|By Josh Richman, The Oakland Tribune|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"This law, Obamacare, is emblematic; it is the poster child of progressivism,"
The former U.S. senator from
"Conservatism is not being bound to the past, but it's building on the things in the past that worked, and it's staying plugged into those things that make life better today," he said. "We're conserving those things that make this country work."
One thing DeMint did not mention Tuesday night was that a key part of the health care law -- the individual insurance mandate -- emerged from the
In a surprise move, he resigned from the
"The reason I left the
DeMint recounted the 2011 fight to tie a plan to cut, cap and balance the federal budget to raising the nation's debt ceiling.
"We got a fight going; we stirred things up," and that resulted in the Budget Control Act and the automatic budget "sequestration" cuts that took effect at the start of this year, he said. "We took this to the mat and said we weren't going to give in on it, and so we made a little progress."
The 2011 showdown also led to the nation's first-ever credit downgrade.
This year, he said, Heritage decided that defunding the new health insurance law was the most important priority. The foundation's political arm, Heritage Action for America, spent big this summer on ads targeting House Republicans who hadn't signed a letter urging Speaker
"They were criticizing us, but at least they were talking about Obamacare," DeMint said. "We could not let something like this go through without a fight."
As a shutdown neared, Heritage Action threatened to count votes on a "clean" resolution to fund the government as a negative in its congressional scorecards.
When Boehner tried to get his caucus behind a bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling on
House Republicans stood strong, DeMint said Tuesday, but "the
"I really do think the future is in our hands," DeMint told the crowd Tuesday. "We don't have to argue with people. We just have to let them know we care about them. ... We're going to keep working, even though the odds seem to be against us right now."
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