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

GOP senator: McCain betrayed Republican principles

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Moderate Man

    What plan can the Republican Party possibly come up with that will unite and not divide this country for the common good?

    November 15, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Billy in Las Vegas

    when I hear "religious-based values" I fear the intolerant so called "Religious Right" forcing their beliefs on average Americans. freedom OF religion should also mean freedom FROM religion.

    I guess people like DeMint want a Christian version of the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Saudi Wahhabist "Religon Police" in that country running things here in America.


    November 15, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    So Palin represent what the GOP wants to lead their party.......Thanks to her we now have stories like this...........................................One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day, according to an AP count.

    The Republican party should know that voters would vote for McCain anyday then Palin.....

    November 15, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. phillyjim

    DuhMint hit on all the issues that McCain was actually right on. DuhMint does not understand that McCain lost despite these positions not because of them. Had he taken these positions, he would have lost by a much larger margin.

    While I have at all times been an Obama supporter I have to say that I thought McCain would not have been a bad alternative up to the point he picked the language mangling pit bull in lipstick as his veep. If the Repubs have any brains or freedom of thought, they will keep her as quiet in Alaska as possible and push moderates like Jindal or Pawlenty as the future of the party.

    A closing thought – why is it always the "Pro-life" people who also support the "Pro-Death" death penalty and "Pro-Death" wars, not to mention "Pro-Death" environmental issues? What hypocrites.

    November 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Sammy

    This man seems to think that the majority people still believe in these principles of his. I suppose his problem is that he cant accept this and therefore the reason for the loss must lay elsewhere.

    November 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. He's right

    The conservative base stayed at home. A few voted for Obama out of sheer rage, and a small few voted third party–myself included. The feeling among conservatives was that John McCain, if victorious, would permanently disenfranchise conservative values out of the party–a goal he has pretty transparently broadcast for years.

    Fourth down and McCain? Time to punt. And now the Democrats–and Obama–can take all the blame for the hell that is set to follow in the next four years.

    Conservatives did not go away. They denied one enemy to the benefit of another.

    November 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Not John Birch

    One more whack job. Just keep it up. Stay a regional party and stay out of power. America has spoken! The era of right wing "lug nuts" is over and "good riddance to bad rubbish".

    November 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Frann Altman in CA

    I love it when they play the blame game! It's so much more fun than the game of monopoly they've been playing for the last eight years. And they are so grateful to spread the blame to others.

    It looks like it's also shaping up to be a real Republican thanksgiving and they are serving themselves as the turkeys! I notice Sarah Palin's Pitbull Pie is conspicuous by its absence. Hooray for that! Greed stuffing with mixed nuts is also on the menu. Humble pie is also a holiday favorite.

    Appetizers include cheese with their favorite whine, Wah Wah Wah vintage 2008.

    November 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. GC

    Did the Senator also discuss how HIS party has placed this nation's citizens $10 TRILLION in debt?

    The GOP is a dead party. Good riddance.

    November 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. J. L. Wlker, Sr.

    I agree with Sen. DeMint. The Bush administration tried to out spend the Democrats. A lot of work must be done to rebuild the Republican party. Important to connect with young people, Latinos and the people on main street.

    I went to high school with Ted Stevens. I joined his table at the last reunion. He is a fine individual and I hope the best for him. I was C E O and major shareholder of the largest steel wire manufacture in the U. S. and Canada. I spent a great deal of time in Washington and that experience shocked me. I am afraid the old saying "we have the best politicians money can buy" is close to being correct. Washington needs to be cleaned up and Republican's need to find some strong leaders young and old to do the job, it will be monumental.

    November 15, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Milton - San Antonio

    Mr. DeMint: Well, well, well, a Republican finally "mentions" George Bush has responsibility for this crisis that we are in. I have voted for him three times, since I'm a conservative from Texas, and not until about three years ago did I begin to see him for who he really is. This TRAITOR has virtually destroyed this great nation in eight years while you "Republicans" sat quietly by and even participated in the destruction!! Of course, the United States has to be weakened morally, economically, and militarily before the North American Union can develop. You politicians and all of us are responsible but when we elect a Chief Executive every 4 years, we expect him to do what he is mandated to do: "FAITHFULLY EXECUTE THE LAWS OF THE LAND". Bush has been more of a dictator than a president and Obama, seeing how it is done, will abuse the office even more against conservative principles. CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE!!! YES, THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO CHANGE.

