By Zachary Roth
During an appearance at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C, a key center of power for the conservative movement, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory portrayed himself as a business-minded policy wonk, earnestly extolling the benefits of infrastructure development and government-efficiency measures. He might as well have been describing someone else.
For the last year, McCrory has engineered a hard-right shift in North Carolina that has crippled millions in his state. His 2012 election gave Republicans control of all three branches of the state’s government for the first time since Reconstruction and they took advantage of it. In 2013 alone, North Carolina has said no to expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, approved a tax plan that redistributes wealth from poor to rich, cut education by half a billion dollars, instituted perhaps the toughest voting restrictions in the country, weakened campaign-finance laws, and passed its own version of Texas’ controversial abortion measure.
Now he will be doing the same, but from outside the Senate – from a perch free of seniority rules, powerful
leadership structures and procedural quirks.
DeMint announced Thursday that he will be leaving the Senate in January to head the Heritage Foundation think tank, becoming what one senior Republican describes as the “CEO of the conservative movement.” DeMint leaves behind a mixed record of success in bolstering the ranks of Tea Party-minded senators, but his legacy of influencing the direction of the GOP is likely far from over.