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TSA nominee Erroll Southers withdraws

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 10:18 a.m. ET

President Obama's nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew from consideration on Wednesday, saying his nomination was "obstructed by political ideology."

Erroll Southers
Erroll Southers

Erroll Southers had faced fierce opposition from Republicans ever since news surfaced that he may have misled Congress about an incident in the late 1980s involving a background check of the boyfriend of his ex-wife.

As The Eye first reported in November, Southers told senators that he asked a co-worker's husband who worked for the San Diego Police Department at the time to run a background check on his ex-wife's boyfriend.

The incident did little to stop his confirmation by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. But a day after the panel referred his nomination to the Senate, Southers told lawmakers that he himself had twice conducted the database searches, downloaded confidential law enforcement records and then passed the information on to the police department employee.

"I was extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and fulfill Secretary [Janet] Napolitano's objective to develop it into the best organization of its kind in the world," Southers said in a statement released by the White House on Wednesday. "However, it is apparent that this path has been obstructed by political ideology. I have decided, after deep reflection and in consultation with my family and friends to respectfully withdraw my name from consideration for confirmation as the assistant secretary for the TSA."

"It is clear that my nomination has become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people," Southers said. "This partisan climate is unacceptable and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue. The TSA has important work to be done and I regret I will not be part of their success."

"The President believes that Erroll Southers would have been an excellent TSA administrator but understands his personal decision and the choice he has made," said White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro.

"Southers was uniquely qualified for this job and it is with great sadness that the president accepted Southers' withdrawal. Fortunately the acting TSA Administrator is very able and we have a solid team of professionals at TSA doing vital national security work to keep us safe," Shapiro said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had planned to hold an up or down vote on Southers next week. But Republican opposition continued and requests for more information from the White House went unanswered, said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

"The Senate could have had an open and transparent debate this week to approve Mr. Southers, but apparently, answering simple, direct questions about security and integrity were too much for this nominee," DeMint said in a statement. "I hope the president will quickly put forward a new nominee that is fully vetted and that will put the safety of the American people first."

DeMint, who led GOP opposition to Southers, initially opposed him out of fear that TSA would eventually approve collective bargaining rights for airport security officers. TSA employees can join a union, but cannot collectively bargain. DeMint and other Republicans argued that union interference would jeopardize airport security.

Through a spokeswoman, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) expressed disappointment with Southers's decision. "The senator thought the combination of his law enforcement and aviation security skills uniquely qualified him to lead the TSA," a spokeswoman said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the panel's ranking Republican and the only lawmaker to ever publicly question Southers about the incident, said, "It is critically important that the White House act quickly to nominate someone with qualifications and reputation which are beyond reproach to lead this agency."

Shapiro could not say when Obama might name a new TSA nominee or whether the White House will just nominate Acting Administrator Gale Rossides to the job full-time.

Southers also testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, but the FBI censure issue never came up and it's unclear if Southers ever told the committee about the incident.

"Today our national security system lost a skilled law enforcement officer with needed expertise and leadership qualities because of political games – and that is a real shame," Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) said. "I urge my colleagues to more carefully focus on America’s security not partisanship."

Southers's withdrawal comes on an already bad day for the White House, as it attempts to salvage health-care reform efforts following Tuesday's Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race. The Obama administration has also struggled in recent months to earn Senate confirmation for several top nominees.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

More reaction to the Southers decision

RELATED: Previous Federal Eye reporting on Erroll Southers

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 20, 2010; 8:36 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Next: Reaction to Erroll Southers's decision to withdraw


see, it wasn't hard for this guy to withdraw his nomination...
now the president can find someone else...
everyone is happy...

Posted by: DwightCollins | January 20, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

In my 30 year career in the Construction industry I have worked for both union and non-union companies. Unions, like the ACLU, served a vital purpose in their time. They have both evolved in to a political parasitic machine. I can just see the TSA unionized. People going on break in the middle of their shift,and if another employee does one thing that isn't in their "job description" the person who has been "infringed" upon will be paid for not even working. I have seen things that union employees have done that would make the normal person's hair stand on end. There are some good union employees, but the few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. They are no friend to business, or management and would bring a company to its knees befire giving up "the fight"

Posted by: CaPatriot | January 20, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

TSA is in desperate need of leadership

Posted by: Freedomfighta | January 20, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The Obama administration wants DHS advisor /consultant Don Rondeau for the position. Republicans and Democrats like him... He has stated that he is not interested at a security conference.Shame.. This guy employs former directors of TSA and FEMA

Posted by: Freedomfighta | January 20, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

"this path has been obstructed by political ideology" seriously? possibly breaking the law by using government resources to do background checks on someone, not being truthful with congress?

since when is being honest and following the law "political idealogy"?

