THEY NEVER LEARN…. At some point a few weeks ago, Republicans decided that the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was a political winner. They’d rant and rave about the Obama administration putting terrorists in U.S. “neighborhoods,” and Democrats, the theory goes, would back away from a sensible policy.

The argument was absurd, of course, and I’d hoped congressional Democrats would ignore the fearmongering. It looks like the minority party still knows exactly how to push the majority party’s buttons.

President Barack Obama’s allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison next January, a top Democratic official said Tuesday.

With debate looming on Obama’s spending request to cover military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official says Democrats will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo’s 241 detainees. […]

It appears to be a tactical retreat. Once the administration develops a plan to close the facility, congressional Democrats are likely to revisit the topic, provided they are satisfied there are adequate safeguards.

So, this isn’t a total collapse in the face of Republican complaints, just a temporary collapse, to be reconsidered later.

As for Republicans, who used to believe the Commander in Chief had complete and exclusive authority over these matters, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is still pushing a measure to block any and all Gitmo detainees from stepping foot on U.S. soil, for a trial or for their detention. His GOP colleagues are enthusiastic about the measure.

How pathetic. Inhofe may be criminally dimwitted, but even he probably realizes that there are already plenty of terrorists serving out sentences in American facilities, which are awfully good at keeping bad guys locked up for life. Can’t GOP lawmakers pretend to be grown-ups on this?

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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.