Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) rejects idea that “government has to do something”

If the Tea-Party-led Republicans take over one or both houses of Congress this November, we won’t just see the end of any possible action on climate change or clean energy.  They may well force a government shutdown, which will close our national parks, prevent food from being inspected, and stop any government oversight of coal mines or offshore drilling “” or clean air and clean water, for that matter.  Think Progress has two video interviews with the Senate’s leading government basher.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) sealed his status as the right’s standard-bearer when he brought the Senate to a virtual halt this week by threatening to hold all legislation unless it had been preapproved by his office.  Though DeMint insisted that this unprecedented move was simply an effort to allow his office to read and consider pending legislation, the senator made his true intentions clear on the “Focal Point” radio program — preventing the government from functioning. 

Speaking with host Bryan Fischer, DeMint argued that “this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea.” He then went on to insist that “the less we do, the better”:

FISCHER: Do you think some kind of gridlock is possible and what do you think will happen if that ensues?

DEMINT: Well I had a group of businessmen tell me the other day “if you can just stop the tax increases on us and then have two years of gridlock, that would be the best thing that could happen for business because at least we would know what to expect.” Right now they don’t know what the government is going to do to them next. So this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea. So I think the less we do, the better except maybe to dismantle some of the federal programs that are making it harder for America to be competitive.

Watch here:

In a recent interview, DeMint said, “I’ve been told by businesses that if we would stop the tax increases the best thing that could happen for business after that is complete gridlock.” DeMint’s comments echo similar statements from Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Steve King (R-IA), who have called for a government shutdown beginning next year.

ThinkProgress also caught up with DeMint this week to ask him about Republican obstructionism in the Senate. He conceded that although “over 90% of the bills” in the Senate receive unanimous agreement, we still ought to stop passing legislation:

DEMINT: The problem is not secret holds, it’s secretly passing bills without reading them, without debating them, and without voting on them. Over 90% of the bills that come through the Senate are never voted on, never debated, they pass by unanimous consent. I’ve never heard one person across America want more bills to pass more quickly.

Watch it:

The idea that Americans benefit when government reneges its responsibilities is a total fantasy, one that America has learned all too well in the past.

— A cross-post from Think Progress (HT: Right Wing Watch)

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12 Responses to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) rejects idea that “government has to do something”

  1. Bill W says:

    I have some conservative friends who agree completely that the less Congress does, the better.

    There have been times when I’ve agreed with that stance, but now, with all the problems facing us, is not one of those times.

  2. Peter M says:

    Not to trash South Carolina

    but the state elects a man like DeMint- South Carolina ranks near the bottom of all states for; Quality of Life; Education; Environment; health care-

    it makes me wonder why some Americans vote against their own interests to maintain a Plantation Style Ideology, where they are hurt.

  3. BBHY says:

    Doing nothing is not what they are planning at all. Yes, they plan to block legislation, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be active.

    You can count on the Tea-publicans to investigate absolutely everything about Obama. Remember, last time they spent two years and $60 million investigating Clinton’s holiday card list! (No, I’m not making that up)

    And they loved Clinton compared to how they feel about Obama. Don’t be surprised if they start impeachment hearings the day they’re sworn in. They don’t need a reason, they’ll just do it.

    Why does it seem like Tea-publicans see politics as a knife fight while the Democrats are playing Badminton?

  4. So, my friends, this is your tax dollars at work! (Or non-work.)

    A senator is telling you that he wants to get paid for Doing Nothing.

    While complaining about brown people ‘stealing’ ‘our’ jobs.



  5. mike roddy says:

    I once had a father in law who was a psychiatric social worker. He told me the story of one of his patients, who was not quite institutionalized but whose language was reduced to one sentence, endlessly repeated: “Too much gubment”.

    This man was a perfect illustration of our situation, and was way ahead of his time.

  6. Chris Winter says:

    Senator DeMint: “So I think the less we do, the better except maybe to dismantle some of the federal programs that are making it harder for America to be competitive.”

    But, based on recent performance, the federal programs they’ll choose to dismantle will be the ones that objectively do help America and Americans in general be more competitive.

