You've got to hand it to Jim DeMint -- he's pretty consistent.
Last week, DeMint was the only member of the U.S. Senate to vote against a tax credit for businesses that hire military veterans. You know, the troops.
"We're pandering to different political groups with programs that have proven to be ineffective," the senator told McClatchy newspapers. "All Americans deserve the same opportunity to get hired. I cannot support this tax credit because I do not believe the government should privilege one American over another when it comes to work."
Since when did veterans become a political group?
With all due respect to the senator, which isn't much, military veterans -- for all that they have done for this country -- deserve all the special treatment they can get.
This is complicated?
The legislation in question would give employers (you know, "job creators") a tax credit of between $2,400 and $9,600 for hiring unemployed vets and keeping them on for at least a year.
DeMint is correct when he says that this isn't going to solve the world's problems. And if it's a political stunt, which is what he called it, then perhaps he's just mad that the Democrats thought of it first. Because it is a stunt with the best intentions at heart.
That tax credit might be just enough incentive to convince some business that it can afford to hire another person. And if it doesn't, no harm is done.
If DeMint is really worried about complicating the tax code -- his lame excuse -- how about repealing some of those nice tax exemptions for companies that have been living la vida loca while the rest of the country suffers through a recession?
Of course, tax breaks are only for big corporations that fund re-election campaigns. If DeMint -- who in his finest moment said no to the bank bailout -- really wants to make a difference, he should work on cleaning up those tax complications.
And leave the veterans alone.
DeMint joked that his refusal to play politics with this bill would likely cost him back home.
You think? South Carolina is home to a good number of veterans, and an 11 percent unemployment rate, which is one of the highest in the nation. Those are two factors he should have taken into consideration.
Congress doesn't do enough for veterans, and this is a token gesture. At the very least, combat veterans should get free health care for life. That's not jingoism, it's gratitude.
For all the conventional wisdom that the GOP is the party of the military, it is usually the one to support cuts to the G.I. bill or health benefits for veterans. Sad but true.
But in this case, every other Republican and every Democrat in the Senate went along with this idea. Given the climate in Washington, when anything the other side proposes is wrong, that was a fairly significant vote.
That makes it seem like the only one who was playing politics was DeMint.