In a recent speech, Vice President Dick Cheney trotted out the Republicans’ ugly, low-road campaign tactic of positioning themselves as strong and the Democrats as weak on national security. Nothing new there.

But what was really worth noting is that Cheney essentially called Ronald Reagan a cut-and-runner, who had emboldened the extremists with his withdrawal from Beirut in 1983. Hardball’s Chris Mathews kept re-running this quote two evenings ago, and did not even understand the political significance that Cheney was calling the hero of the conservative movement an appeaser of Islamic fascism.