Jim DeMint, 65, is a former ad man turn Teabaggist turned self-imagined power broker who spent a long time in DC acting out, and now he's gone.
The Greenville, SC pol made a career around his conviction that small government is best led by small minds with small ideas.
He created a Senate Conservatives Fund to support nutball candidates who'd answer to him; a hilarious feature of its website was a rating system in which he was the only Senator who ever got a pure 100% Conservative Rating.
He tried to cast US Senate candidate Marco Rubio as his protege', but soon got left behind. Both men were mentioned as '16 presidential hopefuls, but in the event, DeMint never got out of the starting gate.
Not even fellow Republicans in South Carolina- the makers of presidents- were interested.
DeMint wrote lots of short books with wide page margins about his big ideas, which mostly involved expanding poverty, contracting health care, and making war on minorities, gays, and unmarried pregnant women. His footnotes were few and nearly all drawn from websites.
He was a madman for free trade until God, through candidate Donald Trump, issued some new commandments.
He was passionately for Randian capitalism in the way only a man whose decades in business and 19 years in Congress left him with a net worth of only $40,000 could.
After bleating about term limits forever (none of his plans ever required him to leave office anytime soon, though), DeMint bolted the Senate in 2013 to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a powerful source of conservative public policy idea actually grounded in fact (the 1980 Heritage blueprint for the incoming Reagan administration, Mandate for Change, remained the blueprint for a decade).
DeMint changed all that, turning Edwin Feulner's Palace of Ideas into the boys-only bar of a small town Moose lodge. He tried to rcreate his PAC with a political office called Heritage Action, and replaced the wonks and boffins with pols who were tasked with taking DeMint's mucousy stream of Teabag nostrums and inventing policy papers to make them seem rational.
In 2016 Heritage turned into a propaganda arm and resume service for Donald Trump, who salted his cabinet transition teams with junior DeMints.
DeMint's great triumph was seeing Neil Gorsuch plucked from the Heritage List of Twenty Lunatic Judges and installed on the Supreme Court (with help from the Federalist Society, where rightwing lawyers who clean up better cluster).
In the Christians Victimized By Homos Derby, DeMint bet on Ryan Anderson, a Princeton protege of anti-LGBT intellectual Robert P. George (co-founder, and long-since abandoned, of the crackpot National Organization for Marriage) to lead the charge against marriage equality and other stuff the gays want; Anderson remains unmarried at 36. DeMint made a video star of Oregon cake shop martyrs and internet grifters Aaron and Melissa Klein; she cried copiously on command, while he peddled the tale that they were prisoners in their home, their business was closed by haters, their Facebook page comments section was a thesaurus of profanity.
Never mind that the Kleins moved their straights-only cake shop home to exploit a loophole in Oregon's antidiscrimination law; sold their baked goods onlie until 2016, and have ade over half a million tax-free dollars from online appeals for money to pay off the $135,000 judgment levied on them for infliction of emotional distress on the lesbian couple Aaron chased out of their store, shouting "Abomination!" at them and their foster kids.
They blocked comments they didn't like on their Facebook page, too.
After four highly-paid years turning a respected institution into a 3-D replica of the fever swamp of Jim DeMint's mind, the entire board of Heritage- every last member- took their own Heritage Action and imposed term limits on the Palmetto Gadfly. As blogger Joe.My.God put it best: