IS IT THE EXISTENTIAL THREAT OR NOT?…. It’s difficult to quantify, but I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of this kind of talk from the right lately.

Following the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack, many on the right have used the incident as a political football, trying to score partisan points on the issue of terrorism. Hate radio host Neal Boortz took this politicizing to a new level on his Twitter account yesterday, saying that the failed terrorist attack would have killed fewer people than the congressional health care bill if it is passed:

Of course, Boortz won’t acknowledge the fact that nearly 45,000 Americans are estimated to perish every year simply because they do not have access to proper health coverage. Stephen Flynn of the Center for National Policy notes that “Americans are at far greater risk of being killed in accidents or by viruses than by acts of terrorism.”

Specifically, Boortz argued, “ObamaCare will do more damage than a successful terrorist bombing of an airliner … and kill more people as well.” [ellipses in the original]

Obviously, no sane person seriously believes this. But I can’t help but notice how frequently far-right voices compare terrorism to other policy developments, and consider terrorism less dangerous.

Terrorism is bad, conservatives say, but Democrats are worse.

Terrorism is bad, conservatives say, but health care reform is worse.

Terrorism is bad, conservatives say, but unionized TSA employees are worse.

Terrorism is bad, conservatives say, but liberal federal judges are worse.

There seems to be a disconnect within the right-wing worldview. On the one hand, the standard conservative line insists that the threat posed by violent religious extremists, determined to kill Americans through acts of terrorism, is the existential threat facing the West in the 21st century. On the other hand, it’s surprisingly common to hear conservatives suggest terrorism isn’t as threatening as whatever issue has Republicans worked up on a given day.

It can’t be both.

The right should make up its mind, because at this point, it seems as if far too many conservatives aren’t taking U.S. efforts to combat terrorism seriously.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.