CAN TWO PLAY AT THAT GAME?…. In the wake of the failed terrorist attack on Christmas, confused Republicans have been almost giddy about the shift in focus. As the GOP sees it, issues like the economy and health care are Democratic issues, while national security “belongs” to them, reality and their failed record notwithstanding.

This was bolstered, at least initially, by the fact that far-right Republicans rushed forward to exploit public fear to trash the White House and raise money, while congressional Democrats largely sat on their hands and kept a low profile — even though, again, there’s no reason in the world for Republicans to claim the high ground on the issue they don’t even understand.

What’s interesting, though, is that the DCCC at least says it intends to turn the tables as the midterms approach.

Democratic leadership in Congress is pledging to make Republican votes against key national security and defense funding measures a feature in the upcoming congressional elections, following the botched Christmas Day terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound airliner.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-M.D.) told the Huffington Post on Wednesday that it was the committee’s duty to ensure that, come 2010, the American people are aware that House Republicans opposed a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that included funding for airport security.

The 2010 appropriations bill contained Transportation Security Administration funding for explosives detection systems and other security measures — it was opposed by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) among others.

“It is not so much that the DCCC will be holding people accountable but the American people will be holding people accountable. They deserve to have that info and we will make sure they have it,” Van Hollen told Sam Stein. “And I’m assuming our Republican colleagues will have an opportunity to explain why they voted against additional resources for homeland security.”

(And remember, it’s not just the House.)

I don’t doubt Van Hollen’s sincerity, but it’s probably a little early to say what the driving issues of the 2010 cycle will be. The point, however, is that if national security is a major factor on voters’ minds, the DCCC believes it has a compelling pitch to voters — House Republicans voted against funding for screening operations and explosives detection systems at airports, and voted against funding for the military during two wars.

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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.