Jim DeMint: You Can’t Be A Fiscal Conservative Without Being A Social Conservative

Both Allahpundit and Reason’s Michael Moynihan picked up on a comment that South Carolina’s Jim DeMint made during an appearance on Fox News Channel yesterday:

One doesn’t expect excessive amounts of wisdom from Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC), the troglodyte who recently told an audience, according to the Spartanburg Herald, that “if someone is openly homosexual or if an unmarried woman sleeps with her boyfriend, then that person shouldn’t be allowed in the classroom,” but this is a new level of stupid. When asked to comment on Gov. Mitch Daniels’ suggestion that it’s time for détente in the culture war, Demint tells Fox News that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.”

Here’s the video (relevant quote starts about 3 minutes in):

As Allahpundit points out, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise:

Originally, I thought this message was just something DeMint was pitching at Christian conservatives to convince them that the tea party’s libertarianism is overblown, that they’re still a cherished constituency despite the reordering of conservative priorities to favor spending over “values.” But now I think he means it, which makes me wonder. For instance, last I checked, Glenn Beck’s a fiscal conservative (and notably a fan of the idea of Americans turning back to God) but also … fine with gay marriage. DeMint himself, however, is not: He told Al Hunt last year that neither the feds nor state governments should have the power to legalize same-sex unions. Per his God/government dynamic, I would think he’d support getting government out of the marriage business altogether and trusting in Judeo-Christian morals to handle this problem, but he still supports state recognition of traditional marriage as far as I can tell. Likewise with his comments about how gays and unwed mothers don’t belong in the classroom. Said GOProud’s founder Chris Barron of that, “The idea that someone who says they believe in limited government would support the government weeding out gay teachers and unmarried sexually active female teachers simply defies logic.” So maybe our error here is in assuming that when DeMint says “fiscal conservatism,” he means it as a byword for “less government” universally.

And, of course, this is the same guy who said a few years ago that gay men and unmarried women shouldn’t be allowed to teach in public schools, so it’s fairly clear that when it comes to the shrinking the size, scope, and power of government Jim DeMint is not onboard. Libertarian-minded Republicans should take note of that fact.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Or in other words: “I oppose Big Government that doesn’t support my political objectives.”

  2. DeMint is a nut. It’s a shame he’s become something of a leader in the GOP.

  3. Anthony says:

    It seems to me that DeMint should be asked what he thinks of unmarried men who sleep with their girlfriends being in the classroom. The tacit implication of his comments would seem to be that he’s ok with sexually active single men teaching, but not sexually active women.

    It also seems to me that there’s a case for DeMint being termed a social reactionary rather than a social conservative, in that he really does seem to want to turn the clock back quite a long way. Hell, I wasn’t even born when Ronald Reagan was opposing banning gays from the classroom.

  4. Dave says:

    Anthony — I think DeMint might be turning the clock so far back he can’t even conceive of male primary school teachers.

  5. If Jim DeMint insists that one must be a social conservative to also be a fiscal conservative, then let me be the first to invite Jim DeMint to suck it.

    …In a socially conservative way, of course.

    Seriously, if DeMint and his ilk value ideological purity over attracting enough votes to win, then I’m happy to vacate their ever-shrinking tent and seek accommodations elsewhere.

  6. TG Chicago says:

    Of course legalizing same-sex marriage is socially conservative.

  7. Don L says:

    I think he”s preaching to people who long ago forgot how to sing (especially the praises of their Creator)

  8. Shorter DeMint: Haha, I can’t believe you libertarians voted for us again! GOD you’re gullible!

  9. george says:

    Yup, nothing says small gov’t better than restricting people’s choices about what they do with their own bodies.