  7. Espiritwater says:

    A little off the subject, but–


    With much of the rest of the world reeling from coasts being submerged
    under water or decimated from droughts, famines or volcanic eruptions,
    Canada emerged as a rather idyllic sanctuary. Her once frigid climate
    had turned pleasantly cool and agriculture much more productive. Even
    people in the lower 48 states had become peaceful and quiet once they
    reconcilled to the fact that Canada’s borders were firmly closed and
    desparate refugees could no longer migrate up north.

    Much of the human population, of course, was culled during coastal
    inundations. Approximately 2/3 of the U.S. population had lived along
    the coasts (and more than a billion, world-wide) and most could not
    escape before the tsunamis struck. There were no CNN news anchormen to
    warn of impending chaos, no special broadcasts over FM radio. Nothing.
    No warning at all before the ice sheets of Antarctica suddenly became
    unhinged and plunged into the ocean’s icy depths… crashing and
    sliding into the cold, dark Southern Ocean. No one even knew that sea
    levels had fallen drastically–around 200 Km– from point of impact. Or that monstrous tsunamis — 200-foot-high walls of water– were speeding
    directly toward their coasts– the coasts of both North and South
    America, coasts of Africa, and other countries. It all happened
    so quickly and in the wee hours of the morning, while everyone slept.

    Few governments had even attempted to adopt measures which could have
    prevented the catastrophes. And after the chaos ensued, after the
    suffering and misery from all the loss– hundreds of millions of people
    and countless other species, central governments collapsed. There was
    no money left for rebuilding essential infrastructure,
    telecommunications systems or for security forces to quell the angry
    mobs. Even Canada’s government couldn’t withstand the turmoil after
    Antarctica’s impact. In 2050, her centralized government broke down
    too. She became balcanized into smaller and smaller units–
    “transition towns”– focused on sustainability.

    Finally, with fossil fuel emissions at a virtual standstill, (who would
    dare attempt to reve up “the machine” again? They’d been hung from a
    tree!), the Earth began to renew itself. Tree saplings sprang up
    everywhere. The air became cleaner. “Civilization” was gone. The
    humble– with ancient wisdom– inherited the Earth. And the world
    began anew.

    [JR: This belongs in Canada post.]

  8. Espiritwater says:

    Why did it come out like that?!

    [JR: You tell me!]

  9. Espiritwater says:

    Where is Canada post? It goes from october to Febuary.

    [JR: Right on the front page. A front page search will find it in 2 seconds. And there’s always climate progress’s own search engine.]

  10. Richard Brenne says:

    Mike Roddy (#5) – Great story! Too much Gubmint and DeMint, especially the latter.

    DeMinted would be another useful word. Maybe DeMint wants to be the John C. Calhoun of climate, the most violently pro-slavery Senator in the history of the U.S. Senate, threatening succession decades before South Carolina started succession and the Civil War (and as you pointed out, Mike, violently beating a fellow-Senator with his cane on the floor of the Senate, something some seem to want to bring back, as well as that most vile of all institutions Calhoun promoted).

  11. Gord says:

    I’ve ramped on Economics here at The Ravina Project since we have been mentioned in Don Tapscott’s new book, MacroWikinomics.

    I keep on reading about ‘the public good’. It seems that government through taxation has the money to spend on things that benefit the governed. The clear assumption is that although these ‘public goods’ are required they are well beyond the means of individuals no matter how they pool their resources.

    What I keep hearing between the lines in the political arguments highlighted above is that ‘public goods’ have disappeared. They are no longer required nor desired today.

    But I disagree: it is ‘public goods’ that allow folks to live safe, secure lives in an environment with enough public infrastructure to support jobs, commercial activity and the like. This argument carried to the end would conclude that taxation allows us to be successful and have a high standard of living.

    I’ve heard this argument called ‘socialism’ by some and ‘unjust’ by others. I’ve heard it called ‘wealth redistribution’.

    Whatever one calls it, spending on Public Goods is essential for a modern state, and I’ll go one point further, this type of spending is required for the survival of a modern state.

    To campaign, therefore, with a platform promoting government paralysis is to campaign for the eventual destruction of the modern state.

    This is not the time in the course human events (to borrow a phrase) to have the most powerful country on the planet made ungovernable.

  12. adelady says:

    Oliver Wendell Holmes must once again be turning in his grave.

    “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

    What kind of “civilisation” do these clowns really have in mind?