The right choice

Tim Scott is a fitting successor for departing Sen. Jim DeMint

Gov. Nikki Haley didn’t just make a historic choice in appointing Rep. Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate.

She made the right one.

You want to talk historic? As the Washington Post noted, Scott – who will replace the retiring Sen. Jim DeMint as senator from South Carolina – will be “the only African-American currently serving in the Senate and the first black Republican to serve in the upper chamber since the 1970s. He will also be the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.”

But beyond that, it’s good for South Carolina and the nation, as Scott is a rock-ribbed fiscal conservative in the fashion of DeMint himself. Now, more than ever in our history, we need fiscal conservatives to come to the fore and save the nation from the government’s runaway spending train.

It’s also good for the Republican Party, which desperately needs to diversify its ranks, particularly in the upper ranges of party leadership. The party of fiscal conservatism has an increasing number of exciting young, racially diverse talent coming on board, from Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida to Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, to Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and more.

The news media would have you believe otherwise, in order to portray Republicans – and conservatism in general – in only white male terms. That may help get Democrats elected, but it doesn’t help minorities; no one should try to make the lofty ideas of conservatism – including individual liberty, limited government, self-reliance and responsibility – off limits to anyone based on race or ethnicity.

Yet, they try to do that. A black sports commentator recently charged that popular and successful rookie NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III isn’t “one of us,” apparently because he harbors conservative notions and doesn’t run plays from the liberal playbook.

Leaders such as Tim Scott have it within themselves to liberate blacks and other minorities from that kind of lockstep liberal dogma, and introduce them to conservative thinking with an African-American face.

But the truth is, Tim Scott has the potential to be a crucial voice for everyone who believes in the principles this nation was founded on.

A graduate in political science from Charleston Southern University, Scott ran an insurance agency and part-owned a real-estate company and served on the Charleston County Council and in the state legislature before going to Congress in 2010.

“Governor Haley has made a great choice for South Carolina and the nation,” Sen. DeMint said in a written statement. “Tim Scott is a principled leader and will make an outstanding senator for the people of South Carolina and an important voice for conservatives across the nation.”

Moreover, we’re convinced Gov. Haley didn’t choose Scott for any other reason than he’s the best person for the job at this particular moment. She said as much.

“It is important to me, as a minority female, that Rep. Scott earned this seat,” Haley said in making the appointment Monday. “He earned this seat for the person that he is.”

We wish we weren’t losing the good services of Jim DeMint, a public servant in the truest sense. But he’s leaving the Senate to head the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, a terrific use of his talent and passion.

Moreover, Gov. Haley has made certain that the torch will be passed – and that conservatism in the U.S. Senate will have a new young standardbearer.

S.C. Congressman Tim Scott to replace Sen. Jim DeMint

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