'Waterloo' backfires

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The Democrats’ plan to rile up their liberal donors by making an enemy out of GOP Sen. Jim DeMint isn’t working so well.

Mr. DeMint, and his Republican allies, are enjoying it too much.

After Mr. DeMint, of South Carolina, told conservative activists if they defeated President Obama’s health care bill it would be his “Waterloo” and would “break him” Democratic operatives eagerly emailed fundraising solicitations, telling their supporters they needed more money to stop DeMint’s brand of partisan politics. The DNC, Organizing for America, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and MoveOn.org all tried to maximize the talking point in their own separate pitches.

The President wouldn’t mention Mr. DeMint by name, but everyone knew who he was talking about when he brought up the “Waterloo” remark in a primetime press conference Wednesday to pressure Congress to get hurry up and write a bill before August recess. That was a day before Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that wasn’t going to happen—which means health care went down only days after “Waterloo” was spoken.

The real problem with “Waterloo” for Democrats is it seems to rile up the conservative base more that the progressive one. GOP-ers have been looking for some kind of leadership in Washington and the Democrats are helpfully crediting Jim DeMint for delaying an unwanted health care plan.

Mr. DeMint hasn’t walked back his comments in spite of the barrage of liberal mailers. Today, he thinks he’s scored another victory against the Democrats to boot.

Mr. DeMint’s lawyer, Cleta Mitchell, has convinced a South Carolina media provider to quit airing an DNC ad on television because it’s too misleading.

The ad in question repeats the “Waterloo” comments and ends with a voice over that says: “The only health care plan Jim DeMint supports is no plan at all.”

Ms. Mitchell argued, in part, that contrary to the DNC’s claim Mr. DeMint has “no plan” the senator has introduced into the Senate, called the Health Care Freedom Plan.

It appears to have worked, although the DNC says they are making their own case to the media company and may consider revising the ad.

But for now, the GOP is happy for the win. Mr. DeMint’s campaign issued a press release on the matter Friday evening, followed shortly thereafter by another one from the National Republican Senatorial Committee claiming victory.

“In their rush to attack Senator DeMint and score cheap political points, they didn’t care about telling the truth,” said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. “Now that this attack ad has been rightfully pulled off the air, President Obama should lead by example and call on his political operation to stop their partisan political attacks. If he does not, it’s hard to view his call for bipartisan health care reform as anything other than hollow rhetoric.” 

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About the Author
Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter writes the daily "Hot Button" column for The Washington Times. She was formerly a national political reporter for Townhall.com, the leading online publication for news, opinion and talk. Prior to that, she was a reporter for Human Events. Ms. Carpenter has made numerous media appearances that include segments on the Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC and other ...

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