Sen. DeMint kicks off S.C. tea party convention in Myrtle Beach

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 party 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 Bachmann,” DeMint cited, “or the simplicity of a 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 says, “all but a tiny sliver of Americans without either income tax or payroll tax liability are either elderly or poor.”

Another assertion DeMint put forth was the idea that “We are going to have some kind of meltdown in our monetary and credit system. I just hope we make it to November.”

But economists say the recession that began in 2007 is the worst the United States has experienced since the Great Depression, triggered by such factors as “easy credit terms” and the housing bubble, increased debt, over leveraging, predatory lending and deregulation, and leading to global economic crisis.

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.”

Before DeMint, though, Horry County Councilman Al Allen prayed for the country, and that voters would do what he said is the right thing, saying “it has to be fought.”

State coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots Joe Dugan said the country has “been stolen from us by the Socialist/Marxist movement.”

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

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