    November 15, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Jack

    The republican label should have a skull and cross bones on it since the republican party has brought us this depression.

    The republican party lost because there is no more to steal – they have it all!

    November 15, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. David Goldman






    November 15, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. DH

    Gotta agree with "Texas Tim" on all his points. Reading through DeMints comments blew my mind. It was completely reversed from common sense. Oil is not inexhaustable so drilling everywhere is a temporary solution. Drilling in pristine areas of the planet will eventually speed up the upset of natures balance. Arent we all immigrants?

    It all seems to run against the basic tenets of the religion that conservatives claim to adhere to. Treat people as you would like to be treated, take care of the home given to you and spread some happiness right?

    It all comes of as hypocritical and just plain sad.


    November 15, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Disgusted

    I find it laughable that Republicans want to pick and choose which "science" they want to support or undermine. Scientific method is scientific method. I say if they don't want to believe the science of Evolution and they don't want to believe the science of Global Warming, they should be allowed to benefit from the Science of modern Surgery or Medication. We need to simply deny them the benefits of all scientific progress until they can figure things out correctly. Want to believe in Creationism? No problem. You can live without electricity, combustion engines or modern medicine until you change your mind.

    November 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. Fred

    Still for McCain!!!!!!!

    God help this country being led by Hussein.

    Welcome President Biden................

    November 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. Brian

    If they go back to the three principles of freedom, faith based values, and limited governent, they will lose even more of their base. Soon, they will have to learn that supernaturalism (faith as opposed to fact) is obsolete, that naturalism (science) is the only way to progress morally and culturally. The probelm is, most sensible people are learning to hold these four basic thoughts in their head at the same time: 1. god is omnipotent 2. god is omniscient 3. god is just 4. there is evil in the world;
    and thus realizing that they are not mutually consistent. Going back to faith based values is dangerous, as we have seen globally. Leaving religion behind is the only sensible answer.

    November 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Molly Weasley

    Let DeMint - and other Republicans, too - keep talking that way, and the Republicans will keep losing.

    November 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Tony

    As an avid Obama supporter I have one thing to say:

    "Please, oh, please make Rep. DeMint the leader of the Republican Party."

    Nothing could help the progressive movement more than DeMint's position becoming the voice of the Republican Party.

    November 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    Forever Conservative -except 2008, please do not be confused! 🙂

    These people do NOT care about the environment because they believe we are in the last days of Revelations. That is how they rationalize every corrupt thing they do! As well they believe that human beings create souls... .thus the more we have, the more are saved from the pits of hell. Like they are not bound there with their corrupt ideas and actions!

    My belief is that God creates Souls, we simply create a body for that soul to inhabit. And I do believe that God will judge our stewardship of this planet our Earth Mother that we were given to live on, respect and care for... in the beginning of our time here.

    But then who am I.... just a simple Indian Woman walking the Good Red Road as best I can. Aho, mitakye oyacin.... All are my Relations... even the ones who can't think for themselves yet.

    November 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Glen in Texas

    If McCain had stayed true to himself and been more of a moderate, I may have voted for him. But he kowtowed to the backwater, medieval sect of the Republican party and lost my vote, and a lot of other votes as well. Nice to see the old John McCain back again after the campaign. I bet he's relieved.

    I kinda hope the Republican party does lurch further to the right. That'll put them right where they belong – a regional backwoods political faction that consistently loses nation-wide elections. It'll play well with Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, South Carolina, and white supremacists. So godspeed, Senator DeMint, firm up your base!

    November 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |

    A Little constructive critizm, The people don!t seem to realize that
    John Sidney McCain was involved in the Lincoln Savings & Loan fraud
    & recently his son Andrew, in Silver Bank Nevada, This is a Felon
    Even now with the current Bailout, people in High office will look to fatten
    there own Wallets, [ Much like Contrived Gas Prices we paid during
    Bush term]

    November 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Brian

    I was wondering when America would wake up and refuse to be led around like lemmings by the pseudo-Christian bullies. I hope this is an indication of a change in the Republican party... they need a new, more thoughtful, more reasonable base...

    November 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Those thumps you hear are the bus rolling over McCain and Palin.

    The GOP is a ruthless, out-of-touch of hate mongering fools.

    November 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. giri d


    November 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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