyrant. That may be one reason West will soon be a former member of Congress and Scott may soon be a U.S. Senator.
1. Anti-Obama Cred
Scott has the fervent anti-Obama record demanded by the far right. On Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, Scott said, “This president has consistently found himself on the wrong side of the concept of the rule of law.” He claimed, “It’s a liberal media bias that insulates this president from having to explain the truth to any American citizen about the things that go wrong in this government.”
He embodies the Tea Party’s opposition to the federal health care reform bill and has joined House Republican efforts to defund it and repeal sections of it. He joined an anti-health care reform rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, where he said “the last thing anybody wants to see happen is the United States government take over health care and ruin the best health care system in the world today.”
Scott was an energetic participant in House Republicans’ desperate but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to politicize the botched “Fast and Furious” operation and turn it into an election-year scandal for the Obama administration. Those efforts included a House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. At the same time Scott was frantically working to politicize the death of a border control agent, he was accusing the left of politicizing the issue.
At this year’s Republican National Convention, Scott said “The past four years of hope and change have led me to one conclusion: our only hope is to change the current resident of the White House. Amen.” And his “heartfelt” and not exactly respectful message to the president: “Hit the road, Jack, and dontcha come back no more no more no more.”