At 6:46 a.m. today The Hill reported on the rather shocking free pass Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was giving Mitt Romney on his Massachusetts health-care plan. At 11:52 a.m., I posted a story asking whether DeMint is “willing to risk his own conservative street cred to support a candidate who will be the target of his base’s ire?” I tweeted that story out to readers at about 12:30 p.m. (“Is DeMint going to risk his Tea Party status for ROMNEY??”) Very shortly thereafter, a DeMint aide contacted The Hill to walk back DeMint’s comments, claiming DeMint “never considered backing Romney again unless he admits that his Massachusetts health-care plan was a colossal mistake.” That’s a flip-flop worthy of, well, Mitt Romney.
The answer to Right Turn’s question is: No, DeMint is not going to throw away his standing with the Tea Party to give Romney cover for a plan that is an anathema to the base. The problem for Romney now is: If DeMint won’t let him get away with defending RomneyCare with spurious arguments, who will?