The question for Junior DeMints

THE QUESTION FOR JUNIOR DEMINTS…. It’s a mistake to expect too much in the way of lucidity from the Senate’s most right-wing member, South Carolina’s Jim DeMint (R), but once in a while, he manages to raise eyebrows anyway.

We learned over the weekend that DeMint spoke a church rally late last week, and emphasized his opposition to marriage equality and reproductive rights. But he also went a little further, adding that gay people and some unmarried women “shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom.”

Note, DeMint is not just some random right-wing voice — he’s a prominent U.S. senator, a kingmaker in GOP primaries, and a possible contender for Senate Republican Leader in the next Congress. With that in mind, Josh Dorner raises a good point.

While DeMint’s extreme statements and tea party endorsements have grabbed headlines, less well-known is the fact that two political action committees controlled by DeMint — MINT PAC and the Senate Conservatives Fund — are spending millions of dollars to elect GOP candidates from coast-to-coast. According to OpenSecrets.org and a ThinkProgress review of the most independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, DeMint’s PACs have lavished nearly $2 million on fifteen GOP candidates whose success or failure at the ballot box will determine which party controls the Senate in the 112th Congress. […]

One wonders whether these and other GOP candidates, including rumored 2012 hopeful Sen. John Thune (R-SD), will continue to accept money and support from their putative leader or whether they will disavow DeMint’s hateful and extreme attack on unmarried women and gays by returning his money and refusing any further support.

That’s the way the game at least can be played. DeMint has been a generous benefactor to practically all the key far-right Senate candidates this year, including extremists like Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, and Ron Johnson. Are all of them comfortable with the arguments being offered by their key financial and political backer? Maybe some enterprising reporters covering their campaigns at the local level can ask them?

If the situations were reversed, and a powerful Democratic leader had said something similarly bizarre, it’s safe to assume the pressure on that Dem’s allies would be pretty intense, and some would likely feel compelled to give back some of the money they’d received.

In the case of the Junior DeMints, it’d be interesting to know if they’d be willing to put some distance between themselves and their far-right hero. Of course, there’s always the possibility that these folks agree with DeMint, and with a month to go before the election, that’d be good to know, too.