President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name Wednesday, a setback for an administration still trying to explain how a man could attempt to blow up a commercial airliner on Christmas Day.
Erroll Southers said he was pulling out because his nomination had become a lightning rod for those with a political agenda. Obama had tapped Southers, a top official with the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, to lead the TSA in September but his confirmation has been blocked by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who says he was worried that Southers would allow TSA employees to have collective bargaining rights.
Southers originally took some heat because it appeared he was in favor of unionizing the TSA employees. He simply became toxic when details trickled in about activities he engaged in while an FBI agent. He tapped his ex's new boyfriend's phone and he either lied or accidentally, initially, gave false testimony about it during his hearing.
So, a year into his term, President Obama still has no TSA chief. That simply doesn't look good with his image weakened as a terror warrior by the Christmas day attempted hijacking and its aftermath. With the Massachusetts defeat and health care on the brink, this is yet another drip of bad news.