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Tilting at Windmills

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December 11, 2008

DEMINT WARNS OF BAILOUT 'RIOTS'.... In general, those who warn of dire consequences for the automotive industry tend to support a rescue package. As the argument goes, the auto manufacturers are the backbone of U.S. manufacturing, and the collapse of the industry could have devastating ripple effects in the midst of a financial crisis.

On the other hand, we have Sen. Jim DeMint, a far-right Republican from South Carolina, offering a warning from the other direction. As far as he's concerned, if the federal government rescues GM and Chrysler, there will be "riots." Seriously.

After a press conference on the Hill yesterday, at which he explained his opposition to a rescue package for Detroit, DeMint said, "We're going to have riots. There are already people rioting because they're losing their jobs when somebody else is being bailed out. The fairness of it becomes more and more evident as we go along. Because the auto companies may be hurting there are very few companies that aren't hurting and are gonna hurt. We don't have enough money to bail everyone out."

Now, I realize that reasonable people can disagree on the merit of the pending legislation. I don't, however, think we'll have "riots" based on the outcome of the bailout. What's more, DeMint says there are "already people rioting." I pay pretty close attention to the news, and I don't recall hearing anything about this.

If DeMint opposes the bill, fine. But does he have to make such outrageous comments to justify his position?

Steve Benen 4:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Hey, if people express enough skepticism about these claims that people are "already" rioting, DeMint could always pull a Florida-GOP-2000 and have a few of his staffers go out somewhere and act riot-y for the cameras.

Posted by: J on December 11, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

But does he have to make such outrageous comments to justify his position?

yes. It's all he's got.

Posted by: Randy Paul on December 11, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

You quote DeMint: "We're going to have riots. There are already people rioting because they're losing their jobs when somebody else is being bailed out. The fairness of it becomes more and more evident as we go along..."

OK... I think I understand. So, as the number of people without jobs goes up, the chances of rioting go down. Fairness, moreover, requires that more and more people lose their jobs.

Republicans certainly have an interesting take on phrases such as "equal protection of the laws" from the 14th Amendment. Phrases such as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" from the Bible.

I'm glad I'm not a Republican. Proud, too.

Posted by: CMcC on December 11, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

If autoworkers, rioting or in a small group, beat the stuffings out of Jim DeMint it would be deplorable.
But the irony would be rich.

Posted by: JMG on December 11, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

God the right are so fing insufferable.
Watch how they go from quiet enablers to borderline sessionists as the Presidency goes over to the Democratic Party.
No wonder Americans hate em.

Posted by: Northern Observer on December 11, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Now that a darky is running the show, the Republicans will grab any excuse to call up images of riots. Stay tuned for warnings about the south being aflame, and to get the white women out of sight.

Posted by: Mark on December 11, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

In the Mind of DeMint, the workers occupying the Republic Windows plant in Chicago are rioters. So yes, there are riots going on.

Didn't you know?

Posted by: Lance on December 11, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

After a press conference on the Hill yesterday

I googled riot, protest, factory closing and plant closing. The only thing I could find in the US this year was the Chicago Window sit-in. But I'm sure the press asked him for details, right?

Posted by: Danp on December 11, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

You all have such short memories. Don't you remember the Chrysler Riots of 1979? No?

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on December 11, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"But does he have to make such outrageous comments to justify his position?"

I'm assuming that this question was purely rhetorical....

Posted by: Uncle Jeffy on December 11, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't you see all those riots in Greece? Those people really hate the PT Cruiser.

Posted by: Gridlock on December 11, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

We knew there were more and more nutty Republicans over the past several years, but who votes for them - enough to win office? Do we really understand this bizarre phenomenon?

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on December 11, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone hear the interview on NPR yesterday? this is all about breaking the union.

Posted by: Saint Zak on December 11, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Senator DeMint wouldn't make untrue outrageous comments. The only possible conclusion is that the liberal media is covering up the riots.

But wait, isn't the media making things look worse than they actually are in order to help Obama? Then why would they cover this up? It looks like I picked to wrong day to miss the Rush Limbaugh show....

Posted by: Old School on December 11, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen >"...But does he have to make such outrageous comments to justify his position?"

Well he IS a ReThuglican so yes, he does have to. It is all he's got as Randy Paul pointed out.

"...it's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine..." - REM

Posted by: daCascadian on December 11, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

As Lance points out, DeMint is referring to the peaceful sit-in in Chicago. As we have learned from the prop 8 protests, any time people gather in public to speak ill of Republican interests, it's a dangerous riot in their minds.

Posted by: Shalimar on December 11, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

We're all following the news but I think DeMint believes the only Athens is in this country.