Posted by: lookersmom | January 20, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Southers may have been qualified in some sense but the chief reason for his nomination was to be a TSA union organizer sub-rosa. Nice try community organizer.

Posted by: um1967 | January 20, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The alphabet soup of federal gun-toting agencies is a mess.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 20, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, Well, Well!

Someone recognized that this man's past actions in using his position in law enforcementg for personal use was going to be an issue when added to the FACT that he forgot to disclose it before the committee voted.

People are tired of people claiming to forget things no person with an IQ over 75 would ever forget. He was taken to task by the FBI. Heck, I remember getting my but chewed out for taking a file out of the office instead of making a copy.

This all goes back to the Clintons when she could not remember where the Rose Law Firm billing records were and they were later found by a maid in a closet. Ever sionce then Democrats have fallen back on bad memories when the smell trouble.

And who could ever forget BJ Bill's "Depends on the definition of "is"

Posted by: mitchbsandlin | January 20, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

the TSA is, in many ways, the front-line of the defense of this country. they are, first and foremost, charged with the responsibility of keeping the innocent from becoming terror victims.

would we let the army, navy, air force, and marines unionize?

i don't THINK so.

horrible judgment shown here.

Posted by: yesnomaybe213 | January 20, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what else he did that he new would be investigated?? It seems to me Obama should do house cleaning. He has many Czars that need to go that have criminal past and most offal radical agenda trying to grow government and take our FREEDOMS away from us. Not good for our young people to see these kind of maneuver's made in our government. CRIME in the WH and Congress needs to be stopped. This is the most corrupt WH and Congress I can ever remember.

Posted by: drdavisdr | January 20, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

The TSA IS in dire need of leadership... The only trouble is that anyone worthy of the position has no interest in lowering their standards to match those of the TSA’s!

I think that we should give upon the TSA and focus on OBTAINABLE goals, like installing quality leadership at the DOJ and HHS!

Posted by: ITSec_Guy | January 20, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The TSA unionizing is just another CORRUPT move by the Democrats. Get all the Gov't workers in a union, take their money, pass it to Democratic political players. It stinks.

Posted by: pgr88 | January 20, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

This is a huge loss for national security and homeland defense. Erroll was uniquely qualified to lead the TSA. He is a terrorism expert and a man of unquestionable integrity. It is unfortunate that a few throwdowns can obstruct a noble man and mission.

Posted by: MikeDayton1 | January 20, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

It took Obama nine months to appoint someone, and he did it on 9/11. Using FBI files for personal vendettas has nothing to do with political ideology. Obama's decisions to bring terrorists to US soil for trial are more of a threat to National Security that any stalling about appointing a head of the department. The employees should be able to join a union, however. The auto unions were a factor in the demise of the auto industry, but there are some unions that keep people from living at a poverty level. There are two sides to that story also.

Posted by: eaglesnest1 | January 20, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that the Dems were all aquiver over the "snooping" that Bush/Cheney did to keep us safe but this guy, who's done way more instrusive snooping for personal gain, no less, is just perfect for a federal job. Talk about hypocrites.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 20, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

It took Obama nine months to appoint someone, and he did it on 9/11. Using FBI files for personal vendettas has nothing to do with political ideology. Obama's decisions to bring terrorists to US soil for trial are more of a threat to National Security that any stalling about appointing a head of the department. The employees should be able to join a union, however. The auto unions were a factor in the demise of the auto industry, but there are some unions that keep people from living at a poverty level. There are two sides to that story also.

Posted by: eaglesnest1 | January 20, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

no one has addressed Mr. Southers pronouncements on government inflitrating oppositon groups and monitoring social networks....
European centralizing(DHS) and Admininstrative law(PatActs) have changed our government(and the philosophy of appointees like Southers) to sycophantic serving of the State and its power.
American Constitutional republican government pitched in the name of "security".
Just like the "Federal" Reserve Bank "conservatives" want "conservatives" to make these European-like entitities "more conservative" and "more efficient".
NOT about challenging LET ALONE QUESTIONING the rank socialism or unConstitutionality of them.
Mr Southers will be replaced by another brick in the wall.
it will be "bipartisan" too....

