Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Barack Obama's campaign, via David Axelrod, is claiming that Barack Obama did not know that Bill Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn had belonged to the Weathermen and set bombs.
Sad to say, I believe that this is a rank lie.
I was a corporate lawyer in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, just like the Obamas. I was far less interested in local politics than the Obamas, who were building a career based on it, but even I knew of Ayers and Dohrn -- Dohrn, mostly -- and that they were fixtures in Hyde Park. Indeed, one of the partners in my firm -- a sort of contrary guy who liked saying edgy things to provoke a response -- made a point of talking about what nice people they were now that they had stopped blowing stuff up. To me it is literally inconceivable that a politically active lawyer living in Hyde Park in the 1980s and 1990s would not have known who Dohrn and Ayers were. Even if Barack was too not-of-the-world to have noticed, it is unfathomable to me that Michelle would not have known. There is therefore virtually no chance that neither Barack or Michelle knew who Ayers and Dohrn were when they were invited over to their house.
Either Barack Obama is, through Axelrod, lying about when he learned that Ayers and Dohrn were bomb-setters, or he was blinkered to the point of pathology.
MORE: CNN -- yes, that CNN -- is actually on the story. Do not fail to watch this video.
To be clear, I do not particularly care what Barack Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers might be. However, it is an obviously legitimate line of inquiry, not because it suggests that Obama supports "terrorism," but rather that he grew up politically in a mileu that was very comfortable for unrepentant Sixties radicals. To the extent that we are trying to understand the "real" Barack Obama -- cool post-pivot "present"-voting moderate or deep-down pink who will govern more left than he campaigns -- the extent of the Ayers/Obama friendship is evidence that is both legitimate and probative.
STILL MORE: A reader emails: "Obama is lying and so is Axelrod. David Axelrod knows damned well that Obama and his wife knew who these people were. Hell, I was living in Berwyn and still clearly knew who Bernadette Dorn was." OK, it is Bernadine Dohrn, not "Bernadette Dorn," but that's just the Berwyn talking [UPDATE: My correspondent blames it on "Blackberry typing." Credible?] Point is, at least one of Barack or Michelle would have known.
Look at this shiny thing, keep looking... don't look over there at the economy... just keep looking here at this shiny thing... that's right. Doesn't that make you feel better? Good. Now let's all sit down and write out why this shiny thing is so important.
You know, Catchy, if I felt for a second that Barack Obama's election -- or his presidency, for that matter -- would cure what ails the global economy, even I might be able to suck it up and vote for him. The problem is, there is very little either of these candidates can do prospectively other than make things worse.
If you don't think Ayers is a repellent person, there is no need to lie about associating with him. Obama's lying about Ayers is evidence of "guilty mind".
Will Obama try to replicate at a national level the leftist indoctrination programs he and Ayers instituted under the Annenberg program they ran in Chicago? That's what really scares me about his association with Ayers.
"Look at this shiny thing, keep looking... don't look over there at the economy... just keep looking here at this shiny thing... that's right. Doesn't that make you feel better? Good. Now let's all sit down and write out why this shiny thing is so important."
I would *LOVE* to sit down and have a public examination of the economy. Namely, how it got to be in the straits that it is in now. Inquiries into the mis-use of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for example. Perhaps the fact that Barney Frank was 'involved with' (read: banging) a Fannie Mae executive at the same time he was arguing for and voting upon Fannie Mae legislation. Or what the exact relationship was between Congressional mandates from the Clinton Administration and the rise of sub-prime mortgages. How about the Democrats' shut down of two different reform attempts in 2003 and 2005?
Yes, why don't we focus on THAT shiny thing?
Just one more point from Dr. Staly Kurtz interview with H. Hewitt:
Rashid Khalidi is really, in a sense, the American successor of Edward Said, a very strong advocate for the Palestinians, extremely radical in his views and his opposition to American foreign policy. He was a friend and colleague of Obama. Apparently they used to get together and discuss world affairs. And he’s practically the best friend of Bill Ayers. Bill Ayers features Khalidi in some of his books about how to politicize the teaching for students. So actually, the more you look into it, the more you see that this is not just people running into each other
Catchy - the relationship Obama had with Ayers - or Wright for that matter - is the opposite of a distraction. It is central to defining where Obama lies in the political spectrum. Ayers and Wright are political allies and colleagues of the Obamas. They are also active representatives are the very far left of the political spectrum. And there views as reflected in the 1960s are not stale. Both Ayers and Wright have reiterated their far left political views vey recently in public forums.
Now, Obama has managed deftly to deny the substance of these alliances and speak in oblique terms about his prescriptions for our economy - but let's not be mistaken - his prescriptions are entirely consistent with the political philosopy of Ayers and Dohrn: Tremendous redistribution of income; Great centralization of power in the Federal government
; A general absence of admiration for our traiditonal free market economy.
