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Jim DeMint's strategery

Marc Thiessen challenges me on what he sees as some cynicism about political endorsements by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

Weigel misses the point of DeMint’s efforts. DeMint is not interested in “looking like a genius” -- he is interested in helping underdog conservatives get a chance in the primaries against the hand-picked candidates of the establishment. This means taking risks and backing candidates who have a tough fight for the nomination. As DeMint points out in my column (and Weigel does in his blog) both [Rand] Paul and [Mike] Lee were doing fine without DeMint’s help. This is why he put his resources toward more uphill battles.

Fair point. No disrespect intended. But before DeMint endorsed Paul in Kentucky, it looked like he might have failed to endorse either of the most successful (so far) conservative insurgents running for the Senate -- Paul and Utah's Lee -- while putting his stamp of approval on several other candidates whom, if the polls are right, will not win their primaries. The storyline, among some of my sources, was that the endorsement of Marco Rubio in Florida was for DeMint what "Invisible Man" was for Ralph Ellison, a lone masterstroke. But that's the wrong way to look at it. Why are so many Sarah Palin fans angry about her endorsement of Carly Fiorina? Because DeMint got into the California fray first and endorsed Chuck DeVore, and they take him seriously. By not waiting until a candidate is obviously going to win, DeMint has built real cred.

By David Weigel  |  May 7, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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