Posted by: ChrisBieber | January 20, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Jim Demint for refusing to go with the flow of more questionable characters from the Obama crew.Southers joins Anita Dunn,Van Jones and assorted other misfits under the Obama bus!

Posted by: bowspray | January 20, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Chief Southers is qualified, he leads one of the largest airport police departments in the nation, although there has been a lot of in fighting between the LAWA police and the LAPD police. There was a scandal a while back about LAWA police time cards, not sure if he was in charge then.

But, I was very disturbed with his testimony that concentrated on "right wing Christian extremists" as the primary threat to domestic US security. Using that canard over and over again when recent events point to Islamic radicals, even home grown, as the key threat to domestic security seems to show he has blinders on and will not admit the real issue with domestic and aviation security. I know dozens of law enforcement (lahr enfawcement as Bill Bratton would say) officials more qualified to lead TSA.

Posted by: USAF05RET | January 20, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

mr president you need to quit trying to pay back political favors by bringing in the corruption of unions start hiring vets to run the airports they don't need a union and they have skill sets that cannot be found in fat lazy corrupt unions get a grip. PUT VETS TO WORK FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY SAKE.

Posted by: bittingtomcat2001 | January 20, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

We had a Vice President and a complicit Congress that busted the constitution to you know where and back and the GOP objects to this indiscretion? All the while we don't have a TSA director that endangers the country? I am infuriated at this kindergarten petty politics that puts everyone at risk because someone ego was bruised. Fat chance I'll ever vote for a Republican again.

Posted by: stanassc | January 20, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The same people who now say that he could have been approved this week are those who would bring up incidents that were nearly 20 years old and happened in a different time in both the nominee's life and our country's history. Let not the sanctimonious among the Senate speak too loudly, lest their past or their future acts betray them.

Saying you would have but not having to do it is easy, but putting up is harder than shutting up. The Grand Obstructionist Party strikes again.

Posted by: ronjeske | January 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe it is a partisan climate so much as a Power Climate. The dialog consisted of one word, "change". The change we need has nothing to do with parties. We need to put the power back with the people. Czars!? Was that on our voting agenda? Obama should do house cleaning? Check out his background, you have many to choose from. And speaking of climate, have you seen a lot of that sun we need to survive?

Posted by: wildernesslight | January 20, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Cannot believe this man was even nominated, let alone considered for seven months. His past conduct accessing info on the ex wife's boyfriend and himself says it all. Behaviors indicative of a domestic abuser and stalker. Makes you wonder what he got away with?

Posted by: happyjysfree | January 20, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Now that Southers has dropped out. I hope the Obama Administration taps Bill Brandt for the post. Brandt is running for Illinois 10th District Democratic State Central Committeeman. Brandt has the perfect academic credentials and work experience for the job - (master's degree from Harvard University and master's and doctorate degrees in international economic development from the University of Chicago, and learned the basics of the turnaround trade as an "on and off" contract worker for the Central Intelligence Agency in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Washington and the University of Chicago). Oh wait, according to the New York Times (2/5/97), Brandt has a conviction for falsely testifying his academic credentials and work experience.

Posted by: hearhear | January 20, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Do we a czar responsible for Basic Politics 101 in the West Wing, or does Obama erroneously listen to Rahm, whose political background was based on Politics>Cook County Style? ,,,, does the President realize that his Presidency is hurting to some extent by terrible political decisions????

Posted by: connyankee1 | January 20, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Do we have a czar responsible for Basic Politics 101 in the West Wing, or does Obama erroneously listen to Rahm, whose political background was based on Politics>Cook County Style? ,,,, does the President realize that his Presidency is hurting to some extent by terrible political decisions????

Posted by: connyankee1 | January 20, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

It appears that this character was your standard political hack in bed with the union thugs.

Posted by: JohnRice | January 20, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Good. The guy is an embarrassment. I don't generally like Republicans, but they did Obama and the country a favor with their opposition.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | January 20, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"centered around"? Oh, it's Ed O'Keefe.

Posted by: dantesview | January 20, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Obama nominates a corrupt and incompetent crony.

What else is new?

In his sleazy, Chicago-style politics of bribes, kickbacks, and payoffs, Obama has made all appointments not on qualification, but on the concept of "what in it for me.”

Posted by: Jerzy | January 20, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't see anything wrong at all with the Acting Director. She seems to have a very good, if not perfect, background necessary to facilitate this position properly and effectively.

