THE HEIGHT OF CRAVENNESS…. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, has been desperately trying to exploit the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas for political gain. But even by Hoekstra’s low standards, this is one of the more craven displays of any politician this year.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is now jumping upon the Northwest Airlines attack — and using it to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign, the Grand Rapids Press reports.

In the letter, Hoekstra denounces the Obama administration on a whole range of national security issues — ranging from Flight 253 itself to Guantanamo Bay, investigation of the interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration, and what Hoekstra calls Obama policies that “impress the ‘Blame America First’ crowd at home and his thousands of fans overseas.”

First, when a Republican’s first instinct in the wake of an attempted attack is to blame the president and U.S. officials for the terrorist’s actions, he’s more or less joined the “Blame America First” crowd.

Second, as a substantive matter, Pete Hoekstra is completely, demonstrably wrong about every aspect of national security policy.

And third, just how pathetic does a politician have to be to try to raise money off the attempted murder of hundreds of innocent Americans? Just how desperate does that politician have to be to see a plot to blow up an airplane over American soil and think, “You know, maybe I can exploit this to pick up a few checks.”

Looking back over the last several years, Hoekstra has long been an embarrassing buffoon, especially on matters of national security. But he didn’t go quite this far — blaming the president for a terrorist’s actions, trying to use attempted murder to fill his campaign bank account — until very recently. It seems as if Pete Hoekstra is anxious to make the transition from hapless clown to pernicious hack.

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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.