But a serious argument is not what Democrats are seeking. They want the killer sound bite, the silver bullet to take down McCain. According to Politico, they have found it: "Dems to hammer McCain for '100 years.'"
The device? Charge that McCain is calling for a hundred years of war. Hence:
-- "He (McCain) says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq" (Barack Obama, Feb. 19).
-- "We are bogged down in a war that John McCain now suggests might go on for another 100 years" (Obama, Feb. 26).
-- "He's (McCain) willing to keep this war going for 100 years" (Hillary Clinton, March 17).
-- "What date between now and the election in November will he (McCain) drop this promise of a 100-year war in Iraq?" (Chris Matthews, March 4).
Why, even a CNN anchor (Rick Sanchez) buys it: "John McCain is telling us ... that we need to win even if it takes 100 years" (March 16).
As Lenin is said to have said: "A lie told often enough becomes truth." And as this lie passes into truth, the Democrats are ready to deploy it "as the linchpin of an effort to turn McCain's national security credentials against him," reports David Paul Kuhn of Politico.
Hence: A Howard Dean fundraising letter charging McCain with seeking "an endless war in Iraq." And a Democratic National Committee press release in which Dean asserts: "McCain's strategy is a war without end. ... Elect John McCain and get 100 years in Iraq."
The Annenberg Political Fact Check, a nonprofit and nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, says: "It's a rank falsehood for the DNC to accuse McCain of wanting to wage 'endless war' based on his support for a presence in Iraq something like the U.S. role in South Korea."
The Democrats are undeterred. "It's seldom you get such a clean shot," a senior Obama adviser told Politico. It's seldom that you see such a dirty lie.
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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