MAYBE DURBIN READS POLITICAL ANIMAL…. Yesterday, I argued that if congressional Democrats were smart, they’d turn the Guantanamo Bay issue around and go on the offensive. They might even try to look at this the way Republicans would.

If the situations were reversed, and Dems resisted a Bush plan to bring Gitmo detainees onto U.S. soil, I suggested this would be the talking point: “If Democrats have proof that the nation’s prisons are incapable of housing 241 suspected bad guys, or have evidence that these guards who protect us from the bad guys are untrustworthy, they should offer it. Otherwise, they should apologize to the wardens, guards, and security teams, who do important work day in and day out, and who’ve just been insulted.”

A few hours later, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was on the Senate floor, responding to Sen. Robert Bennett’s (R-Utah) argument that U.S. prison guards would “have no idea what they’re getting into” if Guantanamo detainees were held in U.S. prisons. Durbin responded:

“Some of my Republican colleagues argue that Guantanamo is the only appropriate place to hold the detainees and they said, and I quote, ‘We don’t have a facility that could handle this in the United States,’ end of quote. And American prison guards, they went on to say, quote, ‘have no idea what they’re getting into,’ close quote.

“Well, I would just say to my colleagues who made those statements, you ought to take a look at some of our security facilities in the United States, and you ought to have a little more respect for the men and women who are corrections officers and put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe and to make sure that those who are dangerous are detained and incarcerated. The reality is that we’re holding some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world right now in our federal prisons, including the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the shoe bomber, the Unibomber, and many others.” [emphasis added]

See? Was that so hard?

Steve Benen

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.