Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is stepping down from his Senate seat to run the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing…uh…”think” tank.
The move caught many off guard. DeMint has become a Tea Party darling, one of the leaders of the right-wing fringe in America. During his time in office, he’s built up quite the history of advocacy for pretty much every bad idea to come out of the Republican Party over the last decade. Here’s a quick look at the top five moments of ridiculousness from the soon-to-be-former senator.
5. Jim DeMint Quits the Senate
The fifth–most-Jim DeMint moment is the most recent one. DeMint has established himself as a leader of the right wing in the Senate, and frighteningly, in the nation. Why would he give that up to run the Heritage Foundation, a soi-disant think tank that has a well-earned reputation for absolute hackery?
Yes, DeMint’s seat will probably be pretty safe for the GOP. Nobody seriously expects the Democrats to take it, although that could change if disgraced former governor Mark Sanford returns from the Appalachian Trail to make a run. And the Heritage post does allow DeMint to take even less-nuanced, more-ridiculous positions, like advocating that Republicans oust House Speaker John Boehner.
Still, the difference between the power of a U.S. Senator is significantly greater than that of the head of a joke of an advocacy group. The decision only makes sense from a financial standpoint; DeMint will certainly earn more throwing brickbats than receiving them. And if the Republican Party stands for anything, it’s maximizing one’s own bottom line, the good of the country be damned.
4. Jim DeMint Tries To Bar Gay and/or Unmarried Teachers from Teaching
What is the biggest threat to our nation’s education system? If you believe Beltway received wisdom, it’s teacher’s unions. If you’re a bit more honest, it’s a combination of intractable poverty and a lack of adequate programs to alleviate it. If you’re Jim DeMint, it’s gay and/or unmarried, sexually-active women.
In 2010, speaking at a rally at a church in Spartanburg, S.C., DeMint said that open homosexuals should not be teaching, nor should women who were unmarried, yet sleeping with their boyfriends. He had taken that position before, in 2004, during his first run for the Senate, but backed down after a firestorm of criticism. In 2010, he basically said that he was wrong to have apologized in the fist place.
He said that back in 2004, “no one came to my defense, but everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”
This makes sense, because nothing says freedom of religion like barring people from teaching for violating moral codes held by some, but not all, religions.
Not to worry, though. DeMint believes that it should be up to local school boards to bar gay and/or slutty teachers from the classroom. It isn’t discrimination if it’s only confined to some jobs, right?
3. Jim DeMint Tries to Outlaw Talking About Abortion on the Internet
Imagine you’re pregnant. You don’t want to be a parent, so you decide that you’ll get an abortion. You’re busy, so you dash off an email to the local Planned Parenthood Abortionplex to find out what you need to bring with to the appointment, how many extra appointments your state requires you to have, and whether you’ll have to endure a transvaginal ultrasound. (Spoiler alert: if you live in Texas, you probably will.)
Congratulations! In Jim DeMint’s America, you just committed a crime.
In 2011, DeMint authored an amendment that would have barred women from discussing abortion with their doctor via the internet or videoconferencing, even if that was the best way for them to receive care, even if their health was at risk. DeMint tried to attach the amendment to a bill related to agriculture, housing and transportation, because that made sense, I guess.
Needless to say, the amendment didn’t go anywhere, primarily because Democrats controlled the Senate; given that the House was busy passing bills codifying just how violent a rape had to be to count, had Republicans controlled the Senate it well could have passed.
Remember, folks, DeMint is all about freedom. Unless you’re a woman. Or poor. Or disabled. Or he just doesn’t like you. But if you’re a rich white guy — freedom!
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore
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