While I'm not sure there is any replacement for Senator Jim DeMint that I'd consider particularly good, the one Governor Nikki Haley chose is especially bad, I'm afraid.
Representative Tim Scott has a compelling story to tell, which I'm sure contributed to Haley's decision to elevate him to replace DeMint. Via the New York Times:
Mr. Scott, who served on the Charleston County Council for 13 years and in the South Carolina House for two years before he was elected to Congress, noted that he has a different background than many of his future Senate colleagues. Raised by a single mother, he described himself as a lost child who struggled with school and life until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner embraced him as a protégé and taught him conservative principles.
Governor Haley praised Scott for his accomplishments, saying he had "earned" his appointment:
“It is very important to me, as a minority female, that Congressman Scott earned this seat,” Ms. Haley said. “He earned this seat for the person that he is. He earned this seat for the results he has shown.”
Yes, well. Here are some of those results, via ThinkProgress:
- Floated impeaching Obama over the debt ceiling. As the debt ceiling debate raged in the summer of 2011 because of the intransigence of Tea Party freshmen like Scott, the nation inched perilously close to defaulting on its obligations. One option discussed by some officials to avoid that scenario was for the president to assert that the debt ceiling itself was an unconstitutional infringement on the 14th Amendment. However, Tim Scott told a South Carolina Tea Party group that if Obama were to go this route, it would be an “impeachable act.”
- Proposed a bill to cut off food stamps for entire families if one member went on strike. One of the most anti-union members of Congress, Scott proposed a bill two months after entering Congress in 2011 to kick families off food stamps if one adult were participating in a strike. Scott’s legislation made no exception for children or other dependents.
- Wanted to spend an unlimited amount of money to display Ten Commandments outside county building. When Scott was on the Charleston County Council, one of his primary issues was displaying the Ten Commandments outside the Council building. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Scott said the display “would remind council members and speakers the moral absolutes they should follow.” When he was sued for violating the Constitution and a Circuit Judge’s orders, Scott was nonplussed: “Whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal (of displaying the Commandments) is worth it.”
- Defended fairness of giving billions in subsidies to Big Oil. Scott and his Republican allies in Congress voted repeatedly last year to protect more than $50 billion in taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil corporations. When ThinkProgress askedScott whether it was fair to do that, especially at a time when oil companies are earning tens of billions in profit every quarter, the Tea Party freshman defended the industry: “fair is a relative word,” said Scott.
- Helped slash South Carolina’s HIV/AIDS budget. As a state representative, Scott backed a proposal to cut the state’s entire HIV/AIDS budget, despite the fact that South Carolina ranks in the top-third of reported AIDS cases. The cuts were ultimately included in the state’s budget, impacting more than 2,000 HIV-positive South Carolinians who needed help paying for their medication.
Wow, that's quite a list. He and Senator Ron Johnson should feel right at home together. Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Scott. I'm sure Senator DeMint will not be missed one bit.