by Chris Haire
I have never been a good prognosticator. Never. Never. Never.
My NCAA brackets are always a complete mess — thanks in part to Clemson University’s penchant for first round losses.
My theories about Lost are always way off-base.
And I thought Hot Tub Time Machine would be the greatest movie of all time, at the very least a box office hit.
But this time I know I’m right. In fact, following a conversation with Dave Woodard, a Clemson University poli-sci prof, I’m absolutely certain that Jim DeMint is running for president.
See, a few weeks back when DeMint announced that he was going to limit himself to two terms in the U.S. Senate, at first I was left scratching my head. But after chatting with Greg Hambrick, City Paper news editor and Rock Bottom blogger, I was convinced that DeMint made this announcement only to set himself up for a presidential run in 2012. Now, I’m certain.
When I asked Woodward, who co-authored Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It's Wrong with Jim DeMint and a man who counts the South Carolina junior senator as a friend, about a possible presidential run by Jim, the Clemson professor said, “Jim is not an ambitious politician. He never has been. He’s been a reluctant politician, from the time he ran for Congress in 1998.
“I can’t believe that he himself is ambitious enough to want to be president. Now, there are a lot people around him who do and who think that he can be because of his vision and what he says,” Woodard added. “When nobody else can do it, Jim DeMint would do it. But right now, I feel like he would prefer for Mitch Daniels to run or Mitt Romney to run. He doesn’t have, I think, any personal ambitions to run for the presidency. He’d much rather back who he thinks could do the job and help them.”
That said, Woodard added, “It’s pretty clear to me that Jim is touching on some pretty deep feelings and emotions that are getting a real response from a lot of people.”
Hmm. I don’t know about you, but there’s something in Woodard’s words that sound like DeMint just might be crafting the 2012 personality that he’ll put before the American people, the one where he’s an aw-shucks-political wonk who’s doesn’t want to be POTUS, but if the people twist his arm again and again and again, then, well, dammit, he’ll do it.
Another factor that might further push DeMint into a 2012 run: his new status as something of a kingmaker. Well, that is if Marco Rubio and the other candidates that DeMint and his Senate Conservatives Fund PAC have endorsed win. (Last week, DeMint threw his support behind Ken Buck in Colorado while today he endorsed Marlin Stutzman in Indiana, both times going against the establishment GOP candidate.)
“Suddenly, Jim DeMint is a kingmaker, and has the magic touch like King Midas, and everybody wants to talk to him,” Woodard said, adding that if several of DeMint’s candidates win, then, “You’ve got a new power in the Senate, and it’s somebody who is outside Mitch McConnell and all the mainline Republican leadership. This is somebody over to the right that is having great political success, and nothing resonates better in Washington than getting somebody else elected. Everything else is secondary.
He adds, “If Jim DeMint delivers on these guys, there’s going to be a lot of people listening to him and what he says.”
Of course, that’s Dave Woodard’s opinion. Only Jim DeMint truly knows what he’s going to do. Then again, he can always change his mind.