David Paul Kuhn at The Politico reports how the Democrats are and will continue to demagogue McCain’s ‘100 years in Iraq’ comment as a way to define his candidacy:
John McCain is scheduled to deliver a major foreign policy speech Wednesday in Los Angeles, one with a heavy Iraq focus, but chances are, Democrats won’t be listening. They’ve already distilled his views into an easy-to-remember formulation: 100 years of war.
It is a reference to an offhand remark made by McCain in January about the possible duration of the U.S. presence in Iraq, a comment that Democrats now portray as the equivalent of the McCain Doctrine.
Though it’s not exactly an accurate representation of McCain’s views, Democratic strategists view the “100 years” remark as the linchpin of an effort to turn McCain’s national security credentials against him by framing the Vietnam War hero as a warmonger who envisions an American presence in Iraq without end.
Both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama began citing McCain’s remark in Democratic debates not long after he made it, and their campaigns have stepped up the focus in recent weeks.
On a recent conference call with reporters, Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s bulldog operative, mentioned four times in two minutes that John McCain “wants to be in Iraq for 100 years.”
“Instead of offering an exit strategy for Iraq, he’s offering us a 100-year occupation” said Obama last week, in a speech marking the five-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
McCain never actually went so far as to call for a century-long occupation. Rather, in response to a New Hampshire town hall questioner who asked about President Bush’s statement that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for 50 years, McCain interrupted and said, “Make it 100.”
“We’ve been in South Korea … we’ve been in Japan for 60 years” he continued. “We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, that’s fine with me. I hope that would be fine with you, if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day.”
The Captain notes that this strategy could backfire big time:
Barack Obama’s chief military adviser offered the exact same advice five years ago. The distortion of McCain’s remarks about how the US can secure its interests in the region has already been featured on the campaign website on Obama despite his association with General Merrill “Tony” McPeak and McPeak’s identical argument at the beginning of the Iraq invasion:
Democrats, especially Barack Obama, need to explain the difference between McPeak and McCain. There isn’t any. McPeak even made this argument while opposing the invasion. That’s why Factcheck calls this a “rank falsehood” and a “serious distortion”. Politifact calls Obama’s rhetoric on this “false”.
Unless the Democrats want to argue that we’ve been at war in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, they haven’t got an argument. All they have are stupidity, lies, or a mix of both.
Whatever it takes to win, right?