New Heritage Foundation head seeks re-connect with lost constituents
The incoming president of The Heritage Foundation said it's naïve for Republicans to think they'll win over Hispanic voters by softening their stance on illegal immigration.
Former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who will head the conservative Washington-based think tank, said he intends to focus on finding winning messages for conservative policies, rather than trying to carve out the unpopular portions of those policies.
“We have to do a better job taking these ideas to the American people,” DeMint said Tuesday in an interview with Tribune-Review editors and reporters.
DeMint will succeed Edwin J. Feulner, president of the foundation since 1977, on April 3.
“How do we take these ideas that we know work, and that we will absolutely insist on the integrity of, but how do we take them and bring them to fruition, really, inside by using more effective force from the outside?” Feulner asked.
Tribune-Review owner Dick Scaife is a member of The Heritage Foundation's board of directors.
DeMint, who founded a marketing firm in South Carolina before his election to Congress, said he plans to meet with constituencies with whom Republican candidates performed poorly.
“Part of what we're doing is going to a bunch of cities. We'll start next week in Raleigh (with) a lot of roundtable discussions, informal discussions with black pastors, Hispanic pastors, women, students. We'll be in universities — just talking to people, not trying to sell them on a political idea but trying to understand what they care about,” DeMint said.
Democrats say the problem isn't the pitch; it's what Republicans are pitching.
“They have said nothing and proposed nothing that addresses the concerns of the Latino community, the African-American community, seniors, women,” said Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
President Obama won 71 percent of Hispanic voters, compared with 27 percent for Republican Mitt Romney, according to the Pew Research Center.
Republicans “offended practically every demographic group last year that wasn't middle-aged and white, and the results of the election reflect that,” Burn said.
The Republican National Committee, in a recent report examining the party's 2012 election losses, said “among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond must be to embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. ”
DeMint linked the loss to the Obama campaign's registration drives and outreach in Hispanic communities.
“It's very naïve for Republicans to think we're going to pass some amnesty bill and we're going to win the votes. That isn't going to happen,” he said. “But what is going to happen is the way we speak, the tone we use.
“We need to make sure that every American knows, as conservatives, that we love them as fellow Americans, we want them all to succeed, and we need to show up in their communities.”
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cole outduels Mets rookie, carries Pirates to victory
- Look for 1st rate hike this year, Yellen says
- Hempfield pair caught in vehicle scam
- Pirates notebook: Stewart, Cole develop rapport
- PIAA track and field notebook: Burrell’s Scherer, Valley’s Walters set to race again
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- Allegheny County cutting ties with Corizon Health after deaths of 2 inmates at county jail
- Online donors help Hempfield teen whose wallet was stolen
- Pirates’ McCutchen laughs off pay stub leak
- WPIAL players take control of early rounds at PIAA tennis tournament
- Knoch’s Geist captures PIAA discus title