So says Washington Examiner columnist Timothy P. Carney, in a column hailing outgoing South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint as a "libertarian hero." Excerpt:

Until last year, DeMint was the only senator with a lifetime 100 percent from the Club for Growth. He still has a perfect record, but now he has company: Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson -- all pro-life conservative freshmen derided as "Jim DeMint disciples" by the likes of lobbyist Trent Lott. [...]

Look at the Club for Growth scorecard again. All the most fiscally conservative senators are pro-life. You have to go down to No. 27 in the Club's rankings -- Mark Kirk -- to find a pro-choicer.

Self-described "fiscal conservatives and social moderates" almost never end up being both. Most end up embracing taxes, regulation and spending like Mark Kirk, with a Club for Growth lifetime score of 52 percent. The rest become pro-lifers like Pat Toomey.

Traditional morality and limited government aren't enemies. They're friends. DeMint proved that, and he left behind heirs who will continue to do so.


In a February 2009 column about Arnold Schwarzenegger's "failure," I more or less agreed with Carney's observation that social moderates have been almost universally disappointing on fiscal conservatism (though in fairness, so had just about every other sitting politician at that moment). And in a post last week, Nick Gillespie reminded us why DeMint's libertarian shift is yet another excellent reason why you should make a tax-deductible donation to Reason today!