Sen. DeMint's Sports Simile Falls Short

January 12, 2012 10:36 am ET — Kate Conway

This morning on MSNBC, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) betrayed a rather destructive perspective on Congress' prerogatives when he dismissed any consideration of compromising with Democrats. Doing so, he said, "is just like a coach telling his team to go out and work with the other guys and cooperate with them."

JON MEACHAM (REPORTER): Senator, you've been in Washington now for 12 years. Actually more, sorry. Have things changed in a palpable, tactile way in terms of getting things done from when you came in?

DEMINT: Yeah, I think they are more polarized. And it's a contrast I try to make in the book because we really no longer have a shared vision. I mean, I know from business that you have people coming from different directions, they can work together if they have shared goals and a shared vision. But now we have the tension between those who want centralized power, government control of education, health care, transportation, energy, and Republicans, who are I think finding their footing around their core principles of we need to devolve power out of Washington, we need to decentralize, because that's what makes America work, is the bottom-up approach.

So saying to compromise now, and I use this analogy a lot, is just like a coach telling his team to go out and work with the other guys and cooperate with them. The Democrats are there to beat us. Every policy that they introduce is to centralize power. They are completely incapable of cutting spending because their constituency is based on dependency on government and those who want more from government.


Perhaps governing is all a game to DeMint, but his analogy should worry the real people who have elected him to represent their interests. Viewing his job as inherently combative in nature means rejecting one of its primary objectives — keeping the federal government up and running.

DeMint's attitude isn't unusual among congressional Republicans, who have spent much of the last year reframing the concept of "compromise" to mean getting everything they want and giving Democrats nothing. After the 2010 elections that gave the GOP a majority in the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) even gave an interview in which, asked about compromise, he declared, "I reject the word."