WHAT DEMINT CONSIDERS ‘A NEW BEGINNING’…. In the late ’90s, there was a catchy little four-chord single called, “Closing Time” from a band called Semisonic. If you listened to the radio at the time, it was hard to miss.

One of the lyrics was repeated a few times, and it always stuck in my head: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” It has a certain logic to it.

I wonder if Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has ever heard the song.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is the latest Republican to use verbal gymnastics in an attempt to muddle the Ryan budget’s changes to Medicare. In an interview with ThinkProgress this past weekend, DeMint first declared — incorrectly — that most Americans would favor a plan that privatizes Medicare. He then went on to argue that the Republican budget is “not an end of Medicare, it’s a new beginning.”

It’s been one of the oddities of the past few weeks — we’ve been stuck trying to define “end.” It’s really not that complicated, but everyone from PolitiFact to Republicans to journalists are unhappy with the left using the word to describe the GOP’s Medicare plan.

DeMint’s spin is especially interesting — he doesn’t want to “end” Medicare, he just wants to give it “a new beginning.”

Isn’t that a bit like redefining “retreat” by saying one is advancing in the other direction?

Look, semantics debates can get pretty tiresome, but this need not be complicated. If you give a program a “new beginning,” you have to end the old program. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

In this case, DeMint and his party want to end Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme. It would still be called “Medicare,” but it wouldn’t be Medicare.

It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word “end,” but if there’s a program, and it’s replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program. That’s what the verb means.

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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.