It was probably inevitable that the Republican Party would follow "Conservative of the Year" Dick Cheney off a cliff eventually, but I never thought it would happen this soon over something so obvious and so easy to avoid. Cheney's mistake was pulling the trigger on the terror exploitation machine before all the facts about the attack were in. In this particular case, the fact that Cheney was unaware of when he attacked Obama for weakness on terror was that Cheney himself had freed two of the terrorists who planned the attack on Northwest Flight 253 in 2007!
If there was ever a terror attack that Cheney should have avoided talking about, it was this one. Two terrorists that Cheney freed so they could go to an "art therapy" program in Saudi Arabia helped to plan the attack. This is not a fact you want to have to deal with when you are trying to start a debate on terrorism.
This attack was an opportunity to show a little bipartisan concern for Americans' safety. The Republican message should have been: "This attack shows that we need to work closely with the president to make certain an attack like this never happens again. Politics stops at the border."
Instead, the Republican Party launched a lot of phony and hypocritical attacks. You need to watch these videos from the Rachel Maddow Show.
Thanks to Dick Cheney, the Democratic Party now has a wealth of footage and other material for attack ads this fall. If Republicans are going to try and exploit national defense and terrorism as election issues (and they are, because they are Republicans and that is what Republicans do), then there are a couple of simple rules they need to follow.
First, before attacking Obama on terror policy double check and find out whether Dick Cheney or George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld or any other member of the Bush administration let a terrorist(s) or any members of their terror planning team out of a U.S. detention center so they could go to "art therapy" or have a weekend furlough or whatever. If you did let a terrorist out of Gitmo for "art therapy," then you should know that you have zero credibility on the issue of terrorism and you should remain quiet.
Second, have someone from your staff (or yourself, if you are comfortable doing internet research) go back and check on what you said about an earlier, similar incident if one exists. If you previously said that it was just fine for the Bush administration to try the Shoe Bomber in federal criminal court, you cannot now say that it is wrong for the Obama administration to try the Underpants Bomber in federal criminal court. If you don't know your own record and you contradict yourself, you'll come off looking like an idiot or a hypocrite.