03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Flip-flopping With Jim DeMint

Sometimes you just want to hand out awards for the most outrageous, 24-hour political flip-flop on a crazy-pants conservative talking point. Enter, stage right wing, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, accusing President Obama of not using the word terrorism to describe... terrorism, even though the President has used the word a multitude of times. Even though DeMint's arguing about semantics rather than the tough realities surrounding our national security apparatus. But wait! Sen. DeMint goes away for a few hours only to return to the airwaves and enter that same stage again to say that the President "seems to be on the right approach" when it comes to counter-terrorism.

It must be hard to stick with a talking point when you're spending all your time blocking Obama Administration TSA appointees.

Hat tip to The Washington Monthly blog for spotting this latest DeMint bit of ridiculousness:

From The Washington Monthly:

DeMint's over-arching claim is that Obama has downplayed counter-terrorism by neglecting to use the word "terrorism." It's an error of fact and judgment, which was nevertheless widely picked up by news outlets.

And of course the "Obama won't call it terrorism" meme is all over the internet and media despite DeMint's later backpeddling. Dick Cheney is pushing it, among others. Just more obfuscation from the right.

Here's our President, trying to make difficult decisions about national security, trying to close Gitmo, fighting terrorism and officiating over two wars and you have conservatives like DeMint and Cheney focusing on how often President Obama says a word. Not on his actions. Not on his abilities. But word counting.

This is where they want to take our serious national security debate. To the land of word-smithing. But this is what you do when your argument is on suspect ground to begin with.

Yet what's far more disturbing is how Sen. DeMint has held up a necessary appointment to the Transportation Security Agency over a dispute about whether or not TSA employees should have collective bargaining agreements. Who knew unionization was more dangerous than terrorism? To heck with national security! Someone might want to organize!


"Sadly the Republican obstructionism of just one person, Senator DeMint, prevented TSA from having the leadership in place that the organization deserves," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. But DeMint's spokesman, Wesley Denton, said his boss is not at fault for the delay in Southers' nomination.

Counterterrorism expert Erroll Southers was nominated in September by President Barack Obama and approved by committee last month. But Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., placed a hold on the nomination because of a dispute over whether TSA workers should have collective bargaining.

Once again, rather than do the hard work of fixing our national security, being serious about the threats this nation faces and getting to work on closing the terrorist recruiting factory that is the prison at Guantanamo Bay, conservatives like Sen. DeMint are playing politics. National security is a bipartisan issue. Sen. DeMint should save his flip-flopping gamemanship for a less serious playing field.

This post originally appeared on New Security Action. New Security Action is a new organization dedicated to fighting for a progressive, smart national security policy. We are fighting to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.