DEMINT WARNS OF BAILOUT ‘RIOTS’…. In general, those who warn of dire consequences for the automotive industry tend to support a rescue package. As the argument goes, the auto manufacturers are the backbone of U.S. manufacturing, and the collapse of the industry could have devastating ripple effects in the midst of a financial crisis.

On the other hand, we have Sen. Jim DeMint, a far-right Republican from South Carolina, offering a warning from the other direction. As far as he’s concerned, if the federal government rescues GM and Chrysler, there will be “riots.” Seriously.

After a press conference on the Hill yesterday, at which he explained his opposition to a rescue package for Detroit, DeMint said, “We’re going to have riots. There are already people rioting because they’re losing their jobs when somebody else is being bailed out. The fairness of it becomes more and more evident as we go along. Because the auto companies may be hurting there are very few companies that aren’t hurting and are gonna hurt. We don’t have enough money to bail everyone out.”

Now, I realize that reasonable people can disagree on the merit of the pending legislation. I don’t, however, think we’ll have “riots” based on the outcome of the bailout. What’s more, DeMint says there are “already people rioting.” I pay pretty close attention to the news, and I don’t recall hearing anything about this.

If DeMint opposes the bill, fine. But does he have to make such outrageous comments to justify his position?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.