As if we needed any further proof that those on the extreme right are batshit crazy and are having their hands prised from the levers of power, hopefully, in the nick of time.

Historians, has any democratic ideological party, or any party, ever inflicted this much damage -- economic and moral -- on their own country by putting their beliefs into operation?

Posted by: notthere on December 11, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

A Republican says something stupid, mendacious and wrong: Whadda riot.

Posted by: Jay B. on December 11, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Lance is surely correct, that DeMint ment the Republic Windows sit-in. Setting aside the use of the term "riot," DeMint seems to draw the exactly backwards conclusion.

The workers were mad that Bank of America was getting bailed out, but BOA was directly contributing to their own loss of jobs without benefits. That is, they were mad about they way they lost their jobs. They were mad that white collar Wall Street companies got bailed out, but not their blue collar manufacturing jobs in the midwest.

So DeMint learns from this that letting a million more jobs be lost in manufacturing is the way to avoid riots? That people will riot if Detroit gets $15B but they didn't riot when CitiGroup got $25B, then another $20B with no hearings or debate at all, plus a staggering $300B in guarantees?

I know this is all a little complex for a mere Republican elected official, but everyone else I know seems to get it quite well.

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 11, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Is he perhaps thinking of Greece? Or maybe the sit-in? If you think that anyone disagreeing with you is committing a criminal act, then a sit-in probably does look like a riot.

Posted by: Personal Failure on December 11, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

These Southern pricks are just angling for a big handout for their notoriously shitty tax-free states. And when they don't get that handout and their states continue to suck because they are overflowing with pig ignorant douchebags, they are going to blame (wait for it) Democrats.

Posted by: Tray Enspirante on December 11, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Gridlock" nails it--the financial bailout caused the Greek riots. DeMint's clearly concerned an auto bailout will spread the riots to Turkey.

He's just being a mensch.

Posted by: Trollhattan on December 11, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, had DeMint wanted to be remotely intellectually and morally honest (stop laughing!) he might have given the appropriate disclaimer that his state of South Carolina is home to a BMW plant and is competing for a VW plant, so putting a knife in the domestic companies is simply one more constituent service (likely paid for almost as blatently as Blago's attempted deal).

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 11, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I've seen too much crazy talk from this Senator -- from now on I think his surname is "DeMent". This shoe fits, so he can wear it!

Posted by: Threegoal on December 11, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Better not let him team up with Pat Boone. If they do, next thing you know we'll have the Mumbai terrorists over here wreaking havoc.

Posted by: Michigoose on December 11, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I agree -- DeMint is referring to the peaceful sit-in in Chicago when he's talking about "riots."

I mean, those people were demanding they get what the company had to provide by law! Anarchists! They should be grateful that they used to have a job and stop whining.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 11, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

He's not predicting riots, he's calling for them.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on December 11, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

This is union-busting, pure and simple. On his NPR interview last night, DeMint said so. He told the audience that unions were "an antiquated concept in today's economy". Furthermore, the car companies can't survive "with the barnacles of unionism wrapped around their necks."

Posted by: Gary Stoneking on December 11, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

There'll be riots, eh? Truth to tell, I'd love to see all those bailed out NYC bankers take to the (W) street with pitchforks...

Posted by: exlibra on December 11, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Furthermore, the car companies can't survive "with the barnacles of unionism wrapped around their necks."

Was yesterday Talk Like A Pirate day?

Posted by: Captain Hookah on December 11, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Arggh, Cap'n Hookah. Nay, Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19, Matey. Maybe DeMint didn't get the memo...

Posted by: Gary Stoneking on December 11, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter DeMint: We can't help everybody... so we shouldn't help anybody.

I'm not a particularly religious person, but my impression is that this viewpoint is considered a sin or heresy in most religions.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on December 11, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint is a friggin' idiot, but he's right on one thing---no bailout. I agree there, wholeheartedly. In fact, no more bailouts for anybody; Congress should not release the next round of $350 Billion of the $700 Billion TARP.

Posted by: Jim on December 11, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Sen. DeMint, but your cover of "I Predict A Riot" isn't nearly as good as the Kaiser Chiefs' original version.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 11, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

What are Americans waiting for?

Posted by: Brojo on December 11, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Is this man's definition of "riot" a "huffy op-ed"? Taser the writers!!

Posted by: Karen on December 11, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

The only riots that may occur will be to ride DeMint out of office on a rail, suitably tarred and feathered.

This is one traditional custom in America that even I as a liberal would like to see practiced. Seems that this would be a conservative reaction to DeMints "let them eat cake" attitude.

