Jim DeMint and the Improving Economy

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 9 2012 9:40 AM

Jim DeMint and the Improving Economy

Jim DeMint got the opening address at CPAC, a sign of his increased status as a New Right paderfamilias, and an annoying position to be in -- this early, only around two-thirds of the ballroom seats were full, and many bloggers and reporters were still in the get-coffee-and-catch-up-with-that-guy-you-know-from-Twitter stage. DeMint largely gave the masses what they wanted.

"The Senate has been a black hole for the whole time I've been there," he said, rattling off a list of the senators he'd helped put in to change that. "We could put Ronald Reagan in the White House, and it wouldn't matter if Harry Reid was majority leader."

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The only new-ish thng I heard was a reference to an improving economy. The president, said DeMint, was trying to grab "every piece of credit" for the improvement, but it was "the hard work of the American people" giving us a path out of the crisis.

This is a problem that Mitt Romney, DeMint's choice for nominee in 2008, has had to deal with, too. You can point to the rotten parts of economic data, like the "real unemployment rate," and throw up dust about whether the economy's improving. But if it's your test case for why Obama's a failure, you need worse news.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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