Campaign Zingers

Yes, they both do it.

The Democrats' political literature often makes it sound like heartless Republicans, given the chance, would erase every piece of social legislation extant, starting with Social Security.

Untrue, of course.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee's test mailing of a letter urging contributors to keep Democrats from laying the country open to a nuclear attack from North Korea seems a classic of its kind - a lesson in how far superpartisan politics can still venture into the twilight zone.

The North Koreans are unpredictable, without question. But they've recently backed off from test-firing a new long-range missile, and they've moved back toward meaningful negotiations with the United States of late.

They're not so foolhardy as to risk annihilation by lobbing an untested atomic bomb on Alaska. And the missile defenses allegedly held back by a Democratic administration don't yet exist in the United States armory.

Ah well, maybe it's a delayed Republican response to the notorious Democratic 1964 "daisy" TV ad, which implied a Barry Goldwater presidency would lead to mushroom clouds. That ad ran only once, but it has stuck in the national mind as the acme of campaign-driven overkill.

You'd hope the lesson might have been learned.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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