EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS GOOD NEWS FOR REPUBLICANS…. If facts, history, evidence, and reality have no meaning whatsoever — and they may not — then this makes sense.

Republicans are jumping on President Obama’s response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner as the latest evidence that Democrats do not aggressively fight terrorism to protect the country, returning to a campaign theme that the GOP has employed successfully over the past decade. […]

The result of the GOP offensive could be to create doubt, even fear, among the American public that Obama cannot protect them…. [I[f the public remains concerned about the safety of air travel and about international terrorism, the Republican attacks on Obama could be “very influential,” said Andrew Kohut, a veteran pollster and president of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

“I don’t know if it has legs, but it certainly has potential if it has legs,” Kohut said.

By all appearances, it doesn’t matter if the Republican attacks are baseless and ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if Republican national security policies failed. It doesn’t matter that Republicans are more anxious to denounce the president than they are to denounce terrorism.

What matters now is what mattered before — whether GOP voices can create and exploit just enough misguided panic and fear to benefit politically. If they can shout “soft on terror” often enough, and the media overlooks all available evidence, maybe the public won’t notice how ridiculous the Republican lies really are.

Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said the attempted attack on Christmas is “a black eye” for the administration. It takes about three seconds of actual thought to realize how absurd this is. Was 9/11 “a black eye” for Bush/Cheney? How about the anthrax attacks? Or Richard Reid? Or the attacks against U.S. allies around the world? And the terrorist attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?

If I didn’t know better, I might think terrorists trying to kill Americans under a Republican administration is good news for the GOP, while terrorists trying to kill Americans under a Democratic administration is also good news for the GOP. When terrorists try to kill Americans under a Republican administration, it’s Democrats’ responsibility to help bring the country together against a common foe. When terrorists try to kill Americans under a Democratic administration, it’s Republicans’ responsibility to attack the White House, undermine American confidence, and create a climate of fear and division.

The Washington Post reported, “The health-care debate demonstrated how successful Republicans and their allies can be in selling a message to the American people, even when some of their facts are in doubt.” That’s one of my favorite sentences in a long while — Republicans can’t govern, and don’t understand public policy, but they have a unique ability to convince the public that their lies might be true.

Reality is stubborn, and the facts aren’t on Republicans’ side. The trick is getting Americans to notice.

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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.