Search Blog Posts

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sen. James DeMint, (R-SC): Nincompoop, Waffler & Police Statist

Vote Republican

Recently by Laurence M. Vance: A Day of Dishonor
Review of Jim DeMint, Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse (Center Street, 2012), xxix + 271 pgs., hardcover, $24.99.

Drug warrior, warmonger, and police statist Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) recently did an interview about his new book Now or Never in which he said: "A lot of the libertarian ideas that Ron Paul is talking about…should not be alien to any Republican." Okay, Jim, so why are they alien to you? They are obviously so alien to DeMint that he couldn’t endorse Ron Paul in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary. He didn’t endorse Ron Paul in 2008 either – he endorsed Mitt Romney. 

Although DeMint’s newest book (he has written two others) extols the glories of – believe it or not – individual liberty, decentralization, and limited government, in the end his prescription is the same as that of John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Fox News, and the head of the RNC: vote Republican. 

Now or Never contains ten chapters, the first nine with introductions by notable conservatives: Senator Pat Toomey, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Mike Lee, Representative Steve King, Senator Tom Coburn, political pundit Jack Hunter, political consultant Frank Luntz, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and grass-roots activist Dave Zupan. Each chapter except the last is divided into sections and concludes with a "share the truth" section that summarizes the chapter in bullet points. 

The book contains a foreword by Senator Rand Paul as well as acknowledgments, an introduction, endnotes, and closing sections on "for additional study" and "about the contributors." There is a blurb on the front cover by conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. There is no index.

After receiving his MBA from Clemson and working in business for a number of years, DeMint was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 (not 1994 as his book’s dust jacket states). 

After three terms in the House, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and reelected in 2010. He is known as one of the most conservative members of the Senate. But this was not always the case. And this is not necessarily a good thing anyway. And, of course, how hard is it to be to the right of most of the socialists, statists, and charlatans – of both parties – in the Senate?

DeMint vs. the Constitution

One quick way to judge a congressman’s constitutionalism, which does not necessarily mean his conservatism, is the "The Freedom Index," published about every six months by The New American magazine. This index, which was once called "The Conservative Index," rates Congressman "based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements." The higher the number, the stronger is a congressman’s commitment to these constitutional principles. Since DeMint speaks highly of the Constitution in his new book, I think a look at his scores on "The Freedom Index" is in order before going on to his book.

DeMint has been a member of three Congresses as a House member and four Congresses as a Senate member. 

In the House, DeMint’s first Congress was the 106th Congress of 1999-2001, where he scored a 65. His second was the 107th Congress of 2001-2003, where he scored a 61. His third was the 108th Congress of 2003-2005, where he scored a 46. Contrast DeMint’s scores with congressman Ron Paul, who scored a 95, 91, and 100. 

In the Senate, DeMint’s first Congress was the 109th Congress of 2005-2007, where he scored a 50. 

His second was the 110th Congress of 2007-2009, where he scored a 79. His third was the 111th Congress of 2009-2011, where he scored a 98. His fourth and current Congress is the 112th Congress, where his score is currently an 80. DeMint’s fellow senator, Lindsey Graham, scored a 48, 53, 87, and 70. Contrast DeMint’s scores with congressman Ron Paul’s perfect 100 scores in each of these four Congresses.

So, it is only recently that DeMint has acted like a real conservative. His scores went down when Bush was elected president and the Republicans controlled the Congress. His scores started to go up when the Democrats took over the Congress. And his scores went up even more when Obama was elected president.

Obviously, DeMint is no Ron Paul, although he is a wannabe. Claims DeMint on page 213 of Now or Never: "I have been called "Senator No" because there are very few bills that come through Congress that actually deserve a yes vote."

Although DeMint is to be commended for voting against the Republican health care plan back in 2003, there are some rotten bills that have come through Congress that he thought deserved a yes vote. DeMint has voted for the Peace Corps, food stamps, agricultural subsidies, WIC, rental assistance, gun control, the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the After-School Snack Program, and the National Science Foundation. He also voted regularly to fund the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, and to create the Department of Homeland Security. And Senator DeMint claims to believe in the Constitution and limited government?

First, the Positive

In Now or Never, DeMint recognizes America’s impending economic collapse. The national debt "now exceeds the size of our total economy." The federal government has "approximately $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities." The government is borrowing 43 cents for every dollar spent, "with no way to pay it back."

DeMint also recognizes that congressional spending is out of control:
Federal politicians and bureaucrats continue to spend more than we bring in every year.
Gross fiscal irresponsibility has become the new norm.
Washington politicians continue to invent new ways to spend money.
He blames both Democrats and Republicans for their fiscal irresponsibility. Not only do "President Obama and congressional Democrats seem to wake up every morning with new ideas for more government programs and new regulations to restrict freedom," but there are also "many reckless spenders in the Republican Party." Finish reading