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Hullabaloo


Thursday, December 06, 2012

 
Cold DeMint tea

by digby

Not only is Jim DeMint quitting the Senate excellent news for our government, the fact that he's going to run the Heritage Foundation means that no one can ever again argue that its even slightly mainstream.Think Progress has tracked him closely during his years in the Senate and offers the bill of indictment:

1. Stood with Akin after “legitimate rape” remarks. Following Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) infamous statement that victims of “legitimate rape” can’t become pregnant, DeMint was one of the first major conservatives to stand with the Missouri congressman. DeMint even used his political action committee to donate $90,000 to Akin’s campaign and used its network to raise hundreds of thousands more. “We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us,” DeMint’s group said.
2. Led the opposition against Obamacare. In 2009, during the height of the GOP’s opposition to health care reform, DeMint told a conference call of conservative activists that, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” Ironically, DeMint once supported Mitt Romney’s health care reform in Massachusetts, the law on which Obamacare is based.
3. Wants to prevent gay or unmarried teachers from teaching in public schools. In 2010, DeMint “said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.” During his first Senate campaign in 2004, DeMint agreed with the state party’s platform barring gay teachers from public schools, claiming that the government shouldn’t endorse certain behaviors.
4. Pushed a bill outlawing the discussion of abortion over the Internet. Last year, DeMint proposed an amendment to an unrelated bill that would have barred a woman and her doctor from discussing abortion over the internet, even if her health was at risk and tele-conferencing was the most feasible option to receive care.
5. Wants to strip all federal employees of collective bargaining rights. Though most federal employees don’t enjoy the rights and benefits of unionization, DeMint wants to take away even the few bargaining rights they currently enjoy. “I don’t believe collective bargaining has any place in government,” DeMint told ThinkProgress last year.
6. Blocked creation of the National Women’s History Museum. Along with fellow arch-conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), DeMint placed a hold on a 2010 bill to sell land near the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC in order to create the National Women’s History Museum. Coburn justified their move to block the museum by noting that there already exist museums for “quilters” and “cowgirls”.
7. Likened striking Chicago teachers to “thugs” in the Middle East. Speaking at the Values Voters Summit in September 2012, DeMint blasted Chicago teachers who were on strike for a brief period earlier this year. “On my way over, I was reading another story about a distant place where thugs had put 400,000 children out in the streets,” DeMint said. “And then I realized that was a story about the Chicago teachers strike.”
8. Threatened to single-handedly shut down the Senate. In September 2010, DeMint warned his colleagues that he would place a unilateral hold on every single piece of legislation in the Senate, bringing the entire lawmaking process to a grinding halt. Despite being in the minority, DeMint threatened to only allow bills to proceed that his office had personally approved.
9. Used a failed terrorist plot to attack unions. Following the failed “underwear bomber” plot in December 2009, DeMint went on Fox News and used the episode as an opportunity to bash unions. “I am concerned, because it’s related to another issue that we’re dealing with now in the Senate,” DeMint said. “The administration is intent on unionizing and submitting our airport security to union bosses’ collective bargaining.”
10. Argued that people with pre-existing conditions got better care before Obamacare. Speaking with ThinkProgress at a Tea Party rally this year, DeMint argued that Obamacare actually hurt people with pre-existing conditions, despite that fact that it bars insurance companies from denying them care. “I can guarantee you people with pre-exisitng conditions are going to get less health care—lower quality health care—under Obamacare,” DeMint said.
11. “Willing” to cause “serious disruptions” in the economy in order to secure draconian cuts. During last year’s debt ceiling showdown, DeMint appeared on Fox Business and said that, despite the fact that not raising the debt ceiling would cause “serious disruptions,” he was “willing to do that” in order to get major cuts to social programs like Medicare and Social Security.

DeMint was the Tea Party Senator and his quitting to make big bucks to lead the lunatic fringe(don't they all?)really does signal to me a waning of the Tea Party brand. (Not the far right, of course, they always exist.)

My favorite DeMint interview was this one, which defined the Tea Party movement properly:

David Brody: Are you concerned at all that some of the social conservative issues, abortion and same sex marriage, some of these other issues because they are taking somewhat of a back seat right now at least to the fiscal issues that there are some inherent problems for social conservatives in something like that?

Senator Jim DeMint: No actually just the opposite because I really think a lot of the motivation behind these Tea Party crowds is a spiritual component. I think it's very akin to the Great Awakening before the American Revolution. A lot of our founders believed the American Revolution was won before we ever got into a fight with the British. It was a spiritual renewal.

Senator Jim DeMint: I'm 'praying for you' comes up more than anything else in these crowds so I know there's a spiritual component out there.

Senator Jim DeMint: I think as this thing (the Tea Party movement) continues to roll you're going to see a parallel spiritual revival that goes along with it.

David Brody: Just so I understand, when you say spiritual revival how are you terming that? What do you mean specifically as in "spiritual revival?

Senator Jim DeMint: Well, I think people are seeing this massive government growing and they're realizing that it's the government that's hurting us and I think they're turning back to God in effect is our salvation and government is not our salvation and in fact more and more people see government as the problem and so I think some have been drawn in over the years to a dependency relationship with government and as the Bible says you can't have two masters and I think as people pull back from that they look more to God. It's no coincidence that socialist Europe is post-Christian because the bigger the government gets the smaller God gets and vice-versa. The bigger God gets the smaller people want their government because they're yearning for freedom.
Same old, same old.

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