Obama, like you, is a far leftist who is aligned with radical and formerly violent leftists.
So, no it's not a distraction, its directly at the heart of who Obama is. And you too.
I don't know, I lived in Hyde Park for four years in the 80s and I never heard of this guy or the Weatherman (isn't that Al Roker?) until reading about it on this blog a few months ago. I did know all about Louis Farrakhan and even met some of his sons at local parties, not to mention Allan Bloom and his closed american mind.
In the case of a President who wishes to rule "based on the facts" rather than a "dead certain" ideology", it is not so important to know exactly what his personal political beliefs are, Clinton being a good example of this let's-make-a-deal approach to policy. For conservatives, on the other hand, with their stark approach to interpreting reality and abhorrence to competing perspectives (that is to say, they don't listen), the President's personal convictions carry much more weight in determining his fitness for the office.
By the way, I highly recommend this video of David Brooks giving a long, funny, and fair talk about the candidates to the home crowd at the University of Chicago. Very apropos.
The only deals Clinton was willing to make were with the Republican Congress that was ushered in in response to his attempt to take over the entire medical system of the US. Then, it was only as long as his second term was on the line. The last four years, the only deals he was willing to make were with Lewinsky trying to get her not to testify against him. Get serious. Obama will be the puppet of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Watch out America, it is going to be quite a ride.
So let's say he makes Ayers Secretary of Education? How about then? does his association matter?
Obama needs to get hammered on this issue tonight. McCain needs to take a minute and just say "GOOGLE THIS AMERICA: Ayers, Rev Wright, Dohrn, ACORN, Rezco ...) Make an informed decision, this man is bad for our country.
McCain should mention it until Obama gets mad enough to respond, and then McCain's got him. I'd heckle that SOB all night, while getting in all my talking points. If McCain is prepared, he'll have some dates and details to cite.
Time to go for it ... we're weeks away, and there's a short enough time horizon for Americans to keep paying attention here.
I don't know, I lived in Hyde Park for four years in the 80s and I never heard of this guy or the Weatherman
Would an analogous situation would be someone who lived four years in Waco, Texas and never met a Baptist?
But seriously, while the WeathermEn were gone from the scene by the 1980s, anyone who claims ignorance of the "Weatherman" is simply flouting one's ignorance of recent American history. Would you be proud of such ignorance?
I recall an SDS honcho telling me that Lenin should be studied by all in schools, the way that one studied Plato, or Newton's physics and calculus- as a profound addition to the wellspring of human knowledge. To the best of my knowledge, the SDS honcho never became one of the Weathermen. The SDS honcho who wanted us to all learn Lenin later became a state legislator.
Many of us who are of an age to remember the likes of Ayers, the SDS, and the Weathermen recall them with revulsion, as they tended to be self-righteous,dogmatic, sectarian, arrogant SOBs.
Ayer's praising the mess that Thugo Chavez has made of Venezuela indicates that Ayers still has a tendency to worship at the altar of authoritarianism.
That's quite a post, Squealer. You expressly hold in contempt the entire notion that a President's "personal convictions" should "determin[e] his fitness for the office". It says a lot about you. And the Democrat party. And why I left it.
Hey, I think there are a number of legitimate decision-making styles a President could have, and would admit it's sometimes advantageous to have a guy who can quickly determine a course of action without consulting ad nauseum with his staff and associates. All I'm saying is, in that case, it's more crucial to know the candidate's personal beliefs in judging his fitness, than it is when judging one that will tend to rely more on advisors to make decisions.
I think Presidents can be effective either way (though I doubt most conservatives would accept that), but what's most important is for them to realize and account for the strengths and weaknesses of their own decision-making processes. Sarah Palin, who got her passport only last year and seemed to hold those who travel abroad for enrichment in contempt, scares me when she said she will make foreign policy 'without blinking'. I would much rather prefer she blink quite a few times, and in the company of several knowledgeable advisors, before condemning the country to some unwise action abroad.
John, watch the debate last night? If Obama's association with Ayers is really so important, why didn't McCain bring it up?
Boludo, I admit to being particularly ignorant about the years right around when I was born (when the Weathermen were active). Since I was not even a toddler, and since such material did not yet have time to trickle into the history books, there is a blind spot there, as there is similarly for everyone.
If Obama's association with Ayers is really so important, why didn't McCain bring it up?
Because McCain's an idiot. Like most Republicans, he treats politics like high school debate club while his opponents get down and dirty. It may also be pointless, Obama's radical associates probably don't matter to his voters, or indeed may be a positive thing for them. That's for those voters that care about his policies, a big chunk of the electorate voting for Obama only care about his skin color and don't care if his policies will prove disastrous.