DeMint does it again

DEMINT DOES IT AGAIN…. Gearing up for his re-election campaign next year, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina, arguably the chamber’s single most conservative member, is doing what all candidates in his position are doing: raising money and unveiling legislation.

Here’s his latest pitch to supporters:

I believe the only way to take back our freedom is to return to the constitutional principles our founding fathers promised in 1776. It’s upon those principles I announced my conservative alternative to President Obama’s liberal healthcare plan just yesterday.

I can’t do all this alone…. I trust that conservative activists are willing to stand behind the ideas I’ve been pushing in Washington, so I’ve set a loft [sic] goal of raising $17,760 in $17.76 increments over the next five days…. All you have to do is click here and donate $17.76.

I suppose this preoccupation with 1776 is a cute little fundraising gimmick, but it’s also rather embarrassing. As Alex Koppelman explained this morning, “[T]he Constitution wasn’t written until 1787, 11 years later. The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, but it didn’t contain ‘the constitutional principles our founding fathers promised.’ In fact, there was a whole other system of government in place in the U.S. before the Constitution was written.”

Given the constant references in DeMint’s pitch, it seems like the kind of detail he’s want to get right.

And what about the Republican senator’s “conservative alternative to President Obama’s liberal healthcare plan”? Well, as DeMint sees it, Americans would be given vouchers — $2,000 dollars for individuals, up to $5,000 for families — to go buy private insurance. Voila, universal coverage.

How would this lower health care costs? DeMint doesn’t say, probably because it wouldn’t lower costs at all. Instead of using competition to challenge insurers, DeMint would instead direct untold millions to insurance companies. He’d pay for it by scrapping TARP.

What happens when TARP money runs out? DeMint doesn’t know. What happens with Americans who can’t get insurance because of pre-existing conditions? DeMint doesn’t know. What’s to stop employers from scrapping their own plans and simply telling their employees to take the DeMint voucher? DeMint doesn’t know. What happens when costs continue to spiral out of control? DeMint doesn’t know.

Andrew Leonard said the South Carolina senator’s “plan” takes us “to a Republican fantasy-land so devoid from any moorings in reality that one is forced, willy-nilly, to admire it, irrespective of its merits. It takes true chutzpah to pull something like this off.”