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In a rather surprising move, the Heritage Foundation, long known as a bastion of social- and neoconservative thought, will appoint Republican South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint as its new president in January.

DeMint, who will leave his senate seat, will replace the retiring Ed Feulner, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite being a traditional conservative, DeMint has urged Republican colleagues to take Ron Paul and libertarian ideas more seriously during Paul's most recent presidential campaign.

Last January DeMint told radio host Laura Ingraham, "One of the things that's hurt the so-called conservative alternative is saying negative things about Ron Paul ... I'd like to see a Republican Party that embraces a lot of the libertarian ideas ... You don't have to agree with everything he's saying, but if the other candidates miss some of the wisdom about what he's saying about monetary policy ... that will be to our detriment."

DeMint has also expressed some sympathies with Congressman Paul's libertarian foreign policy ideas. A few days after the Ingraham interview, DeMint told Judge Andrew Napolitano, "If we spread ourselves too thin around the world we're not going to be able to defend the homeland ... It's foolish for us to think that we can have military bases all over the world, spend billions of dollars when we are going broke back home ... The best way to defend our country is to move toward a balanced budget, concentrate our defense capabilities back here at home, and make sure we can defend our interests around the world, but we are not in a position to do what we've been doing the last several decades."

This is a major departure from Heritage's tradition position on foreign policy, which has been decidedly more hawkish, even insisting that defense spending never fall below 4% of GDP.

DeMint has said he plans to use his new position as a means of popularizing conservative ideas with the public in the wake of the recent disappointing election results. "This is an urgent time," the senator said, "because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections."

Check out his interview with ReasonTV.