Two conservative titans are battling over the next move in the battle to defund Obamacare, with the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin launching an all-out attack against the Heritage Foundation's Jim DeMint.
Rubin accused DeMint of diminishing the "once great" foundation with what she called a "rant" when he argued on Fox News' "Hannity" that the right should press to shut down the government in a bid to get its way.
"There is nothing approaching the conservative thought or scholarship one would expect of a think tank," wrote Rubin on her blog "Right Turn
"It's pure politics, and the sort of amateur, unthinking brand that has gotten Republicans in trouble both in office and in campaigns," she wrote.
"Heritage folks will announce that this is all under the guise of Heritage Action, a political entity, not the think tank per se. But who is kidding whom?" argued Rubin. "DeMint speaks on behalf of both, and the latter has been entirely subsumed by the hard-knuckle political screeching for which Heritage Action is famous."
She continued, "Like other pushing this political self-immolation, DeMint ignores the obvious: President Obama and Senate Democrats will never, ever go along with this. Eventually, House Republicans would have to cave, just as they did, for example, on the extension of the payroll tax break and just about every other budget face-off.
"Moreover," Rubin added, "the real funding for Obamacare is in the entitlement legislation, not the discretionary spending which is at issue this fall."
DeMint maintained on "Hannity" on Friday that it is time for Americans to get engaged in the same way they did when tea party activists turned out in droves for town-hall meetings a few years ago.
"We saw what they did in 2010 when they stood up and spoke out. That's what we're trying to do—reunite a lot of Americans around this effort to stop Obamacare," he said.
But Rubin contended that DeMint isn't really trying to run a think tank. "He's running a political racket that takes the most extreme right-wing positions imaginable, decries those who won't go along, wails when the stances they advocate fail and then uses the burning resentment it has stoked to generate headlines and donations. When do you suppose conservatives will realize they are being fleeced by this operation?" she wrote.
"Republicans who want a Senate majority and a continuation of the House majority aren't interested in lining DeMint's pockets or boosting his profile. They need to demonstrate they can govern and attain conservative ends. In that regard, DeMint is the Democrats' best friend."
DeMint is promoting a series of nine town hall meetings that will be held across the country this month, while Congress is in recess, hosted by the Heritage Foundation's political arm, Heritage Action.
"The more pressure that the American people put on Congress, the more likely some of the Democrats will break with President Obama and Harry Reid, and vote with the American people," he said on "Hannity."
"We've got to make it feel like in Washington, Americans want this thing stopped. We have to make a little noise in August to make sure folks in Congress are listening."
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