Have Sanford and Palin opened the door for Jim DeMint?

Just three weeks ago a general observer of Republican politics would have guessed Mark Sanford to be the most likely fiscal conservative candidate from South Carolina to land the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.  Three days ago, the same observer would probably have named Sarah Palin as the social conservative who has the best shot at the job. Three years from now the best choice for both will be SC Senator Jim DeMint.

Until the Sanford implosion, DeMint would have been reluctant to elbow into the palmetto state parade led by his fellow South Carolinian hailed as the only governor to fight Obama to the finish on the stimulus money.  If not for Palin’s bizarre choice to end her only chance to accumulate legitimate executive experience, she would have remained the favorite of the pro-lifers and churched.  Now DeMint can squeeze through the door they’ve left ajar just in time to launch his new book, “Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide into Socialism.”

He’s the most fiscal conservative member of the US Senate. And while his wit and wisdom are expressed in the manner of gentle kitten, his courage is that of a lion.  Few national politicians have the nerve to discuss certain polemic issues publicly, let alone write about them as he did in his book “Why We Whisper: Restoring our Right to Say It’s Wrong.”

He may not have the name recognition, money or television exposure to duel with the likes of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee right now, but the foolish ways of Sanford and Palin crack the door just enough for him to have the chance to eventually get there.