BETTER BUSH APOLOGISTS, PLEASE…. In December 2001, after Richard “Shoe Bomber” Reid used PETN to try to blow up an airplane en route to the United States, federal officials charged, convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated Reid very effectively. The case tested the federal justice system, which passed with flying colors. At the time, no one questioned or criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the case — it simply didn’t occur to anyone that the process might be controversial.

Eight years later, after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab used PETN to try to blow up an airplane en route to the United States, federal officials intend to charge, convict, sentence, and incarcerate Abdulmutallab with the professionalism and efficiency they demonstrated in 2001. Republicans and their allies are throwing a fit over the mere possibility — but they can’t explain why.

So, the question is, why the Bush administration’s approach was universally accepted without criticism, and why the Obama administration’s identical approach to an identical case is the subject of far-right apoplexy.

TPM has been working on getting an answer to this today, but the right’s intellectual firepower is shooting blanks.

Wow, this is getting pretty bad for the National Review and Marc Thiessen. Thiessen of course said that we tried Richard Reid in a regular American court since that was “long before we figured out that we had other options than handing him over” to law enforcement. But as TPM Reader RM points out, President Bush okayed military tribunals a month before Reid tried to blow up the plane.

As I said, there’s no spinning this one. There’s no reason beside GOP electoral strategy for not trying AbdulMutallab in a regular American Court. But seriously, with National Review’s august history, can’t we at least get better fake answers?

Thiessen also argued the real relevant case here was Jose Padilla, not Richard Reid. But Thiessen doesn’t know what he’s talking about — Padilla was sent to a military tribunal because officials didn’t have enough evidence to try him in a federal criminal court. The Reid and Abdulmutallab cases are identical, including the fact that evidence to convict won’t be a problem.

If we cut through the nonsense and the talking points, we’re left with the obvious answer we knew before we asked the question: Republicans and their allies want to destroy the Obama presidency, and don’t care if they have to make up garbage to suit their goals. Literally every day, and with literally every story, the usual suspects — congressional Republicans, the RNC, Fox News, National Review, The Weekly Standard, etc. — ask themselves, “How can we use this to attack the White House?” Contradictions, hypocrisy, and dishonesty are entirely irrelevant, and aren’t considered obstacles to trashing the president.

They know no limits and have no shame.

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.