Was it really only 14 months ago when Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) was celebrating the freshman Tea Party wave in the House of Representatives by insisting that you "can't be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative"? Well, he might not be backing off from that specific statement, but DeMint–who will be one of the most important figures in national GOP politics for the next week–is urging his co-partisans to start playing nice with Ron Paul and the libertarian movement. Here's The Hill:
"One of the things that's hurt the so-called conservative alternative is saying negative things about Ron Paul," DeMint told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. "I'd like to see a Republican Party that embraces a lot of the libertarian ideas." [...]
DeMint said he does not agree with the Texas congressman on everything but that the rest of the GOP presidential field should capture some of what Paul's been talking about for years because the Republican Party "needs" the libertarian movement.
"You don't have to agree with everything he's saying, but if the other candidates miss some of the wisdom about what he's saying about monetary policy ... that will be to our detriment," DeMint said.
DeMint, who is an influential conservative lawmaker with a key role in the Tea Party movement, said the debate within the Republican Party he's most comfortable with is between conservatives and libertarians.