Senator Jim DeMint was not one of the major political players whose every move we watched this weekend, but he was the animator of much of the high stakes drama over raising the debt ceiling and cutting the national debt. DeMint has been the driver of the 'never give up, never surrender' drum beat of the largely freshman class of Tea Party conservatives in both the Senate and the House. DeMint provided muscle and counsel to Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his posturing during this debate.
House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama and Vice President Biden have essentially been negotiating with the DeMint camp through proxies -- making DeMint, for the moment anyway, the most powerful, albeit behind the scenes, political figure in the country next to the President.
Details of the so-called "debt deal" are still emerging, but as line item wins and losses are tallied, the President won almost nothing of significance and the GOP won the day on substantive deliverables. (Major Garrett on wins and losses.)
According to the Associated Press' David Espo, the President won time in not having another debt standoff until after the 2012 election. The White House also said the Department of Defense could face cuts -- which it was facing anyway -- and while this is a loss for Team DeMint, it gets to paint Obama as an anti-Pentagon national security weakling vs. the more muscular right.