Posted by: not4n | January 20, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

During my 35 years in Law Enforcement the checking of names for personal goals would lead to denial of my access NCIS. How do you support a person who in the past asked for information on a ex/spouse friends. There have been Police Officers, in WA State dismissed for checking vehicle lic. numbers of people they wanted information about. The access of personal information is a sign to me he would not stop at checking for himself as he would have his own access to the information and not involve a third party. There should be a investigation on the identity of the person who obtained this information for him the past. Steps should be taken to secure personal information for personal reasons!

Posted by: BlueBear35 | January 20, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Maybe after a year of failing to fully vet their candidates, the White House will start paying attention to details. The White House bungled this nomination and meanwhile there is no one fully in charge at TSA and the folks at the top, Napalitano and the AZ mafia ain't (sic) got a clue. It's time the Dems on the Hill start doing their job and not march in lock-step with 1600 PA Ave. At least the Republicans were not asleep at the switch on this issue.

Posted by: paulosfm1 | January 20, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

He resigned because of "political agenda." Translation: We Republicans didn 't want another corrupt Obama nominee in a very important position. It's laughable that the Democrats/Liberals always think what they want is the right thing to do. Anyone who opposes them obviously has an "agendum." You're right, though, Hypocrats, we do all have agenda. We're retaking this country!

Posted by: georges2 | January 20, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Spring_Rain | January 20, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

an early event in the post-Kennedy age!

Mr. Southers can now spend a happy retirement rifling through people's confidential files at his leisure.

And with luck the Administration can find a nominee with a modicum of respect for the privacy of her fellow citizens. She will, after all, be in charge of body cavity searches at the nation's airports.

Posted by: miglefitz | January 20, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

This took way too long...

Posted by: demtse | January 20, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

cannot these people find ANYONE that is not a political hack,that is qualified,ethical and just plain honest?

Posted by: pofinpa | January 20, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Unions? Good Grief! Holy Smokes! Do we need any further evidence of the communist takeover of this country? (I forget, are there any communists left?) Thank God we have the Republicans, with their 41% majority, in charge again.

Posted by: dane1 | January 20, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Another Obama crony bites the dust.

These people are like cockroaches, you get rid of one and two others, just as bad, or worse, are waiting to take their place.

This fight is never ending.

Posted by: ComradeRahcuk | January 20, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

What is it with this litany of kooks that Obama keeps sending up? Incompitano needs to resign along with this guy withdrawing his nomination. then find someone with a brain to be the AG, i.e., someone who doesn't think enemy combatants deserve all of our rights in a civilian court. This is the worst administration in the history of this country.

Posted by: MainstreamCoalition | January 20, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if "Joe-the Plumber" would approve of Mr. Southers being in charge of enforcing the "no-fly list" huh?

Y'know, it's a federal offense for the 'little people" (most cops and dispatchers, etc.) to misuse the NCIC (unless you're with the administration and trying to skewer a potential politial icon or your ex-wife's boyfriend.)

Oooh, bad republican, no donut for me...

Posted by: merica_luvr | January 20, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I guess he didn't want to answer any more questions so he didn't have to lie or be evasive anymore. If I had done an inappropriate records check on my ex-wife's boy friend, I certainly would remember it. And I certainly would be willing to answer a simple question about whether TSA employees should be represented by a union--my opinion is they shouldn't. And there should be many people out there as well or better qualified than this guy. President Obama should make this appointment a priority and find an honest and experienced person to fill this position.

Posted by: bigtom6156 | January 20, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Another ACORN member sent packing.

Mass. electing a REP.

Today is turning out to be quite nice.

Posted by: askgees | January 20, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

It is easy to poke at working people when you don't know anything about their job and have never walked in their shoes.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone............

Posted by: traynj | January 20, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

When a search for qualified employees requires specific politics and/or pigmentation, that severely limits the field.

Posted by: eldergent | January 20, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Zippidy do da zippy yay! It's back to the cotton fields!

Posted by: Jeffersoda | January 20, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

by Douglas Kinan -

Hey Erroll, you still don't get it. This is about conduct, actions and behavior.

Someone must have dropped a dime on you and you got caught for past illegal actions.

Lawbreaking has nothing to do with "political ideology" or anyone's "political agenda."

You didn't "mislead" Congress. You broke the law and then you lied about lying. Your FBI background, training and experience should tell you - that’s lying.

Even worse, it appears that you were not paying attention to President Obama's "audacity of hope" and “reclaiming the American dream” message. You knew you had “unclean hands” when your name was submitted for consideration.

