Senator Jim DeMint: How do you sleep at night? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Senator Jim DeMint: How do you sleep at night?

Here we are, the United States of America, the shining city on the hill, as Ronald Reagan called it … well, John F. Kennedy said it before him in 1961 … and John Winthrop said it before JFK, in 1630 on the good ship Arbella … and he lifted it from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ’s most misquoted Biblical soliloquy. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, i.e., it becomes a leader by its shining example.

That’s us: the city on the hill, the bacon of hope … err … a beacon of hope. If you’re Jewish or Muslim you probably don’t hope to have some bacon; and of course vegetarians of various stripes, but the rest of us, we might hope to have some bacon on that burger, or maybe a delicious BLT at the local diner … And that dog in the commercial zipping around the house barking, “bacon, bacon, bacon!” Ah, hope springs eternal, especially in the city on the hill. Make us a beacon of bacon!

Of course that might be scandalous talk for some on the Right, downright blasphemy even, misusing something Jesus said, but what do I care? This is America and we can hope to be a beacon of whatever our little, selfish hearts desire.

Read the sermon. It will do you some good.

If you’re a good Christian you know Matthew 5-6 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. If you’re a not-so-good Christian you probably have no idea what the Sermon on the Mount is all about.

And that’s thing about America and its much ballyhooed freedom: we are free to be as ignorant as we choose, to elect political leaders who reflect that ignorance and in the case of some, spit on the very idea of education, especially higher education. In some quarters of our nation, some people even celebrate their freedom to be ignorant and raise their children to carry on that ignorance in perpetuity.

So, if you’re a not-so-good Christian who mostly just checks the box on the census form because you don’t really know what else to check, it doesn’t really matter to you what the Sermon on the Mount is all about. All you need to know is some alleged religious and/or political leader mentions it so it must be important.

Some of it is important, like the instruction in the Divine Mercies to comfort the afflicted. You don’t need to be a Christian to understand that: the afflicted being the sick and those with disabilities.

Here we are, the Shining City on the Hill, a country that made comforting the afflicted the law of the land 22 years ago. We showed the way for the rest of the world. About 15 years later the United Nations started a treaty that made our law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the basis for the U.N. treaty. It is such a good treaty our own president, George W. Bush, signed it. All it needed was ratification in the U.S. Senate. Gotta be a slam-dunk! A Republican president signed it, a vast majority of Democrats support it and by golly, what right-minded Republican would be against it?

Not even Bob Dole could save the day.

On Wednesday the Senate finally got around to bringing the ratification of the treaty to a vote. To do so the Senate needed two thirds voting “Yea.” To celebrate and help cheer all the Senate on, Bob Dole, the former Republican Senator from Kansas and former presidential candidate. Dole was brought into the Senate chambers in a wheelchair by his wife, former Senator Elizabeth Dole. Slam-dunk ratification, you’d think.

As dumb luck — DUMB luck — would have it, 38 Republicans voted against ratifying the treaty, thereby preventing ratification. Why? Because, according to these Republicans, led by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, this treaty would allow the U.N. to dictate to individual families just what constitutes a disability and it would end home schooling. By golly, if that happens you know it won’t be long before the U.N. is sending in jack-booted thugs in black helicopters to enforce the new world order on America. Signing that treaty would be an attack on our freedoms and be the end of our sovereignty. Seriously.

The Republican Party, which just lost on all fronts federally, when it came to showing some kind of Christ-like behavior, and we know every Republican in the U.S. Senate claims to be a Christian of one sort or another, when it came time to stand up and comfort the afflicted … 81 percent of the Senate Republican caucus looked at Senator Bob Dole in his wheelchair and said, in a loud, clear voice: “F- YOU, OLD MAN!”

Very Christ-like. As Jon Stewart put it: these Republicans proved they hate the U.N. more than they care about people in wheelchairs.

Every time Akin speaks the world gets a little more stupid.

