The Washington Post

DeMint: Most Americans are anti-American

New rule: The only U.S. citizens anyone should be able to call “anti-American” are those who have sworn allegiance to a foreign terrorist group, or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Anything else is just name-calling.

Making my point is Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who said this on Wednesday about President Obama (h/t Steve Benen):

We saw within a few days that this president was going to be heavy-handed, he was going to implement his agenda and pay back his political allies, and it just went on from there to Obamacare and then to Dodd-Frank. It has been the most anti-business and I consider anti-American administration in my lifetime.

Things that are just so anathema to the principles of freedom, and everything he has come up with centralizes more power in Washington, creates more socialist-style, collectivist policies. This president is doing something that’s so far out of the realm of anything Republicans ever did wrong, it’s hard to even imagine.

It’s just amazing to hear that “everything he’s come up with” is anti-American on the same day that yet another poll affirms wide popular support for the compromise position on federal taxing and spending that Obama adopted at the end of the debt-limit debate, and has stuck with since. Gallup’s latest indicates that six in ten Americans — including a majority of Republicans — favor tax-code reform that would raise federal revenue, congressional GOP opposition to which destroyed the grand debt bargain that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) nearly struck last month. Sixty six percent want tax increases.

Maybe DeMint only meant to say that the health-care reform law and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law are anti-American? The numbers don’t help the senator much on those, either. Polls show Dodd-Frank with healthy, majority support among Americans. Health-care reform doesn’t quite get there, but many of those who disapprove do so because it wasn’t “collectivist” enough.

Just because a policy has majority support, of course, doesn’t make it right. But it does pretty much rule out using terms such as “anti-American” to describe that policy. While we’re at it, can we also ban using the terms “socialist” and “collectivist” to describe things that are neither? Sure, DeMint might be rendered practically mute. But, then again, would that be such a bad thing?

Stephen Stromberg is a Post editorial writer. He specializes in domestic policy, including energy, the environment, legal affairs and public health.


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