You should have known the vetting process would ferret out your lawbreaking, deception and dirty work, yet you allowed your conduct to taint others by allowing the process to go forward - the epitome of fraud, waste and abuse. What does your actions say about good character and solid integrity?

What reasonable person thinks that you have the ability and were qualified to provide "safety and security" to the American people when you have already demonstrated that you made deliberate efforts to cause harm?

What reasonable person thinks you withdrew your name?

What reasonable person thinks the President "is with great sadness" that you are no longer a candidate?

My only regret, which I cannot do anything about, is that my taxpayer dollars are paying some of your salary and I resent it.

According to your "deep reflection" and the record you created, you should not be trusted in any government job.

Good luck, Erroll.

Posted by: dougkinan | January 20, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

It is true that Southers made a huge mistake in using the database to research his ex-wife's boyfriend. I, a conservative Republican, would stop short of calling him a stalker if there is no credible evidence supporting such a claim. He should have fully admitted his error. It might not have saved him, but he would be able to walk off clean, knowing he never hid from the truth.

I think there are many writing here taking too much glee in this bad situation. First, the country is as safe as it can be. There is adequate leadership on hand to ensure against further attacks on us. I do think Secretary Napolitano should step up and either admit her failure to lead, or resign due to same. At her level it is inappropriate to say "the system worked" when it clearly did not do so. Will she ever have the courage to step up and say, "We need to do a better job of PROFILING possible terrorists," well, it seems unlikely at present. So, do the necessary, or just resign.

For those that play partisan with this I have a simple thing to say. The Democrats, Republicans, and Independents currently serving are all bad apples. They all should be voted out, and term limits put in place to prevent another crew getting in and so corrupt as a group. It is in our best national interest to do this, soon. We should also enact tort reform, the trial lawyers are destroying our business community. We should also enact educational reform allowing state and local boards of education to manage education. We should, through the Commerce Department, ensure that every company has Employee Relations specialists and this business entity should be an independent executive function reporting to a non-employee board member. In this way we can get the Unions out of the business of trying to run companies. We also should kill the "union card" deal where it sits. No way that makes any sense.

Posted by: jumpDOG | January 20, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Spring_Rain | January 20, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Another ACORN member sent packing.

Mass. electing a REP.

Today is turning out to be quite nice.

Posted by: askgees | January 20, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

WARNING: TOO MANY OF THOSE POSTING HERE ARE POLITICAL HACKS, BENT ON A ME-FIRST AGENDA, willing to say almost anything to make us sick. America, a country of strong people concerned about their neighbors and their communities, did not fall to Joe McCarthy and fanatics then, and we all know socialism is only to be used by the rich, for the rich, like the banks and wall streeters. Ever notice? The unions made our society and our economy strong; today with less than 20% of jobs unionized; and profiteers having outsourced so much of our creative and productive capacity; and our waging costly war over energy and raw resources we should have been cooperatively buying; our economy is crippled and on life support. Let us not fall to the modern day fascists, rabid as they may become. Why do you hate and fear so much?

What, you're perfect and no one else is? The other side is evil and hypocritical because there are points of view, needs and goals beyond yours?

As you grow up, I hope you learn more about what it takes to make the world a safer, happier and more abundant place to live.

Posted by: seen2much | January 20, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Chuck Colson went to jail for doing the same thing regarding Daniel Ellsberg.

Shouldn't Southers be prosecuted?

So much for "change" and "tough ethical standards."

Posted by: superman8472 | January 20, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Please, no more Harvard graduates and certainly not from the state of Illinois. Mr. Brandt would be a horrible choice. As for mr. Southers, someone suggested that his past indescretions were very minor and that he has impeccable qualificatiions. I find that highly amusing and absolutely incredible. I would think that finding an excellent candidate out there would not be that difficult. Just vet them prior to nomination.

Posted by: chase323 | January 20, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

White House-do the right thing, nominate STEPHEN MCHALE as TSA Administrator. He is the former deputy administrator of the TSA, a true homeland security expert, a lawyer of unimpeachable integrity-HE IS YOUR MAN WHITE HOUSE-DO IT!

Posted by: Spring_Rain | January 20, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It amazes me that the WaPo attracts conservabot trolls to its site with such regularity. I'm also amazed at the obnoxious racism shown by these people on here by references to "sending Southers back to the cotton fields," and the WaPo's inability to respond to their racism. I guess it must think that putting these peoples' racism on display is a stinging rebuke of such individuals.

