I Don’t Think that Means What You Think it Means (DeMint, Sacrilege and Delays)

Since when is working the week before Christmas sacrilege?

I know that Doug Mataconis already blogged on Jim DeMint’s comment about the current lame duck session and the pending Christmas break, but I can’t help but throw in my two cents.

What especially gets me is DeMint’s assertion that it is “sacrilegious” to have votes on the START treaty and the omnibus spending bill right up to Christmas.

Here’s the Merriam-Wester definition of sacrilege:

1: a technical and not necessarily intrinsically outrageous violation (as improper reception of a sacrament) of what is sacred because consecrated to God

2: gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing

Somehow I don’t think that having a Congressional vote close to Christmas qualifies.   Indeed, it is worth noting that there is no Biblical injunction to even celebrate Christmas, per se, let alone an admonition against working on the days leading up to the event.  Indeed, I suspect a great number of readers of this blog will be working the week before Christmas, perhaps including Christmas Eve.  Some may even have jobs that requires working on Christmas Day itself.

DeMint further ruins his argument (such as it is) given that he is seeking to  waste time on the Senate floor rather than speeding things along so that they can clear out well before Christmas.  Via The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room:  DeMint will force readings of START Treaty and omnibus bill

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will force readings of both a nuclear arms treaty and $1.1 trillion spending bill that could eat up hours of the remaining lame-duck Congress.

DeMint will invoke a senatorial privilege to ask that texts of both the New START Treaty and the 2011 omnibus spending bill be read aloud on the Senate floor.

The readings could take seven to 12 hours to verbalize the START Treaty, while the omnibus could take 40 to 60 hours, according to a spokesman for DeMint.

Look, DeMint opposes the legislation in question and he wants to run out the clock in the hopes of defeating the bills.  He has the right to do so.  But don’t say things like “We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful” and then engage in delaying tactics in the hopes of extending the session.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. reid says:

    Has DeMint gotten so wrapped up in the DC scene and rightwing team politics that he can’t actually see how assholish it is to pull stupid stunts like this to block an important arms control treaty and passing of a budget? He can’t seriously be so dumb or warped as to think this is sacrilege. He (and a lot of other people for that matter) need a serious talking-to. Being a senator and governing the country isn’t a game! I hope the people of SC come to their senses.

  2. wr says:

    Just another right wing sleazebag whose “faith” is so deep he uses the sacraments he claims to worship as a scam to grab political advantage. How anyone takes crooks like this seriously is beyond me, but then if we had a decent education system in this country there wouldn’t be a single Republican left.

  3. B. Minich says:

    So, according to Jim DeMint’s logic, my having to work until December 24 most years is sacrilegious? OK, then! So, whenever the Feds get around to giving me that week off, I look forward to it! I need my Christmas recess, after all, for religious reasons.

  4. John says:

    DeMint is Christine O Donnell without a dress.

  5. Herb says:

    Roman would have never allowed it to happen during Satunalia, that’s for sure! And insurance mandates? Try “Eat, drink, and be merry” mandates.

  6. Richard Gardner says:

    I am one of under 10,000 Americans that has read the entire START (Treaty, redundant, since the T is for Treaty). I’ve only skimmed the associated papers and appendices. Simply, this reading in Congress is foolish. The New START is simple compared to the original START; I used to give basic START training session with my King James Bible in one hand and the GPO Green START Treaty in the other to get the point across that it wasn’t something simple – of comparable thickness. But the reading is nothing but a delaying tactic and endangers US national security for the sake of poetical points (intentional typo).

  7. anjin-san says:


    I believe that by questioning DeMint this close to Christmas, you are committing sacrilege.

    Why do you hate Christmas? Why do you hate America?

  8. peterh says:

    I believe if one were to substitute the term (keep in mind that the term will change depending on the subject matter) “sacrilege” with the term “entitlement”, you’ll get a clearer picture of where Demint is coming from. Government health care is his entitlement…..a government pension is his entitlement….discretionary work days are his entitlement….eat cake bitches…..