The article is subscription-only, but the gist is that Republican leaders who've been accustomed to eating their pork from the public trough are none too happy about the earmark reform process or the attention DeMint and others are getting while fighting for it.
Publicly, many Senate Republicans applauded DeMint’s courage to take on the normally decorous chamber and for sticking up for conservative principles at a time when the party is struggling to regain its footing. But several Senators and high-level aides also privately noted that DeMint needs to be careful not to go too far, with several saying he runs the risk of being marginalized as he carves out a reputation of a flame-throwing, first-term Senator who casts aside legislating altogether.
“You have to always be careful around here not to overplay your hand,” Lott warned last week.
Although disagreements between the two date back to DeMint’s opposition to a Lott proposal to move train tracks in his state following Hurricane Katrina, the two have had an ugly split in recent weeks over DeMint’s role as Republican Steering Committee chairman. According to GOP aides, Lott yanked his annual $7,500 contribution to the committee’s funding after DeMint aides criticized his efforts to push through the failed immigration reform bill. Lott’s move to pull the funds was first reported in Congressional Quarterly.
“At some point [DeMint is] going to have to learn he can’t always throw missiles,” said one senior Republican aide. “He’s going to have to work on diplomacy. But so far he’s been rewarded for his behavior and has yet to pay a price for it.”