Sen. Jim DeMint does not like big business. The picture he paints in today's Washington Times would make you think that the feeling is mutual, but no sir. Nearly $275,000 in first quarter campaign donations from big business political action committees suggest that DeMint has more friends than he's willing to admit.
The column in the Times is in response to the national Chamber of Commerce, which gave DeMint and others low marks for opposing the federal stimulus. DeMint calls the chamber members the "corporate elite" and says that he's not their stooge.
The road back to Republican success is not to reinforce our weakened coalition of corporate interests, but to drop it altogether. Republicans shouldn't be the party of business any more than they should be the party of labor - we're supposed to be the party of freedom.
DeMint notes in the column that "the Republican Party has been portrayed by liberals (and the media) as a political country club." That same "media" donated some $6,000 to DeMint's reelection campaign in the first quarter, including money from PACs at CBS, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Motion Picture Association, and Time Warner.
And then there's this part of the column:
We should get out of the business of picking winners and losers in the marketplace. We should not care who wins in fair fights between Microsoft and Apple, between CitiGroup and community banks, or between Home Depot and mom-and-pop hardware stores. All we should demand is a fair fight.
Of course DeMint doesn't want to get in the fight between CitiGroup and community banks — he got $1,000 from the Bank of America PAC. And, as for the fight between Home Depot and mom-and-pop hardware stores, well one of those two brawlers put $2,000 in DeMint's campaign coffers and it wasn't mom and pop.
DeMint has always been an interesting study in corporate contribution contradictions. Last year, anti-earmark Demint got more than $200,000 from companies that benefited from Defense Department earmarks in the latest authorization bill. By comparison, fellow anti-earmarker John McCain got $18,000 from the same companies.
While DeMint made more from corporate PACs in the first quarter than liberals like Barbara Boxer, Evan Bayh, and Patrick Leahy, we don't want to make it sound like DeMint gets more money from corporate interests than anyone in the Senate — there are much deeper pockets on both sides of the aisle.
But this urging from DeMint that the GOP shuck the chains of big business rings a little hollow when you look at his balance sheet.