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Tilting at Windmills

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December 15, 2010

WHAT JIM DEMINT CONSIDERS 'SACRILEGIOUS'.... The Senate is set to move on ratification of the pending arms control treaty, New START, but the chamber's most right-wing member is intent on bringing the process to a crawl. Today, he announced his plan to force the Senate clerk to read the entirety of the treaty, out loud, just to delay for the sake of delay.

The stunt is expected to waste seven to 12 hours, on purpose, just to make the man-child from South Carolina feel better.

But it's his stated rationale that truly rankles.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats' push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas "sacrilegious," and warned he'd draw the process out to wage his objections.

"You can't jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas," he told POLITICO. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians."

I'm beginning to wonder if there's just something wrong with this guy. Today is December 15 -- it's not sacred, it's not a holiday, and it's not "sacrilegious" for public officials to do the jobs we pay them to do. Americans nationwide are working this week and next, as are U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe conservatives need to suck it up and stop whining about having too much homework before winter break.

What's more, no one is "jamming" anything -- senators have been talking about this treaty since April.

If DeMint wants to blow off the entire national security apparatus and vote against New START, that's his prerogative. If he doesn't care about monitoring Russia's long-range nuclear arsenal, that's up to him. But playing the Christmas Card is more than a little pathetic, and something of an embarrassment to the institution.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called DeMint's nonsense a "new low in putting political stunts ahead of our national security.... Every minute that the START Treaty is being read on the Senate floor increases the time that we lack verification of Russia's nuclear arsenal."

Update: Several readers have noted that DeMint's description of Christmas as "the most sacred holiday for Christians" is completely absurd. That's clearly true -- Easter has always been considered the holiest of Christian holidays. For adherents, a virgin birth is a big deal, but resurrection from the dead is a more notable development.

With that in mind, when drawing up a list of things Jim DeMint is deeply confused about, we can add "his own religion" to the list.

Steve Benen 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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If Jim DeMint were a Christian he would know that Easter is our essential holiday.

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on December 15, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Gene O'Grady gets a Cadbury egg. Jim DeMint gets a FAIL.

Posted by: TheEasterBunny on December 15, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

What could be more appropriate at Christmastime than to reach an agreement that furthers "peace on earth, good will towards men"?

Oh right, to understand that, you'd actually have to be a Christian. Or have a working brain.

Posted by: Gummo on December 15, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gene is right. Everyone is born; only Jesus was resurrected. Easter is the defining holiday of Christianity.

Jim DeMint is truly stupid.

Posted by: kitsune on December 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

If he wants to stall and waste time, fine. Reid should make them stay in session on Christmas day

Posted by: SaintZak on December 15, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's also not the "most sacred holiday" for Christians, at least not from any kind of orthodox historical perspective. The most sacred holiday is Easter, and the second most - again, from a more orthodox view - is Pentecost. And, to hold Mr De Mint to the rigorous tradition he claims to defend, it aint' Christmas yet, and won't be for nine more days. It's Advent, numbnuts.

Posted by: Andy on December 15, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Methinks if there truly were a god, she would smack down the likes of Jim DeMint and other hatefilled persons of that ilk.

Posted by: K in VA on December 15, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Would it be too much to mention to DeMint that no one is keeping him there? He's free to go home anytime he wants to, his vote is neither needed nor missed.

Posted by: martin on December 15, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

There is WAY too much "comity"in that place!
I yearn for some senator to stand up and say, "Will the stupidest man in South Carolina yield for a question?"

Posted by: DAY on December 15, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

From the desk of Senator James Demented...

But I saw Obama wearing a red cap! That proves that Obama is a communist muslim who hates Christmas and Christians and any treaty that he negotiates has to be part of a commie, socialist plot to destroy our great white Christian nation.

Posted by: AmusedOldVet on December 15, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

@DAY: Your question would get both senators from SC to answer.

Posted by: CMB on December 15, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Typical Republican illogic: It's bad to have to consider such important legislation during Xmas, therefore I'll pull a time-wasting stunt that will push the vote into closer proximity to Xmas.

But DeMint doesn't have to worry about logic. IOKIYAR because such basic incoherence will be papered over by the he-said-she-said celebrity pseudo-journalists.

Posted by: 1st Paradox on December 15, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint is full of shit. This isn't the most sacred holiday for Christians, that would be Easter, at least everywhere else in the Christian world.

Christmas is the most sacred holiday for American retailers. I realize that consumerism has become something of a religion in this country, but he could at least get this straight to keep the facade of his faux piety shiny and bright.

Posted by: Realist on December 15, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

December 15 is holy in the same way that buildings two blocks from Ground Zero are hallowed ground. Things such as Ground Zero and Christmas have wide spheres of influence.

Posted by: My Alter Ego on December 15, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's sacrilegious to agree to limit god's (America's) weapons, especially during the season of the birth of god's son. (Jesus was big into guns).

Posted by: flubber on December 15, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint is a child.

