November 15th, 2008
10:22 AM ET
4 years ago

GOP senator: McCain betrayed Republican principles

A Republican senator hammered John McCain on Friday.
A Republican senator hammered John McCain on Friday.

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint on Friday became one of the first high-profile Republicans to publicly criticize John McCain following his electoral defeat, blaming the Arizona senator for betraying conservative principles in his quest for the White House.

The conservative senator, speaking to a group of GOP officials gathered in Myrtle Beach at a conference on the future of the Republican Party, described how the party had strayed from its own "brand," which, according to DeMint, should represent freedom, religious-based values and limited government.

"We have to be honest, and there's a lot of blame to go around, but I have to mention George Bush, and I have to mention Ted Stevens, and I'm afraid I even have to mention John McCain," he said.

DeMint offered a long list of complaints about McCain's record in the Senate and on the campaign trail.

"McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver's seat," DeMint said. "His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."

Bush and Stevens, he said, had corrupted the party brand by expanding the size of government and engaging in wasteful government spending. Had Republicans not strayed from their core beliefs in recent years, DeMint argued, the election results might have been different.

"Americans do prefer a traditional conservative government," he said. "They just did not believe Republicans were going to give it to them."

DeMint said he would introduce a Senate resolution next week to boot Stevens out of the Republican caucus, and "force votes" on Senate seniority rules that have allowed certain members to hold onto power. However, DeMint twice confused Ted Stevens with Ted Kennedy, drawing chuckles from the audience of Republicans, who hold neither senator in particularly high regard.

"One of our principles is that power corrupts, and you need to disperse it," DeMint said. "And if our own party allows ourselves to be destroyed by this idea, and are not willing to stand up, then we have to change everyone at the top."


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (711 Responses)
  1. Anna

    PJ451
    "oh for the good ole days when the romans knew what to do with their christians?"

    ouch.

    and dyinglikeflies is absolutely right.

    McCain deserves better than his Party dished him. Oh for Obama to offer him a juicy morsel on Monday. Switch Parties, McCain. You and Cindy can afford it...her tax returns reflect she is writing off enough bounty for a better break than mine!

    November 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Robert

    What saddens me is that the Party continues to state, as DeMint said, that it stands for Religious-based values, but it seems that fewer and fewer live by those values. Unethical behavior, criminal behavior, none of these match up with what I've been taught regarding my religion. It seems that most of the Party now just uses religion as a platform, and not a tenet for the way they live their lives.
    Sad.

    November 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Keith

    I'll take Obama's "religious-based values" over those of republican fools and hypocrites any day.

    November 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Obama 08

    The Democrats don't even need to do anything. They can just sit back and watch the Republican Party destroy itself.

    November 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Republicans still clueless after all these years

    First rule of holes, Sen. DeMint; when you're in one, stop digging. Those who think making the Republican Party even more rigid, narrow, doctrinaire and exclusionary than it is now as the way to fix its brand should really run to a dictionary and look up the word "irrelevance."

    Keep it up and the Party will be representing the views of no more than a couple of states in the South by 2012. Works for me.

    November 15, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    If the people who are so stupid that they could NOT see the corruption of the Bush administration, then they deserve McCain and Palin. Why don't all those people just move up to Alaska with Palin and run your own personal witch hunt on each other. And let the rest of us get on with cleaning up this mess, and supporting Obama in doing so! A new United States of America is on the verge of emerging!

    If you don't want to be part of it... if you are so proud of the condition this country is in... if you can't see what YOUR Party has done..... then you deserve your FREEDOM to worship and go down the tubes with YOUR party! But trust me.... the Big Guys will NOT go down the tubes.... only the Poor Fools who support them!

    Tired of listening to the blame and lie game! It was real and sometimes it was fun... but it was NOT REAL FUN, or we would not have voted you bozos out! :)

    November 15, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. katiec

    Usual republican tactic. Point fingers at someone else and never admit what their party has done to our country.
    Can they not realize our country and our government needs
    change? Not more conservatism, not more religious right,
    not more immorality, but someone who puts their country
    and the peoples desires and needs first.
    They have strayed so far from this doubt if they ever get back.

    November 15, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Cyril

    That is great news. The GOP needs to be more conservative. The Mc Cain attempts at reaching out to the middle needs to end. The GOP shoud go back to cultural issues and the evangelical base. The GOP should make Palin their leader.

    PS: I am a liberal San Francisco Obama voter

    November 15, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Yes we did!

    Delusional! The infighting is getting ugly!
    The Republicans are imploding and the
    Democrats are uniting!
    Who would have thought?

    November 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. H

    DEMINT YOU AND MANY LIKE YOU ARE THE REASON MCCAIN LOST. HE STOOD UP TO YOU AND PUT HIS COUNTRY FIRST. BUT THE NON SUPPORT FROM IDIOTS LIKE HANDED HIM THE LOST.
    YOU DESERVE WHATEVER YOU GET NOW. DO NOT EVERY BLAME JOHN MCCAIN AGAIN. AND THIS IS COMING FROM A FORMER DEMOCRAT TURNED INDEPENDENT WHO SUPPORTER AND VOTED FOR MCCAIN.

    November 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Salvice

    DeMint sounds like a sore loser to me. The Republican party can thank GW for its failings. There isn't much that John McCain could do to separate himself from that label. A Republican is a Republican, and in politics labels are the only things that matter.

    November 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Michael in San Diego

    Another politician stuck in the past. I'm an independent and only the Democrat seemed to get it during the last election. I'm tired of the same ol' politics we seem to spew every so often. I'm very hopeful that Obama will use his intellect to see past these people who ARE bitter and DO cling to religion and guns as a form of national policy. This is the reason people like DeMint are so in love with Sarah Palin – she fits all of his litmus tests but doesn't address ANY of the issues of the 21st century. It's time to move on...

