Former Sen. Jim DeMint, hero to the overlapping Tea Party and Religious Right wings of the Republican Party, was kindly granted space by the Washington Post to tell us what he plans to do in his new job at the Heritage Foundation.
DeMint, a former ad man, promises to launch a “conservative revival” by figuring out how to do a better job selling conservative policies to the American public. That’s not exactly a big shift for the folks at Heritage, which is and always has been a giant marketing operation for right-wing “ideas.”
The most revealing thing in DeMint’s column is his use of a thoroughly debunked lie that Republicans tried to use against President Obama in last year’s campaign. Says DeMint of President Obama, “He disabled welfare reform last year, when he took away the work requirements that were at the heart of that law’s success.”
That false claim earned politicians like Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum “Pants on Fire” ratings from Politifact and similar ratings from other fact checkers. It’s a gross distortion of an Obama administration decision to give states more flexibility to come up with new ways to meet the law's work requirements – something sought by Republican governors. Even some Republicans, including one architect of welfare reform, called the charge false when the Romney campaign made it.
As we know from his climate change denialism, DeMint isn’t as concerned about truth as about creating his own reality -- the way Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber have tried to do. “One lesson I learned in marketing is that, for consumers and voters, perception is reality.”
Maybe reporters should start referring to Heritage as a “perception tank.”