Posted by: Continuum on December 11, 2008 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

I remain utterly confused as to whether a bailout of the big three is warranted or not, or whether a bridge loan would make a difference.

I have to admit I don't understand what the cause of the problem is and I don't understand possible solutions and I also don't understand possible fallout long-term to our economy.

I also admit that I own a Honda.

Argh!

Posted by: sad, overwhelmed, confused on December 11, 2008 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

I voted for Obama and I detest the Repug party. But DeMint is absolutely right. We can't bail out everybody and the incredible ballooning defict is nothing short of immoral. ALL bailouts should cease, the Iraq and Afghan wars should be immediately ended and whatever money is left over should be used to keep the unemployed from starving and freezing to death.

Posted by: bdrube on December 11, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

There are riots the same way that the people arrested in Minneapolis were terrorists. It all depends on your definition and the Republicans have some very weird definitions that, like so much of their program, are unrelated to reality.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on December 11, 2008 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

ALL bailouts should cease, the Iraq and Afghan wars should be immediately ended and whatever money is left over should be used to keep the unemployed from starving and freezing to death.

The loans to the auto companies -- and it is not a "bailout", it is a loan package that must be repaid -- will keep up to 3 million people from being unemployed and starving and freezing to death, at least for a while.

I agree that the main concern should be for the average American. Not only is it the moral course of action it is also the smart thing to do help the economy recover by keeping workers employed and solvent. The loans to the auto manufacturers will assist in this effort. The loss of millions of jobs will be a devastating hit to the national economy, not a regional misfortune as the Republicans are pretending.

I also agree that we should pull our troops from Iraq, and that indeed, we should never have invaded in the first place.

Posted by: trex on December 11, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

It's not an outrageous comment, it's a threat.

Republicans will use any and all tactics to get their way, including terrorism. Amazing.

Posted by: Gillette on December 11, 2008 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bread riots if there isn't a bailout. The GOP has really, really, really damaged the country. They have no idea.

Posted by: Sparko on December 11, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK


Can anyone explain to me why the auto industry getting one tenth of what one financial insurance company got is too much?

AIG: $150 Billion and counting
Chrysler, Ford, GM: $14 Billion

Help. I'm confused.

Posted by: winner on December 12, 2008 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Short version of the Republican platform: f--k liberals, f--k intellectuals, f--k hispanics, f--k blacks, f--k gays, and f--k unions. Gee, I wonder why they don't win many elections outside the south?

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on December 12, 2008 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

No bailout - if the American people want to support a bailout, it's very easy - go buy American cars. It's stunning that people lack faith in the American people and the American people - the auto companies have their chance, but it's over now.. sure, there'll be jobs lost if GM et al goes under, but new companies will rise and take their place. Those companies will be making things that people will spend their money on.

Posted by: Andy on December 12, 2008 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK


AIG: $150 Billion and counting
Chrysler, Ford, GM: $14 Billion
Help. I'm confused.

Well, the fear was if AIG collapsed, their credit default swaps would bring down the entire financial system - which would impact every single industry in America - but that catastrophic scenario was probably overblown.

Posted by: Andy on December 12, 2008 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK


The loans to the auto companies -- and it is not a "bailout", it is a loan package that must be repaid

What if the auto companies still go under? Who then *must* pay back that loan package?

Posted by: Andy on December 12, 2008 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

sure, there'll be jobs lost if GM et al goes under, but new companies will rise and take their place. Those companies will be making things that people will spend their money on.

Your analysis is lacking a bit in the areas of recovery time line, unintended economic consequences, and human misery.

There's no guarantee of an economic recovery from the loss of a major sector, no matter how likely it may seem from similar historical events. There's no guarantee the sector or overall economy will be nearly as strong if it does recover or that another will arise to replace the lost jobs. There's no guarantee a hypothetical recovery will happen in a timely fashion.

Consequently, the risk is the collapse of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., at the expense of millions of jobs, and human misery unlike any we've seen for decades that could last for years.

I see from your other posts on this subject on the web that you are not a fan of American cars. Fair enough. According to JD Power, Lincoln, Mercury, Buick, and Cadillac all have among the highest dependability ratings. Ford now has more vehicles with the highest safety ratings than any manufacturer. Mercury is one of the top four brands with the highest quality rating. It's not like this industry is a total loss.

Even if it were worse than it is it would be worth spending essentially what we spend in Iraq in just one month to try and rehabilitate it. If it fails, few will be immune from the consequences.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

The equity holders of the car companies should be forced to cough up the money to keep 'their' companies solvent. Otherwise they should be allowed to let the markets regulate them.

Posted by: Brojo on December 12, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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