DeMint’s Waterloo?

DEMINT’S WATERLOO?…. The Transportation Safety Administration doesn’t have a permanent head right now. President Obama nominated Erroll Southers, a former FBI special agent and a counterterrorism expert, to head the TSA a few months ago, and he’s already been approved by two Senate committees with bipartisan support.

But Sen. Jim DeMint, a right-wing Republican from South Carolina, has blocked Senate confirmation because he doesn’t want TSA employees to be able to join a labor union. Protecting the American public from terrorism is a priority, but for DeMint, preventing government workers from organizing is a much higher priority.

DeMint went a little further on CBS’s “The Early Show” today, arguing that there’s really no rush to filling the TSA leadership post.

A Republican senator who has been blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration complains that Democrats are trying to rush a vote on the nominee without adequate debate.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has placed a hold on the nomination of former FBI agent and police detective Erroll Southers.

Why hurry? Collective bargaining represents a bigger threat to our future than terrorists blowing up airplanes, right?

We don’t have to imagine what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot here. It’s been a while, but in advance of the 2002 midterms, the Bush administration, after initially balking at the idea, decided it wanted to create the Department of Homeland Security. Democratic senators endorsed the idea, but wanted to protect the collective bargaining rights of DHS workers.

The White House and congressional Republicans responded by arguing that Democrats are terrorist-loving traitors. Remember the ad showing Max Cleland’s image morphing into Osama bin Laden? It was all over a labor dispute relating to DHS employees.

Now we have a similar situation, only with DeMint, it’s slightly worse — he sees the threat, he knows Southers is qualified, he realizes the nation would benefit from a permanent TSA head, but DeMint is still blocking the nomination because he hates unions that much.

Any chance the Obama White House will approve Rove-like ad morphing DeMint into bin Laden? Well, no, probably not, because Democrats don’t play the game this way. But reader A.S. emailed me yesterday to argue that “DeMint just hit his Waterloo.”

All Dems have to do is swing at the slow hanging curve.