One of the leaders of this national embarrassment was of course the good senator from South Carolina: Jim DeMint. You may know him as one of the first national legislators to stand up for Congressman Todd Akin when the Missouri Republican informed the nation pregnancy from “legitimate rape” was infrequent because a woman’s body automatically stops it. Or as the Congressman put it, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

It just shuts that whole thing down! Senator Jim DeMint got behind that. He’s also the senator that proposed a bill that would have banned people from talking about abortion, “…via satellite, video-conferencing, and the internet.” That means no talk of abortion on television or radio, no conference calls where video might be used and of course the World Wide Web.

He also said people who are openly gay should not be allowed to be teachers and he extended that proposed ban to single women who are actively having sex before marriage. Apparently men having sex outside of marriage is okay with him. He’s the guy who said defeating Obamacare would be President Obama’s waterloo,

Senator DeMint actively promoted Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donnell for the Senate, which helped her win the Republican primary for the Delaware Senate seat vacated by Vice President Biden … which was pretty close to being a sure thing for the Republicans … until O’Donnell beat the less extreme Mike Castle in the primary, thereby insuring the seat would once again go to a Democrat, Chris Coons.

DeMint is drinking too much crazy tea.

In fact, many Republicans, in and out of government, blame DeMint for the GOP remaining the minority party in the Senate and for losing seats in the House of Representatives. As far as DeMint is concerned, many of his GOP brethren just aren’t conservative enough and he was always at the forefront against any compromise with President Obama and the Democrats.

Jim DeMint led the charge to block the raising of the debt limit, the first time in our nation’s history we defaulted on our debts. And DeMint is proud of that “accomplishment.”

For the Teabaggers and the rest of the extreme fringe of the GOP, Senator Jim DeMint was their man in government. If you’re a crazy, conspiracy-laden right winger, Jim DeMint was your standard bearer, the most prominent backer of everything and anything considered fringe and crazy on the Right.

That’s about to change. Thursday Morning DeMint announced he would be retiring from the U.S. Senate to become the top dog at the extremely conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. They are about to become far more extreme with DeMint as their president and it will completely remove the façade that the Heritage Foundation is actually a think tank and not a group of Right Wing Nuts trying to influence public policy.

It’s DeMint’s dream job, according to the Senator. He gets to be the head honcho at Heritage and will no longer be required to kowtow to insufficiently conservative Republicans who wanted him to just sit down and shut up.

This has to burn up more reasonable Republicans: thanks to DeMint Senator Harry Reid of Nevada is not only the Majority Leader in the Senate, he’s still a senator. DeMint backed Reid’s Republican opponent, Sharron Angle.

In a Fox interview, Sharron Angle actually said, “We needed to have the press be our friend … We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported.”

You remember Sharron; she said, “… if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.”

Yep, Jim DeMint got behind that, helping her win Nevada’s primary, insuring Harry Reid would remain Nevada’s senior senator. And Reid’s approval ratings were hovering at 40 percent — at best.

What this really signals though is that the Teabaggers are losing influence in Washington. They might still have some sway in the states, but four prominent Teabagger congressman were voted out of office in November and four more were removed from leadership positions. The GOP sees where the Tea Party has got them, at least in national politics and well, they just don’t do well in the swamp.

The Tea Party is still alive and kicking though, it hasn’t completely faded from the scene. So it would be a good bet the Republicans will lose even more ground in Congress come 2014. Hell they only need Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell to embarrass the Senate GOP Caucus.

On Thursday McConnell proposed a bill that would give the president the power to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. Senate majority Leader Reid immediately brought the proposal to the Senate floor for a vote, one that needed only 51 votes to pass. Immediately after that McConnell registered an objection, in effect filibustering his own bill. And this all took place in about two minutes time. It happened so quickly in fact, the presiding officer of the Senate at the time, Claire McCaskill of Missouri (She thanks you Todd Akin), was whipped back in her chair.

Mitch McConnell made Senate history by being the first person to propose legislation and then filibuster it.

How crazy is that?

We will miss Jim DeMint in the Senate, but there are other crazy Teabaggers in the Senate who will no doubt be more than happy to pick up the slack — like the other 37 Republicans who voted against ratifying the U.N. treaty promoting rights for the disabled. Christians one and all.



About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.

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