Posted by: Holmes on December 15, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

A perfect moment to point out the malfeasance of the Republican named DeMint:

Hey idiot in the Senate, we in the USA, yeah, the USA honor the separation of church and state, and mister idiot DeMint, your perspective of what is sacrilege is idiotic even more, as I too practice the Christian religion, and Easter is a most holy holiday, not the disputed birth date of my savior!

Hog Wash Mr. DeMint, Hog Wash is your contribution to our national dialog!

Jim DeMint, I suggest you enter into a basic USA civics course to relearn what you have so conveniently forgotten - public service is for the public, not your bubbas and bozos your wish to make rich! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 15, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

ok, senator deminted: stay in town and get it done AFTER xmas. just get it done (along with a shitload of other stuff!).

Posted by: mellowjohn on December 15, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

You folks got it all wrong about Easter being the most sacred holiday.

That's only true for actual Christians. You know, ones who not only read parts , but truly understand the theme, of the Bible.

DeMented is talking about the most sacred holiday for Capitalistic Christians such as himself and ... well, probably about 80+% of America.

For them, profit and loss statements are the Bible, double-digit profits the Holy Grail, and the Almighty Dollar (or gold, if you're of the Beckian denomination) the baby Jesus.

Once you look at it all that way, it makes sense.


Posted by: Mark D on December 15, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

And, this is why we need Wikileaks: expose every lying sack of S**t in the Congress & all branches and departments, regardless of party. There are plenty of people in the Congress to call BS...Bernie Sanders is one.... Where are they? If the military is required to be on duty 24/7, why not Congress?

Posted by: st john on December 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Harry read my post above!

He just came to the floor and said (I paraphrase) "I'm also a Christian, and I know the meaning of Christmas. And if you asshats hadn't been filibustering the past year we'd be out here!"

He added, with a holiday twinkle in his eye, "And we are going to stay here, until the job is done." As he left the floor I plainly heard him mutter, "Suck on that, Motherf*ckers!"

Posted by: DAY on December 15, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to see some fire directed at De Mint...

@kitsune: That's an understatement. He reminds me of a quote from Harlan Ellison: "There's no way this guy could've been born yesterday, because no one can get that f***ing stupid in only 24 hours!"

Jim De Mint is truly a class A1-A jerk. And at least no one's blaming Obama for this.

Posted by: Marc McKenzie on December 15, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Would that DAY were accurate. I suspect he will release the Senate on schedule(R's schedule).

Posted by: st john on December 15, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint is a C Street kind of "Christian" -- in fact the C Streeters eschew the word "Christian." They believe in Jesus, all right, but only a Jesus who adores the rich and dictators and hates the poor and powerless. (Remember Avram Vereide, who founded The Fellowship that sponsors DeMint's beloved C Street Family?)

The man is a skunk.

Posted by: jjm on December 15, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

No Senator DeMint, Easter is the most holy. If you weed a real Christian, you would know and believe that.

Posted by: Bob on December 15, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Religion is personal. Waving your religious beliefs around in public is deeply offensive to me, and usually means you're a sniveling hypocrite.

Posted by: Rochester on December 15, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Even if Christmas WERE the most sacred, what about the REST of us? We work up to the 24th, take a day off for Christmas and get back to work the next day (except of course, this year when the Corporations are graciously allowing Sunday off too)...are we BAD Christians??? MORONS.

Posted by: SYSPROG on December 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm beginning to wonder if there's just something wrong with this guy."

He's from South Carolina, Q.E.D.

Too small for a republic. . . .

Posted by: Andy Hall on December 15, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

@Gene O'Grady: Thanks for reminding me of a little ditty I learned back when I was an Episcopalian:

Roses are red
Violets are bluish;
If it wasn't for Easter
We'd all be Jewish.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on December 15, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, but I believe that many people work on Christmas Day. Why does everyone act as if no one works on Christmas? People, you need to start expanding your view of all the people. Millions of people work on Saturday, Sunday, Holidays and during all hours of the day and night. Wake up to reality. Imagine a day without anyone "working," including those who have non-paying jobs like caregivers, homemakers(of any gender), volunteers and the unemployed. Until we recognize that we are all connected to each other and the environment, we will continue to argue about who is right and who is wrong. And we will fight for "our" position as the right one.

May --- have mercy on our souls.

Posted by: st john on December 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Demint gets coal in his stocking and and F in Christianity. And the Easter bunny will not stop at his house next year.

Posted by: CDW on December 15, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it make sense that if a senator wants a bill read aloud in its entirety, then that senator should be the one doing the reading. Can they institute that rule?

Posted by: tomb on December 15, 2010 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

tomb at 2:51. A very bad idea. DeMindt would stretch the reading of the bill out until after New Years Day.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on December 15, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Moreover, considering DeMint is from SC, him being literate is a pretty big assumption.

Posted by: Holmes on December 15, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

if Zeitgeist were Senate Majority Leader. . .

Call quorum. Once everyone is present, announce the bill will be read as Sen. DeMint requested.

Command Capitol Security and US Marshals to bar the doors. No one comes or goes. No food or water or cots come in. Hell, block any bathroom doors as well.

And tell the Republicans we can all knock this nonsense off whenever they agree to withdraw the request the bill be read.


