Sen. Jim DeMint is one of the most polarizing political figures in the country, not surprising since he comes from one of the most polarized states. In South Carolina we mostly hear the praise and the hosannas coming from the GOP and the teabaggers. But outside of those circles he is widely regarded as a buffoon. Here is what Charles Pierce of Esquire magazine said about him in the October issue.

See it all right here:

Just this week, Senator Jim DeMint settled the basic historical issue once and for all: the Civil War was a massive waste of time, money, and human life — at least as it pertains to the great state of South Carolina.

OK, so we’d have missed out on some good songs, and that Ending Slavery thing was a good deal, and Ken Burns wouldn’t be as rich and famous, and a lot of grizzled men who like to play soldier-man dress-up would have to go back to the Star Trek conventions where they belong. I will grant you all that. But, at the very least, we would have been spared to piteous spectacle this week of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body — and, through that the World’s Greatest Republic — being seized entirely by a slick, Leviticus-mumbling grifter. DeMint is what Jesus would have been had He gone into real estate, hustling swamp properties outside Capernaum to various Galilean suckers.

This week, DeMint announced that he would employ his senatorial privileges to put a hold on virtually all legislation until after the midterm elections. After which, he anticipates giddily, the clown car will stop at the steps of the Capitol and disgorge its contents, all of whom will have the propellers on their beanies spinning in the same direction as his. This is what democratic self-government has come down to in the 21st Century — a coup DeMint.

He doesn’t really have a grip on the etiquette, though. Usually, when you seize control of the government, the first thing you do is grab the radio station, so you can explain why you did it, and then you blockade the airports to make sure you have an audience. Of course, Jim DeMint hasn’t had to bother with all that. He has the Senate Rules, and he has the will to use them, and he is, after all, from South Carolina, which has always considered its membership in the United States of America to be largely honorary….

Now, DeMint has been a prize for some time, even by the standards set by his home state. Back in 2004, during a campaign debate, he delivered himself of the opinion that gay people should not be allowed to teach in the public schools. (Needless to say, he doesn’t think they should be allowed to adopt children, or marry.) Not long after the Kenyan Usurper’s hand left the Bible, DeMint was telling people that, if the Republicans could destroy the president’s proposed health-care reform, they could “break him” — presumably, not to the saddle, but who knows with these clowns? — and that it would be Barack Obama’s “Waterloo.”

That there were some 45 million people out in the country at large who didn’t have health insurance, and that researchers at Harvard said that some 45,000 Americans died every year because they weren’t wealthy enough to keep each other alive, had nothing to do with this calculation. Only a few of them live in South Carolina, and they won’t be voting for him, or sending him any money, so what the hell.

I’m telling you, getting Fort Sumter back hasn’t been worth all this.