It also amazes me that this White House and the Senate got rolled over by James DeMint, one of the nastiest, most bigoted politicians South Carolina has sent us. The unionizing issue was/is a total red herring, and as usual, Reid and Obama lacked the backbone to tell DeMint to sod off. Even Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman have publicly stated that DeMint is out of line, but no dice, I guess.

Posted by: jaysit | January 20, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Too bad he did not take the rest of the tax cheats and law-breakers in the Obama administration with him.

Posted by: JCM-51 | January 20, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama could have appointed Southers during the Christmas recess. But no, he wanted bipartisanship. When is this wimp going to understand that the only thing he can do to satisfy the Republicans is resign or die.

Posted by: sjpatejak | January 20, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What this whole tawdry affair of Mr. Southers lying to the FBI and then continuing to be supported by Democrats is actually reflective of is the ethical race to the bottom instituted by Karl Rove and his ilk. With Rove’s, Cheney’s and especially the all-time poster child of shameless political perjury, dissembling, quibbling and lying, Alberto (“I don’t recall”) Gonzales, the legal bar for accountability for the truthfulness of politically-related testimony is non-existent. It’s ironic that the political motive of Jim DeMint’s opposition to Souther’s nomination had nothing to do with his untruthfulness (Republicans themselves no longer have any concept of what “truth” is, or what it means) and everything to do with fear that Southers would (gasp!) encourage the unionization of TSA rank and file employees.

Posted by: billvaughn | January 20, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately for all of us
Obama's nominees, including Southers,
Haven't been able to keep their mouths shut
About their unconventional "druthers".

Posted by: Gonzage1 | January 20, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't have opposed Souther's nomination on the grounds De Mint originally claimed as his reasons... unionization or not of a bogus, unnecessary bureaucracy really doesn't move me. I'm somewhat more disturbed by a high-ranking police official exploiting his position for personal reasons... we've had quite enough already, from Nixon's "plumbers" to the current NSA and that masterpiece of doublespeak, the Patriot Act.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | January 20, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness, I would not feel safe!

Posted by: Kansasgirl | January 20, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"I'm...amazed at the obnoxious racism shown by these people on here by references to "sending Southers back to the cotton fields," and the WaPo's inability to respond to their racism. I guess it must think that putting these peoples' racism on display is a stinging rebuke of such individuals."

I agree with jaysit's assessment of such comments, but I rather think that putting their idiocies on display IS a pretty effective denouncement (one they really accomplish themselves). I'm all for letting KKK nutters march, too... though I wish, in both cases, that we could pull off their hoods and see their faces.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | January 20, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I worked for the airlines prior to and post 9/11. I come from a hard working family who loves this country and truly believes the threat to our country comes from outside of our borders. I think I can run the TSA. Hire me! (You don't know me, but I am using sarcasm because I know I am not qualified, yet people like Southers are just because he worked for the FBI?) Cronyism at its best if you ask me. You can take the man out of Chicago (political cronyism) but you can't take the Chicago (political cronyism)out of the man!!!

Posted by: agespeaks | January 20, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Great job those Congressmen did a few weeks ago when they confronted Obama about his nominee.........Southers is a "liar"

But if Obama had his way he would be employed by the tax payer of America and I am one of those tax payers and "I am very glad that he will be looking for work other places"

One less "crook" in the White House.


Posted by: paulann1 | January 21, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Wow now he seems like a really cool dude!


Posted by: clermontpc | January 21, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama already knows how bad his administration is looking right now. I'm impressed by how many people who participate of this blog don't know what they are talking about. TSA will have collective bargaining soon because the people who run it have been more interested in approving expensive contracts with their buddies than observing the need of the employees who are the ones who actually keep the traveling public safe. I would rather have a well trained, ready for anything officer than a nice looking gizmo that doesn't work (like the puffer) and costed hundreds of thousands of dollars even if that officer is unionized. In your quest for cheap labor and money in your friends' pockets the agency has forgotten the reason why they are there and apparently the peop;e who have participated of this blog too. I am a security officer for TSA and if any of you go through what I go through every day you would quit on the spot. Let me give you an example if the clock is off and you get there "late" you get written up. they decide who gets splits shifts and after seven years in the agency I have to work grave yard because there were no options to bid. A part-timer who got there a year ago is having a relationship with high ranking manager and she gets second shift with sat. and sundays off. Would you like collective bargaining rights, ithink you would.

Posted by: manny7 | January 27, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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