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DeMint Tome Tracks Two Years of Tea Party

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Sen. Jim DeMint’s book follows the rise of the tea party movement and the fear that the South Carolina Republican says motivated thousands of people to become active in politics.

“Those who want something from government are more organized,” DeMint said. That has created a culture in which the primary goal of lawmakers was to “bring home the bacon.” Now, he argued, that culture is changing.

“The culture of spending exemplified by self-serving, parochial earmarks has been replaced with debates about how to cut spending and balance the budget. In fact, for the first time in anyone’s memory, Congress is now passing bills that actually reduce spending,” DeMint writes.

But, as Democrats found in 2010, electoral gains can be ephemeral. DeMint’s job has been made easier by the GOP capture of the House and by the addition of Senate allies such as Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who wrote the foreword of “The Great American Awakening.”

But 2012 will be a challenge of a different magnitude. To win, DeMint and his allies will need the political equivalent of the zeal exhibited by the religious adherents of the first two Great Awakenings. Because, he argued, the stakes could not be higher.

The 2012 election, DeMint said, will finally decide whether “we want to be free or be more like Europe.”

How does a politician convince the people that the next election really is the one that will settle the future course of the country, when politicians always say that? That’s the challenge that DeMint and his conservative cohorts face in 2012. His story of the previous two years provides readers with a blueprint for how they are likely to go about it.

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