THE REAL ENEMY…. Yesterday, John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, tried to remind Americans about an important truth: “I think we have to remember who the enemy here is. The enemy is al Qaeda.”

In Minnesota, a Republican congressional candidate has offered a slightly different take on the nature of America’s enemies.

Allen Quist, a Republican candidate seeking the nomination to go up against Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), has made a serious pronouncement: That the political battle against the Democrats is the defining fight of this generation, even greater than the fight against terrorism.

“Now why am I doing this? I don’t need to be in lights, I don’t need to speak, I don’t need to be before a TV camera, I don’t need to be in the paper. I have been there, I have done all that. I don’t need to be there,” said Quist, a former state Representative who ran for governor twice in the 1990’s, and even won the state party convention’s endorsement in the 1994 primary against the incumbent moderate GOP governor.

“It’s because I, like you, have seen that our country is being destroyed. I mean, this is — every generation has had to fight the fight for freedom. This is our fight. And this is our time. This is it. Terrorism, yes — but that’s not the big battle. The big battle is in D.C., with the radicals. They aren’t liberals, they’re radicals. Obama, Pelosi, Walz — they’re not liberals, they’re radicals. They are destroying our country. And people all over are figuring that out.”

For what it’s worth, Rep. Walz, the one Quist is describing as a radical enemy of the U.S. and a more serious threat than al Qaeda, is a 24-year veteran of the National Guard, retiring as a command sergeant major and the highest ranking enlisted soldier in southern Minnesota.

It’s going to be a long year.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.