    November 15, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. jay

    I gotta say this is the first time I agree with most of the posters here. Ronald Reagan is no hero and saint. He wasn't a great president and trotting his bones out won't save the Republicans from themselves. They are completely out of touch with most Americans. For this idiot DeMint to blame McCain for not being conservative enough is ludicrous. If the Republicans continue a policy of getting back to their 'roots' then they will disappear in a couple of generations. All I can say is good riddance to them

    November 15, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. H

    DEMINT
    YOU AND MANY LIKE YOU ARE THE REASON MCCAIN LOST. HE STOOD UP TO YOU AND PUT HIS COUNTRY FIRST. BUT THE NON SUPPORT FROM IDIOTS LIKE YOU HANDED HIM THE LOST.

    YOU DESERVE WHATEVER YOU GET NOW. DO NOT EVERY BLAME JOHN MCCAIN AGAIN. AND THIS IS COMING FROM A FORMER DEMOCRAT TURNED INDEPENDENT WHO SUPPORTED AND VOTED FOR MCCAIN.

    November 15, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Ryan

    The republicans need to figure out that people aren't as interested in "brand name", "labels" and "packaging" as they used to be. This is the kind of talk that turned off so many people.

    And on a side note, the phrase "religious based values" makes me sick. Religion should have no say in our government and the inference that if one does not have religion then they have no values is bigoted and ignorant.

    November 15, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. American Joe

    You democowards amaze me, you denegrade religion and morals while your liberal judges let off child molesters and illegal aliens that kill Americans. You critisize Republicans for holding to their beliefs while you Nazi goose step your way to the polls to vote for a traitor and a Anti American. You reap what you sew, and Osama Obama is about to turn your country over to our enemies. The democowards have succeded were the Nazi's failed in destroying this country and inviting every violent leader in the world to come attack us because the incumbent administration couldn't defend it way out a wet paper bag. I hope you Democowards get use to seeing your children slaughtered in the streets by our enemies, but you can't complain because you just elected the leader who doesn't care about your children, he only cares what Rev Wright has to say, what Louis Farrakan has to say, what Bill Ayers has to say, and they all want America destroyed. You are a bunch of Obamorons.

    November 15, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. JL

    If they had listened to this buy, the landslide would have been an even greater landslide. If this is what the GOP means by looking ahead, they will be in for a "surprise"...

    November 15, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Larry

    DeMint - Please don't advise anyone else –McCain wasn't conservative enough for 4-5% of the voters,or he would have won.

    November 15, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. John in AZ

    DeMint is detached from reality. What he fancies as his principles, many times are just principles of good governance (like the fact that power corrupts). And to get into the blame game of who destroyed trust in good governance or fiscal responsibility in the Republican Party you need more than McCain (e.g. Craig, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, etc.). You will not replace for voters the importance of these principles by shoving social conservatism down their throats Senator.

    November 15, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. ken

    McCain can still hold his head high and at least declare that he does not pal around with terrorists. CNN how come Ayers present statements of not being remorseful and that he is just like a serial killer that takes time before his next kill. I say with recent events and the sale of his book will give him the money and notoriety to start again. CNN you better keep a close eye on this guy and cross your fingers he does not start again. You have to admit he still is not satisfied with the outcome and has a chip on his shoulder, but I guess you don't see that.

    November 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. Phil

    DeMint is missing the point. McCain lost because the country is tired of Republican rule. The same rule that is screwing up the country.

    If McCain used more common sense, had a centralist VP (not a luney bin right winger); had a campaign based on issues not baseless attacks. Embraced common sense and realized that we can not drill our way out of this energy mess, and explained that we need to change our energy

    From what I see, these are Republican values:
    -We can drill our way out of our energy mess
    -We should ban gays people, they chose to be gay. (not the fact they are born gay)
    -Global warming is not happening
    -we should get rid of most social programs (people should be able to afford what they need. If people can afford something they need, it is their fault. )
    -Dirty campaigns with outright lies are fine.
    -pollution is fine. The earth will "fix itself".
    -We must bring Christian religion into government (even though the Bill of rights says that Church and state must be separate).

    When real Republican values come back (IE not the extreme right wing), I may consider looking at voting Republican again.

    November 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Roberto

    "religious-based values " ??? Yea, that's right DeMint. Have the GOP keep beating people with your bibles. That's a good way of getting more people to vote Republican. NOT !!!

    Republicans lost because you keep practicing divisive politics. Rhetoric that incites near riots at your campaign stops with your dicipiles calling for domestic terrorist acts against Democratically elected officials, is not the way to bring people to the GOP.

    The founding fathers put seperation of church and state in the constitution for a reason, you idiot !

    November 15, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Angelo

    Why does South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMented wants to push his party further off the cliff?

    November 15, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    THE RNC HAS NO PERMISSION FROM THE ALMIGHTY GOD

    TO EVEN MENTION THE NAME OF GEORGE SOROS. WHILE

    THE REPUBLICANS ROB THE POOR, SOROS FEEDS THEM &

    THEIR CHILDREN. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN MY MIND

    IS ANOTHER VERSION OF THE NAZI PARTY.

    November 15, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Janet

    PALIN VOTED FOR OBAMA.......Google her interview at the voting polls...when asked who she voted for she quoted her right to privacy......she could not say herself because she knew it was a lie AND GOD WOULD NOT APPROVE OF THAT!!!!! True Christian to the end!

    November 15, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29