Note: This was written on February 23.
Sadly, some things never get old.
The right-wing Senator from "right-to-work" state South Carolina is fired up about the union activity in Wisconsin. For DeMint, of course, this is not at all about the rights of government workers. It is about the freedom of the American people, which in his rhetoric has absolutely nothing to do with the American people who belong to the government employees union in Wisconsin. DeMint is tossing around all his usual rhetoric, about "out-of-control union bosses" (http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/145507-demint-labor-using-wisconsin-protests-as-2012-warm-up). He is naming all his usual bad guys, including President Obama, who has notably stayed out of this fight, and the Democratic National Committee, accusing them of "ginning up the opposition", as though the fear of loss of their highly valued workers' rights is not enough.
DeMint's hypocrisy is notable here for two reasons. First of all, DeMint, whose concern about rising deficits knows no bounds, earns a meager $174,000, which is $11,900 more than he was receiving six years ago when he was first elected to the Senate. Members of the Senate have the ultimate say in their working conditions, allowing themselves time off and raises as only they would consider appropriate. The rising deficit did in no way deter DeMint et al. from awarding themselves quite generous raises since he has been a member.
Neither does DeMint's outrage at "generous" government employee pension and health benefits extend to those awarded by his own union, The Federal Employees' Retirement System. We are paying for a generous retirement and health insurance plan that will allow Mr. DeMint all the time and comfort upon retirement, to be free to travel the country lecturing (for a fee) his conservative colleagues on how un-American it is to provide workers a say in their workplace, a living wage, and a comfortable and healthy retirement.
And while DeMint is commiserating with fellow Tea Partiers and corporate leaders about the evil unions and the control they exert over the electoral process, he is proudly sponsoring his own union, the Senate Conservatives Fund, which stated goal is to wipe out any republican members of Congress that just are not conservative enough. Without a bit of irony, among the SCF goals, DeMint lists "Protect Life" followed by "Repeal ObamaCare".
This is a union that America should be afraid of.