Tea Party Darling Tim Scott Becomes South Carolina's First Black Senator


South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will announce that she will appoint Tea Party darling Congressman Tim Scott as a replacement for outgoing Senator Jim DeMint, according to unnamed GOP sources speaking to CNN Monday.

Gov. Haley is expected to make the announcement at noon on Monday. If appointed, Scott would become the Senate’s only black member and only the GOP’s second black senator since Reconstruction.

Outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint, also a Tea Party favorite, is resigning to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation by the end of the year. Scott will take up his senatorial position until a special election is conducted in November 2014, whereupon the rest of DeMint’s term will be served by the victor.

A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found that Scott was the second most popular choice to replace DeMint, trailing comedian Stephen Colbert 20% to 15%. With Colbert obviously out of the running, whether or not Scott is an effective senator will factor heavily into whether Haley’s plummeting poll numbers will reverse themselves. Haley currently has a 49% disapproval rating among South Carolinians.

Scott, however, has some views that might even make DeMint and Haley blush. A hard-right conservative elected during the 2010 Tea Party ascension, Scott has made national headlines for his revulsion to Obamacare, anti-union stance, and strong opposition to illegal immigration. Review Scott’s record:

Scott believes Obamacare should be repealed. His web site states “… a government takeover of our health care structure is not what we had in mind. Government bureaucrats making health care decisions for our lives.”

Scott believes that striking workers should lose access to food stamps. In 2011, he proposed a provision which would make the families of workers on strike ineligible to receive food stamps or receive increased benefits as a result of their reduced income, except for pre-existing benefits. The measure appears to amount to collective punishment of the families of union workers and strikers.

Scott suggested President Obama should be impeached. In 2011 during the debt ceiling debate, the president answered a question about invoking the Fourteenth Amendment, which states the U.S. public debt “shall not be questioned,” by stating “I don’t think we should even get to the constitutional issue.” Scott claimed that the president was “looking to usurp congressional oversight” and said that “my position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective.”

Deficit hawk Scott nonetheless voted to give $53 billion in giveaways to Big Oil, despite record profits. Congressional Republicans in February 2011 voted down an amendment which would have recovered funds from drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico which have been allowed to operate royalty-free.

Scott supports a federal version of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration law which allowed officers to arrest anyone they suspected of being an illegal immigrant. S.B. 1070 is the subject of an ACLU lawsuit. Three of its 4 key provisions were declared unconstitutional.

Scott supports the Defense of Marriage Act and voted for a bill forbidding the president to instruct the Department of Justice to stop defending the act. His campaign web site states “allowing the government to weaken the definition of marriage takes away from our children and we must not allow that to happen.”

As a Charlestown city councilman, Scott defended spending taxpayer money on a display of the Ten Commandments that he hung in a public office. “I’ve always said and remain in this position: Whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal (of displaying the Commandments) is worth it,” Scott said.

Scott backed a measure to eliminate South Carolina’s entire anti-HIV/AIDS budget, despite South Carolina ranking 17th highest among states in AIDS cases. Participants in the program were disproportionately black, and many of the patients are gay or bisexual.

South Carolinians, however, like Tim Scott. Columnist John Avlon described him as “DeMint’s first choice,” and a “true believer” who “admirably opposes identity politics, refusing to join the congressional black caucus.” A mere 13% of South Carolina voters rate Scott unfavorably, opposed to 47% in support.