The conventional wisdom in Washington is that the Republican Party is so weakened by its numbers, both in polls and in seats held, that resisting this highly popular president will only make the predicament worse.

But look what has happened between former Vice President Cheney and President Obama. Democrats rejoiced when Cheney, considered the most unpopular of Republicans, came out strongly against the Obama policies in the War on Terror.

He called the closing of the Guantanamo prison camp unwise. He said the same of the Obama ban on the harsh interrogation methods. Cheney also attacked the release of classified legal memos revealing those interrogation techniques, while blocking or censoring information on what those techniques accomplished.

He not only succeeded in putting the President on the defensive, as the Obama speech last week made clear, but look at what else has happened: The Senate has refused to fund the closing of Guantanamo. Obama is saying that some terror war prisoners may have to be held indefinitely and the Bush program of military tribunals for terror suspects has been revived. The Cheney policies and the Cheney arguments have clearly gained ground.

Republicans considering what to do about the Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination might keep that in mind. The president is popular and his nominee may be too, but that does not mean that her views on race and the law will also be popular.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for FOX News Channel.