Posted by: zeitgeist on December 15, 2010 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint and Kyle are treasonous little buggers aren't they? They obviously want to keep America unsafe.

Posted by: Evergreen2U on December 15, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry but each day these so-called leaders we have in DC surpass their previous day's idiocy. I'm past amazement. These jerks say anything and the gullible masses suck it up like it 's the word of God. What does it say about the intelligence of the people who elected these morons. I know South Carolina has one of the poorest education programs in the country so I guess this is what you get.

Posted by: Chris on December 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

And, where are the rest of Congress? Can one or two men(in this case) hold the whole country hostage? If I had a B*** and threatened to B*** it up, would the rest of your stand by and remain silent? Apparently so.

Posted by: st john on December 15, 2010 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

the rest of you stand by...

Posted by: st john on December 15, 2010 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Bearing false witness (Faux, 90% of what Palin, Beck, Limbaugh etc, most Republicans say, about Democrats etc.), greed, killing, etc. are all supposed to be against God's Law too, but they don't care - the visible and superficial symbols (and "our people") are paramount. And what could more honor "the Prince of Peace" than an agreement to make peace easier to maintain? Those people are sick, but in the spirit of the season I'll just say "may God help them."

Posted by: neil b. on December 15, 2010 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Gene is right and every person is born and only one man of Jesus was resurrected and that's are currently Christianity.

Posted by: Laser Eye Surgery Houston on December 15, 2010 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

We're going to start needing a Republican "proximity rule."

No mosques within two blocks of Ground Zero because anything so close is "disrespectful" to the memory of those who died there.

Likewise, no nuclear arms treaties within two weeks of Christmas because anything so clsoe is "sacreligious" to Christians.

Posted by: Ted Frier on December 15, 2010 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, Christians completely ignored "Christmas" until Christianity became the Roman state religion and needed a holiday to compete, IIRC, with the Saturnalia. Early Christians knew they needed to celebrate one thing - the resurrection. "Christmas" may be fun, but as a holy day, it's really a non-starter.

Posted by: SusanP on December 15, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Methinks if there truly were a god, she would smack down the likes of Jim DeMint and other hatefilled persons of that ilk.
Posted by: K in VA on December 15, 2010 at 1:52 PM

The word you're looking for is "smite".

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on December 15, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

You can't pass an arms control treaty right before Christmas, and you can't fight in the War Room!

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on December 15, 2010 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint's Christmas message: War on Earth, and Good Nukes to All!

Posted by: Hannah on December 15, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Demint folded. And it looks like Reid took to the floor and told DeMint and Kyl that he doesn't need their sanctimony, which by his standards is tantamount to trash talking.

Posted by: Holmes on December 15, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

But Christmas is the holiest day on the calendar for DeMint and his ilk. It's the day when, ever since they were little, they got stuff for free. The more, the better. Their whole philosophy, their whole way of life, and their whole governing strategy is based on their ultimate virtue- greed.

Some needs to check his DNA. He's not human-- he's Ferengi.

Posted by: Tim H on December 15, 2010 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's particularly sacrilegious to taint the birthday of Christ with an arms control treaty given how enthusiastic He was about weapons.

The Man himself said "he who lives by the sword represents South Carolina in the Senate."

I really shouldn't debate the teachings of Christ with deMint, since I'm an atheist.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on December 15, 2010 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

If virgin birth is a big deal, the virgin conception would have been a bigger deal. 'Course by the accepted late-December birthday, that would put "Conception Day" ridiculously close to Easter most years, so probably not worth celebrating separately.

But, yes, Christmas is a lost cause as a religious holiday. It's about shopping and seeking shelter from the encroaching ice storms. And Santa and elves and reindeer. It has nothing to do with its namesake.

Posted by: Tom Dibble on December 15, 2010 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Just as a point of interest, I note that resurrection is not exactly a rarity in the Bible. Aside from Jesus, and his various miracles, I've often wondered why more is not made of the Matthew 27:50-53:

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

That not one of the "many" are recorded to have talked to these zombies, or even had the presence of mind to find out who they were; let alone write about it, or start some oral tradition is noted without comment.

Posted by: jhm on December 16, 2010 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

"I really shouldn't debate the teachings of Christ with deMint, since I'm an atheist."
Posted by: Robert Waldmann on December 15, 2010 at 9:30 PM

And who better to engage in such debate?
There was a survey on people's knowledge of various world religions done not so long ago (maybe a month? By Time magazine?) in which the results demonstrated that atheists and agnostics, as a group, scored higher than the respondents of any single religion that was broken out in the poll results.
Sadly, it was, on examination, a virtually useless survey; all manner of trivia, and little about the essentials of the various traditions in question.
Still, it was entertaining, and utterly unsurprising that atheists/agnostics would outscore people who, in many cases, would identify with the faith tradition into which they'd been born, without ever actually thinking too deeply about the content and meaning thereof -- let alone the meanings of any other traditions than their own.
(Oh, except for knowing that Muhammad, pbuh, was ostensibly a pedophile, and his followers wish to enslave us all under Sharia law. I imagine quite a few Americans "know" all about that.)

Posted by: smartalek on December 16, 2010 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK



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