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. Steve

    Can I say something obvious here? Religion is NOT the answer. America will get less and less religious over the next century, as more people realize that religion is usually the problem, not the answer.
    I mean really, the whole crucifixion-raised-from-the-dead story is about 3,000 years old, not 2,000. For one reason or another, it finally stuck when the Jesus brand came about. You know how the original Batman movie in the 60's was really lame, but when it was revived in the 90s it really scored....same principle.
    To all the religious Americans out there, do yourself a favor......have doubts. Its OK to question whether religion is really just a bunch of kookiness. Don't be scared about your soul burning in hell for eternity just because maybe you don't buy the fake stories anymore.

    November 15, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. dishearted

    Another dips–t speaks

    November 15, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Smitty with a P

    You go Sen. Jim DeMint – with an attitude like that we wont see another Republican House or Senate and President for the next 50 years. Your dig'n your own grave.

    November 15, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Les, Utah

    I lived in western NC for about 50 years, in a county that was registered 3 to 1 Democrats but hadn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in recent memory (and didn't again this year). But the rest of NC finally woke up this year (and even voted out the hypocrite Dole when she played the religious card with a vicious ad against her opponent). Welcome to the 21st century, NC!!
    I've always wondered how this Demint got elected. Given their overwhelming support for McCain, I can now see why. Sure doesn't speak well for the majority of SC voters. Maybe they will join this century before it ends.
    P.S. I didn't do much better when I moved to Utah, to a city which is the reddest city in the reddest county in the reddest state in the country (and brags about it). Obviously, it's been a lonely 4 years for a yellow-dog Dem. But at least they register Republican.
    The Dems are gaining ground here (in Utah) though. But as the majority still has the same narrow, bigoted, religious-based values as SC and, sadly, as much of the South, when voting, I doubt if I live long enough to see the change.

    November 15, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Suadi Daudi

    Just by them some Fine Wine, Johhny.. Perhaps that is what RePub stands for.. Hurray for People First and Politics Last !!

    November 15, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. mr

    "religious-based values" This is exactly why the GOP is failing to begin with lol.

    Most of the country now is sick and tired of mixing religion and politics which is against everything this country was founded on.

    GOP = DUH

    And all the religious neocons always make a big stink about "liberals" being anti religion which is ignorant, most of us love religion but we believe in FREEDOM first and foremost and do not believe our religion should speak for everyone, because it shouldn't.

    November 15, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. youforgot

    DeMint is correct. The pervert media and the socialist pseudo-Republicans (e.g., Arnold Schwarzenegger) pushed this far-left political hack John McCain with the full knowledge that he had minimal allegiance to conservative principles. Most younger Americans are brainwashed against conservatism; most older Americans have forgotten about conservatism. Any true conservative running as a Republican would have won this election by a landslide, as it would have been a very refreshing change from the liberal deterioration that festered during the previous dozen years.

    November 15, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. MikeH

    The dying animal (Republican party) attacks its own body.

    Like Ariana Huffington said, we need a Republican party, just not the one we have.

    The current Republican party is too corrupted by venal and theo-facist rabid right wing extremists. In its present form, it must be allowed to die.

    November 15, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Vence

    In ancient times at Rome. Everytime a politic lost credibility, the rest started to conspire his death, normally by stabbing. Nothing has change since, except for the steel. GOP needs to change its name to GNP to prevail. In this case young politicias from this new party need start eliminating the old politicians if they want to prevail, otherwise the whole ideology will collapse pretty soon. They need to come out with new ideas and more diversification to survive. On last elections the world saw how this intolerant, elitist party still wanted to control power after so many blunders and violation on civil and human rights.
    that motivated a natural alliance for change. This alliance strong enough to elect more presidents stood against hungry power politicians best known as Good Old Boys and no steel was needed.

    November 15, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Jim

    Hay Sen. Jim DeMint don't worry about it, they only won because of black racism

    November 15, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. steve from somerset

    Since the end of World War II, when one President retired he was replaced with a member of the other party in every election except one.

    Democrat Truman was followed by Republican Eisenhower.
    Republican Eisenhower was followed by Democrat JFK
    Democrats JFK-LBJ were followed by Republican Nixon
    Republicans Nixon-Ford were followed by Democrat Cater
    Democrat Clinton was replaced by Republican Bush
    And now Republican Bush will be replaced by Democrat Obama.

    The only exception was in 1988 when retiring Reagan was followed by his Vice President, George HW Bush.

    American politics is cyclical in nature. This year, virtually any Democrat nominated would have won, virtually any Republican would have lost.

