DeMint kicks off tea party event

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint

Jacquelyn Martin

This year's election is a fight, and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint is certain conservatives can win.

'If they won't see the light, make them feel the heat,' he told tea party convention attendees from all over South Carolina as he opened the two-day convention in Myrtle Beach on Sunday.

He and other speakers declared this is the year conservatives must win, equating the fall's presidential election with a battle between good and evil. DeMint drew a standing ovation for his speech, declaring there could be no compromise between conservatives and liberals.

'We have to beat them,' he said.

He urged conservatives to unite as a party, and not to 'nip at the heels of someone who's voting record isn't perfect.'

He tried to buoy voters by telling them 'we've got a lot of good candidates' in the presidential primary race, and that the voters also need to work to put the Senate back in conservative control, because 'a near majority of conservatives in the Senate are tired of the status quo.'

He recommended that whoever wins the nomination — likely the person who wins the S.C. primary, he reminded the crowd — should look to what was inspiring about the also-rans, because they all garnered some support.

'The courage of a (Michele) Bachmann,' DeMint cited, 'or the simplicity of a (Herman) Cain economic plan.'

One of the comments that earned quiet but vocal support from audience members was DeMint's contention that '50 percent of the country gets something from the government, and the other 50 percent pays for government.'

But is that true?

PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning site run by the Tampa Bay Times, fact-checked it when Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asserted it last year.

Cornyn was referring to the year 2009, and he was careful to say that a majority of people pay no 'federal income tax,' because in fact, Politifact points out, even though there are people who pay no federal income tax, they pay all kinds of other taxes, such as property tax, vehicle tax, payroll tax, city tax, school tax and sales tax.

Also, the site states, 'all but a tiny sliver of Americans without either income tax or payroll tax liability are either elderly or poor.'

DeMint was the first speaker of the weekend, opening the convention, to be followed by Rep. Joe Wilson, Rep. Tim Scott and many others. Some of Sunday's topics included 'Raging Elephants' and 'Sharia Law.'

The convention continues today with presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, as well as Gov. Nikki Haley, scheduled to speak.