Posted by: Bob McAlister | September 29, 2008

DeMint Talks, Does Not Act

Sen. Jim DeMint

Sen. Jim DeMint

I got an answer to my earlier post asking when Sen. Jim DeMint, a leading opponent of the White House compromise to bail out the financial markets, was going to introduce his own bill since the president’s bill bit the dust today.

The back-and-forth emails are extraordinary. First, Wesley Donohue and Ellen Weaver, a consultant and employee, sent me DeMint’s words. There were lots of words about how the White House plan was terrible and how DeMint’s plan is great. For all I know, the senator’s words and ideas are right.

But I emailed both back. I do not care about words. Neither do the financial markets. Wall Street tanked when the House killed the president’s plan today. Average folks are being mutilated, and the hurt has just begun. We need action, not words.

I asked Wesley (as an aside, one of the finest young men I know) and Ms. Weaver, whom I do not know, whether DeMint would put his words into action, i.e., introduce a bill. I’ve not heard from Wesley, but I did hear from Ms. Weaver, who is in the deep spin cycle. Here’s the email answering the question, sort of, of whether DeMint will introduce his own bill to address the financial meltdown:

“No, but that could be easily remedied if the time to strike was right.

“Realistically, we all know both houses of a Democrat-controlled Congress are never going to pass a DeMint-authored bill on a matter of this magnitude. But we can continue to beat the drum for the right ideas, connect the dots for the average Ameican and try to pull those who ARE at the negotiating table (which to this point has been limited to leadership and committee chairs and ranking members) towards these market-based reforms.

“And I’m not saying we WON’T author legislation on any of this. Who knows: maybe now that negotiations seem to have completely broken down there is an opening – I know we’re exploring all our options.

“My money is that some form of bail out is eventually going to pass, and we will still have to fight for these basic reforms even after that happens.

“My point is simply that Jim isn’t just throwing rocks, he putting out real ideas that could have real impact.”

Now let’s parse what she said.

“We all know both houses of a Democrat-controlled Congress are never going to pass a DeMint-authored bill…but we can continue to beat the drum for the right ideas, connect the dots for the average American and try to pull those who are at the negotiating table…toward these market-based reforms…”

She is correct. The Democrat-controlled Congress will never pass a DeMint bill or a conservative bill authored by any other Republican. That means, like it or not, Republicans must compromise to get any remedy. That’s what the president tried to do, imperfectly.

Connecting the dots for the average American? I think the dots are being connected right this moment as average Americans lose their retirement accounts and homes. They’ll really be connected when they can’t borrow money to send their kids to college or buy a house.

But we can rest easily; Ms. Weaver is betting her money (I’m glad she still has some) that some form of bail out (sic) is eventually going to pass…” I hope she tells that to Wall Street, which seems disinclined to heed words without action.

And she assures us that her boss might or might not do more than talk.

I don’t fault fellow conservatives for fighting against a plan they think is wrong for America, but I do fault them for not having a backup plan ready to be introduced and debated-a plan more to their liking but written with the understanding that Democrats must vote for it to pass. Right now they have nothing but words and good intentions. The White House plan might be loaded with mistakes, but the president at least had the courage to try.

For a legislator, there is no courage in criticizing without legislating.



  1. I applaud Jim for not falling for “we must do something” and “anything is better than nothing.” The easy thing would have been for him to go along and not sound the alarms. We are losing our freedoms rapidly and Sen. DeMint seems to be the only one that cares.

  2. The majority of officials in the U.S. House of Representatives seems to disagree with you.

    Maybe now we will get a less bad bill, because they had the courage to vote against this in the face of threatened Depression.

  3. Sand Hill: I hope you’re right. I hope we do get a “less bad” bill–and soon.

  4. […] Jim DeMint voted against the bill, but still hasn’t offered much in the way of an alternative. South Carolina’s senior senator, however, supported the rescue plan, calling it “an […]

  5. Gee, I’m sure glad the bailout passed. It saved us from a catostrophic 1000 point drop in the Dow. Ooops. uh. Um. Guess not.

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