    For Republicans to blame McCain for his defeat just flies against the last 60 years of American political history.

    November 15, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. What Happened to the Real Issues?

    Hey Dingle-Butt (Bill Dingle)!

    Before you start accusing the new administration of things it has not even done yet, take a look as your republican history. My God, we are only talking 8 years here so it is not like you need to know ancient history – idiot. So how much money have the republicans and Bushy spent these past 8 years? Come on Dingle, wake up! The question is not that hard (well at least for most people) to understand. Seems to me Bush, Dick and the lot rolled over a lot of Democrats the past 8 years as well as The Consitution, Civil Rights, and just humanity in general. At least we now have someone that wants to unite and listen to opposing points of view versus the Dicktators you would prefer.

    So, when and if the Democrats abuse their power as the republicans and Bush did, then you can opine til your hearts content. Until then, you just sound like the idiot your are!

    November 15, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Mia

    McCain did better than average considering. I'm not sure a Palin ticket in 2012 will do any better than him in winning independents and moderates.

    November 15, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. MikeH

    If the Republican party goes any more to the extreme right, it will need to change its symbol from an elephant to a swastika.

    DeMint will need to comb his hair to the left and grow a short narrow mustache, just like 'American' Joe.

    November 15, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Sally

    Very true, the democrats only won a temporarily because of black racism and nothing else.

    November 15, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. chuckles199

    mccain can re-sign up with obama on monday for his democratic-lite credentials. obama could make him a janitor at the white house.

    mccain like bush was never a conservative and he may not even be a republican. what was the theme of his campaign?

    "i am a DC insider with PC beliefs".

    campaign finance, higher taxes, deals on judges, global warming and wants a deal on illegal immigration. since mccain knows nothing about economics and if possible obama knows even less. they don't realize that making illegals citizens would result in TWO uintended consequences. health care will be rationed and social security will be broke by 2012.

    they refuse to see the truth 30% of mexico's citizens live in the USA.

    November 15, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. John Q. Cynic

    This is typical American politics...back stabbers, liars, alcoholics, thieves, and two faced cowards. Conservative republicans, and their delusional evangelicals could drop off the face of the American landscape, and then I could draw a deep breath of unpolluted air. What do you say conservatives, can I breath in a clean lung full of air without your polluted pseudo doctrines.

    November 15, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Ted:Canada

    Help from CANADA!

    Here this might help – try to find someone that has a recent University education and nows what "Gobalization" means!

    "economic, cultural and tecnology globalization"

    less about principles!

    Throw out concepts like

    "left vs right"
    "liberal vs conservative"

    they don't mean anything anymore!!!!


    "CHINA is a communist country but has one of the most sophisticated capitalistic systems in the world"

    How much money to do you owe China?

    November 15, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. chuck

    The GOP has AIDS.BEWARE!

    November 15, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. SF Serg

    2012 Republican Ticket:

    Sarah Palin/ Joe Plumber = OBAMA 2nd Term


    November 15, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Molly

    this is exactly why the republican party is dead and will not rise again in our life time.

    November 15, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Susie

    Add me to the ranks who won't vote Republican as long as they hold that "religious-based values" are a part of their platform. Code words for "Christian values only", "no equal rights for gays", "no equal reproductive rights for women", and a host of other positions that are an anathema to the droves of people leaving the Republican party.

    November 15, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Jeremy

    Why are all the Republicans looking to blame someone for the parties failures? First, it was choosing Palin as the VP. Which most Republicans are saying she recharged the party with her entrance. Now, they are looking to blame McCain for this loss. If I am not to mistaken I dont think the loss was the only position they lost. They need to look at the governor, senator, and house seats. Republicans need to quit looking for excuses, the problem this year was the R beside your name.

    November 15, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. David

    I've always found this kind of philosophy interesting after an election.

    When the Democrats lose, they reevaluate themselves and gradually scoot over to the center lane.

    When the Republicans lose, they reevaluate themselves and take a hard right turn.

    It was evident at the end of 2006, and it's evident again. For some reason, Republicans think that the answer to people not electing them is to be even more conservative than they were before.

    November 15, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. McCain was a loser from the beginning

    The 45 million votes the Republicans got were all for Sarah Palin--without Sarah it would have been a popular vote landslide instead of a 6 point difference-

    McCain was out of touch from the beginning-had no idea how to run a modern camapign--just as Hillary didn't either-

    But Sarah Palin is only 44 years old and she's the Governor with the highest approval rating in the U.S.--she'll get it right in either 12" or 16'–
    we view Obama as just an interim President who will fall under the weiht of the economy-

    November 15, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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